The breach at Equifax (EFX) - Get Report that's jeopardized Social Security numbers and other sensitive data for 143 million people in the U.S. looks to be good news for cybersecurity firm Symantec Corp. (SYMC) - Get Report .
Consumers have been frantically Googling for information on Symantec's LifeLock consumer identity theft protection unit, according to Credit Suisse analyst Brad Zelnick, who analyzed search trends from Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) - Get Report .
"Google trends data for 'LifeLock' suggest a surge in demand following the Equifax breach, exceeding the previous peak in 2015 associated with the Anthem (ANTM) - Get Report Breach," Zelnick wrote. People are actually searching more for "LifeLock" than for "identity theft," he noted. "Since 2012 this inversion has only occurred eight times," Zelnick added.
Customers provide LifeLock with their Social Security number, birthdate and other data, and the company scans for credit applications, mortgage loan applications, address changes and other signs of identity theft. Plans range in cost from $9.99 per month for coverage of up to $25,000 for stolen funds and monitoring one bureau, to $29.99 a month for coverage up to $1 million, beefed-up alerts and monitoring of the three big credit bureaus.
Shares of LiefLock parent Symantec Corp. gained 1% to $31.96 on Monday, after rising 3.4% on Friday. Symantec purchased LifeLock for $2.3 billion in February to boost its consumer business.
Meanwhile, Equifax Inc. dropped 3.4% to $119.20 on Monday morning, following a nearly 14% plunge as news of the massive data breach sparked widespread concerns about the security of customers' sensitive data.
Equifax itself provides identity theft protection, and offered 12 months of that service for free to U.S. customers, albeit with the condition that not sue the company and instead agree to one-to-one arbitration.
Trends associated with previous breaches suggest that LifeLock will benefit from the breach. The identity theft protection company's strongest customer gains ever came in the first quarter of 2015, following news of a massive data theft from insurer Anthem.
Equifax's breach could produce similar results. Zelnick expects LifeLock to add 450,000 net customers in the third quarter, lifting its total to more than five million customers for the first time.
If your credit card gets stolen, this is what you should do immediately.
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