Following the massive data breach at Equifax last year, the cybersecurity sector has flourished – and so have some of the investments that track the industry. The ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF, for example, has risen 18 percent this year, CNBC reported.
The exchange-traded fund, which was founded in 2014, notched staggering returns of 31 percent following the Equifax data breach in 2017, twice that of the S&P 500 return during that same time period. The fund includes companies such as Juniper Networks, Cisco and Symantec. Beyond the fund, shares in companies such as Fortinet have risen astronomically: That company's stock, for example, has jumped 66 percent since the Equifax breach.
In terms of the sector, Gartner forecasts that spending on cybersecurity will rise by 7 percent to $93 billion in 2018, up from $86.4 billion last year. That projection comes as Oppenheimer Senior Analyst Shaul Eyal noted that “chief information security officers are directing more and more of their budgets toward the most mission-critical [parts] of their network.”
The news comes almost a year after Equifax announced that it had experienced the cybersecurity incident that may have impacted approximately 143 million consumers in the U.S., as well as the credit card numbers of approximately 209,000 people. In a press release detailing the cybercrime at the time, the company said hackers potentially exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017, with no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s consumer or commercial credit reporting databases, the company said in the release.
According to Equifax, the information impacted includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, drivers' license numbers. The company also reported that 209,000 U.S. consumer accounts were accessed by the hackers, as well as certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers. As part of its investigation, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain U.K. and Canadian residents.