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TheStreet Open House

Investors Eying Cyber-Security Firms As Attacks Increase

In light of recent hacking attacks on huge corporations’ hardware, software and Internet content, investors have begun to eye cyber-security providers as the next big opportunity. Internet security firms such as Symantec (SYMC) and Check Point Technologies (CHKP) are in the best position to profit from this recent trend due to their strong fundamentals and large-scale capabilities. [More Tech News: Copyright In The Age of 3D Reproduction]

Recent Attacks

In recent months, American corporations have experienced a surge in attacks from hackers on everything from databases to Twitter accounts. This week, Mandiant, an American computer security firm, released a 60-page report linking a large amount of recent attacks to segments of the Chinese military. The group of hackers, known as the Comment Crew and Shanghai Group, has conducted over 140 attacks since 2006 according to the report. The Crew has managed to steal extensive amounts of information from Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola ( KO) but has now directed its attention towards infrastructure-related firms.

Symantec

In such a tense Internet environment, American corporations will be looking to trusted domestic cyber-security firms for further protection and more innovative solutions. Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), maker of the Norton anti-virus products, is one of the largest cyber-security firms with a market capitalization of 15.7bn. Last week, Symantec released new updates to its Website Security Solutions portfolio including new multi-algorithm security certificates to positive reviews.

In terms of fundamentals, Symantec has managed to double its net profit from $597mm in fiscal year 2010 to $1.17bn in fiscal year 2011 and has seen an increase in net profit in each of the past three quarters. With $3bn in cash on the balance sheet and relatively low leverage compared to its sector, Symantec has healthy prospects for future growth. Symantec’s stock has reflected this improved performance, with its share price jumping from around 18$ in August to almost 23$ in recent weeks. According to an option-tracking service, a record number of calls have been purchased for April on Symantec stock and the majority of analysts are bullish on the firm. Be sure to look out for Symantec in the coming weeks as firms look to beef up their computer security.

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