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Cyber Security Investors: Don't Expect a Pop

Stocks in this article: SYMC AVG INTC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Cyber security investors don't get too excited. Despite all the hype, the recent malware threat may fail to boost Symantec (SYMC), AVG Technologies (AVG) or Intel Corporation's (INTC) McAfee, according to experts.

The FBI estimated only 64,000 computers nationwide were affected by the DNSChanger incident, which raised consciousness about malware protection, said Roger L. Kay, founder and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. However, the "trading play is relatively limited," he said.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus specialist Sophos, was also unconvinced there will be a bump in sales for companies selling security software. "I don't think that this specific incident would result in more people going out and buying software," he said.

"The FBI and other awareness campaigns have reduced the number of people that would be affected by this considerably," Cluley added.

Kay said many antivirus functions will be integrated into operating systems offered by Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL) because now malware is designed to get under the radar of traditional antivirus software by planting "a beach-head that's small, lightweight and low-profile and rapidly proliferates."

The new malware infects peoples' computers when they click on malicious links and redirects browsers to harmful sites. "The bad guys are relying on human engineering rather than product engineering," Kay said to explain how sophisticated cyber criminals are designing emails that recipients inherently trust. "And that's because the companies have gotten better and better at patching the holes."

--Written by Nathalie Pierrepont in New York.

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