The Biggest Threat to Your Money Isn't Inflation

Stephen McBride  |

Image source: harshahars / Pixabay

As Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Russian hackers infiltrated Ukraine’s internet.

On the morning of the invasion, alarms started ringing inside Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center, which had detected a “wiper” attack, headed straight for Ukraine’s banks — a hack that would wipe away all of the banks’ data.

Hours later, Russian hackers crippled tens of thousands of satellite modems, knocking out internet access across Ukraine… including the websites of the country’s defense ministry and army.

It was the largest attack of its kind in Ukraine’s history. And it didn’t stop there…

Data from cybersecurity firm Check Point Software shows cyberattacks on Ukraine tripled in the first week of battle.

Cybercrime is, hands down, the most overlooked threat to your money today. Each of us thinks “It’ll never happen to me.”

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As I’ll show you, however, we can’t ignore this threat any longer. Today, I’ll give you an actionable tip on how to deal with it. As you'll see, it could save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But first… have you seen cybersecurity stocks lately?

You likely know tech stocks have had a rough ride. Over 40% of Nasdaq stocks have been cut in half over the past few months.
But it’s a different story when you look at the largest cybersecurity stocks in the world.

Here’s $57 billion cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks Inc.PANW):

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Look at Leidos Holdings Inc.LDOS), one of the US government’s largest cybersecurity contractors:

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Also look at Check Point Software Technologies ( CHKP), another giant cybersecurity software company:

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Most tech-related stocks have dipped into bear market territory. Yet cybersecurity stocks are at or near record highs!

I bet cybersecurity firms secretly love when news of a big hack hits the headlines. It’s like free advertising for their services, and it can juice their stock prices, too.

Look at how each stock above jumped in late February as Russia launched its offensive.

It was a record-breaking year for cyberattacks

The FBI estimates Americans lost over $4 billion to hackers last year.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka recently told Bloomberg that the port now stops 40 million cyber threats each month.

Three of the world’s largest companies, Nvidia ( NVDA), Samsung and Microsoft ( MSFT) were hacked in the past few weeks. These organizations spend tens of millions of dollars shoring up their cyber defenses each year. They own some of the most sophisticated networks in the world. Yet, hackers still cut into their networks like a hot knife through butter.

Two years ago, Illinois’ Bloomington School District was paying $5,000 for cyber insurance…. Its bill quadrupled to $22,000 this year.

The market for insuring yourself against cyberattacks grew from nothing to $15 billion per year over the past decade, and the cost of cyber insurance is going through the roof right now. Research from consulting firm Marsh shows US insurance premiums jumped 130% in the fourth quarter of 2021 alone.

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What gives?

Cyber insurers make money when companies take out insurance and then avoid getting hacked. But everyone is getting hacked right now.

Further, being a victim isn’t cheap. A new report from IBM shows the average cost of a data breach jumped to a record $4.2 million last year.

When you get hacked, you have to hire expensive cybersecurity experts to find and fix the problem, and you might even need to rip out and replace all your computer systems.

Victims are turning to insurers to cover the costs, which are then raking up billions of dollars in losses.

Imagine if someone robbed $5 million in cash from a bank

It would be plastered across every newspaper in the world.

Yet hackers routinely steal millions of dollars, and you never hear about it. In fact, Cybersecurity Ventures estimates cybercrime cost firms $6 trillion in 2021.

Because cyberattacks happen through a computer screen, they seem "less real" than, say, someone robbing a bank, but the consequences of being hacked are very real. Longtime RiskHedge readers who read my Florida lawyer story know a cyberattack can literally ruin your life.

Hackers can steal your money, ruin your credit, access your secrets and devastate your reputation by assuming your identity.

Here’s my #1 piece of guidance for you.

First off, don’t think “it won’t happen to me.” Hackers have infiltrated the most secure networks on the planet. They target millions of Americans every year. If hackers single you out... you better believe they’ll find a way in.

Call your homeowners insurance provider and ask if cyberattack coverage and identity theft is covered by your policy. If it’s not, ask if the provider offers it as an add-on. If you get another “no,” reach out to one of the big insurers like AXA, AIG or Chubb, which offer this service.

I’ve recommended cyber insurance to you before, and I’m pounding the table on it again. Covering yourself from hackers is more important than buying any stock I, or anyone else, will ever recommend.

Imagine spending days, probably weeks, cleaning up the mess of a cyberattack. You’d have to cancel cards, change passwords and fight fraudulent charges.

When I first recommended taking out cyber insurance, my colleague added it to his existing plan for just $1 a month. It likely costs more today. As I said, cyber premiums are going through the roof.

Even if it costs 100 bucks a month, it’s worth having cyber insurance. It will ensure you don’t bear the brunt of the costs when hackers come knocking.

You can get an online quote from insurers, like Liberty Mutual. They’ll cover you up to $25,000 for lost wages and expenses. Like all insurance, you hope to never use it. But it might just save you tens of thousands of dollars one day.

 

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Stephen McBride is Chief Analyst at RiskHedge.

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Equities News Contributor: Stephen McBride

Source: Equities News

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DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.

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