As Ukraine finds itself in the crosshairs of a Russian-led military invasion and relentless cyberattacks, governments on both sides of the Atlantic are getting nervous the situation will escalate to a full-blown cyberwar.
The cyberattacks to date have seen the Ukrainian government and banking systems brought to their knees: in late February, cybersecurity firm ESET reported new ‘wiper’ malware targeting Ukrainian organisations with the aim of erasing data.
Unsurprisingly, experts are pointing the finger at Russia. The nation has long been accused by governments and cybersecurity researchers of perpetrating cyberattacks and misinformation campaigns in an effort to disrupt economies and undermine democracy.
The speed and strength of the attacks has Western governments are on high alert, as it’s become crystal-clear the same actions this could be replicated anywhere. Officials in the United States and the United Kingdom have pre-emptively warned businesses to be alert to suspicious activity from Russia on their networks.
The world is more than aware of the tidal wave of damage that can be caused by cyberattacks: the ransomware attack that took down US oil system Colonial Pipeline wreaked havoc as it took critical energy infrastructure offline. While the Biden administration has asserted Moscow isn’t behind the attacks, the hacking group that took responsibility – Darkside – is believed to have been based in Russia.
The cyberwar environment gives security companies a strong incentive to innovate and sell more products. Those most likely to see higher sales in the near term are: Palo Alto Networks, Tenable Holdings, Zscaler, CrowdStrike, Varonis Systems and CyberArk Software.
Broader markets responded unfavorably to Russia's offensive, with multiple broader indices initially diving into correction territory before recovering some losses following the announcement of new sanctions.
Global stock indices are lower across the board.
By contrast, the Themes Trading Cybersecurity Certificate closed has reversed fall, and us up 10% this week.