W.When cybersecurity is addressed, many tend to turn to the growing number of high profile attacks, including the recent attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and meat processing company JBS SA. Both companies have managed to pay ransomware attackers, paying for Colonial Pipeline $ 4.4 million because the company wasn’t sure how bad that was Cyber attack breached its systems while JBS paid a portion of $ 11 million.because of the sophistication of the attack. “
If you focus too much on these high profile, high profile attacks, you could easily miss the posting of a huge 100GB TXT file online 8.4 billion password entriesmaking it the largest data breach compilation of all time. Here’s the thing: by combining the 8.4 billion passwords with other breach data, including usernames and email addresses, threat actors have the potential to attack a daunting number of online accounts.
For investors, this is a hard reminder that while cybersecurity is making the headlines, digital privacy is also a fertile market. As hard as it is to say, the truth of the matter is that pain points are wonderful investment opportunities. The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is expanding the number of connected devices at a rapid pace, causing the amount of data that is created, consumed, and analyzed to grow exponentially.
Compared to today’s humble collection of connected devices, which are focused on smartphones, tablets, wearables, security and smart home devices, the IoT market becomes around automobiles, hospitals and medical devices, industrial and other machinery, agricultural devices and more expanded. By 2025, as 5G technology continues, the number of connected devices is projected to reach 22-25 billion, which means that both cybersecurity and data protection measures will significantly expand their total addressable market in the years to come.
Even as the connectivity explosion of 5G takes off, bad players have already targeted some of these IoT markets. We mentioned the Colonial Pipeline above, but recently a cyberattack paralyzed Ireland’s healthcare system that blocked access to patient records, delayed Covid-19 tests and forced the cancellation of countless medical appointments and even surgeries. Earlier this year, Scripps Health, which operates five hospitals and multiple clinics in San Diego, was paralyzed in California by a ransomware attack. In the past few weeks, cyber criminals announced that they were planning to attack more than 400 hospitals.
We bring this up because what could be more personal than your own health information? However, another example shows a very different way in which malicious actors could obtain personal information. A couple of bugs in the John Deere apps and website could have allowed Hackers to download the personal data of all owners of the company’s farm vehicles and equipment. According to Sick Codes, these vulnerabilities may have disclosed information about John Deere customers, including their physical addresses, prior to the implementation of patches and fixes.
But how important is the protection of personal data?
Some believe privacy is dead; However, new research from Invisible suggests that the desire to protect personal information is very much alive. Here’s the thing, we’ve started to see a shift in privacy concerns from personal information that could be obtained through a cyberattack to the collection and disclosure of our own information. According to his most recent survey, Invisible found 68% of respondents said they care about privacy, while 82% support measures that would prevent businesses and devices from collecting or sharing their data.
Another confirmation comes from a company that has done a pretty good job in the past at identifying consumer tipping points and using them to their advantage. We are talking about Apple (AAPL), and if you haven’t seen any of his latest commercials pointing out the importance of privacy as a competitive differentiator, all we can say is check it out these. A humorous, but to the point, take on what Invably shared.
To be fair to Apple, it has been focusing on the privacy of its device users for some time, both with respect to the devices themselves and the apps on them. Simple examples are TouchID, Apple wallet, and the introduction of his App tracking transparency function with iOS 14.5, which prevents third-party apps from tracking users on the web. At its Worldwide Developer Conference 2021, Apple took further steps with the introduction of iCloud +, which also includes “Private Relay”. Essentially, when a user browses the Internet with Safari, their data is sent through two separate servers to disguise the identity of the user and the websites they visit.
While one relay gives the user an anonymous IP address, the second is used to send the browsing request on the corresponding results. Apple also announced that new privacy features will be introduced in iOS Mail apps to hinder the ability of marketers to gather information on open rates. These efforts have angered the companies that have relied on such data, from Facebook to Email newsletter publisher.
Is Apple the only company that is committed to data protection? In a word, no, and we can be counted among those who do Alphabet (Goog)who recently a. added Privacy dashboard, to its latest version of Android. For those looking to see how the privacy landscape evolves, it could be argued that, given its core business model of Google search advertising, Alphabet is the company to watch out for.
While Apple’s efforts are likely to appeal to users and be reflected in sales volumes, translating it to the company’s business and stock valuation is much more difficult due to the way it reports its financial and operational data. However, there are a number of companies that focus on protecting consumer data, privacy, and identity. Examples include Norton Lifelock (NLOK), Ping identity (RING), SailPoint Technologies (SAIL), OneSpan (OSPN), and Octa (OKTA). We’re also seeing new competitors in the public markets, including ForgeRock, an identity verification software company that is reportedly partnering with banks on its IPO.
As privacy and identity become more central, we expect M&A activity to increase as companies seek to fill competitive and product gaps. Okta recently completed the $ 6.5 billion acquisition of Auth0, a leading identity platform for application teams. We doubt this will be the last time we will see this kind of growth and expansion in the industry.
Norton Lifelock (NLOK), Okta (OKTA), OneSpan (OSPN), Ping Identity (Ping), SailPoint Technologies (SAIL) are part of the Foxberry Tematica Research Cybersecurity and Privacy Index.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.