Many organizations throughout the world were paralyzed in May. Hospitals in the UK asked patients to come only in emergency cases. Telephone lines and e-mail accounts were blocked in the UK, Italy, Spain, Russia, the US, and other countries. The reason for the disruptions was widespread cyber attacks, in many of which the attackers demanded ransom in bitcoin.
Several weeks later, in late June, another major cyber attack occurred, spreading overnight from Europe to the US. The largest seaport in India was unable to load and unloan containers, and other concerns affected included a large oil company in Russia, an international advertising firm, and others.
These are only two of the recent large-scale attacks that made the headlines. Every such attack once again increases awareness of the need for cyber security - software solutions and hardware devices aimed at preventing unauthorized penetration of the internal networks of various organizations.
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) cofounder and CEO Gil Shwed said two years ago that while hackers were formerly regarded as "children who wanted to prove themselves," it was now already clear that global organized crime was involved, and countries realized that cyber security was part of national security.
Udi Mokady, chairman and CEO of Israel cyber company CyberArk Software Inc.(Nasdaq:CYBR), said that the attacked organizations "did not do the 'basic hygiene' of installing updates. We recommend that our customers install products that do not allow unidentified software to run on their work stations. Even if they are infected, it can be a minor cough, not a deadly disease, because it is prevented from spreading from one computer to another, which is usually the problem."
Quite a few Israeli companies are in the business of providing security solutions of various types, but there are also larger companies that have already made stock exchange offerings, the oldest and largest of which is Check Point. The company's positive momentum over the past year has been especially strong, with its share price climbing 49%, boosting its market cap to $18.8 billion. Check Point recently became the most valuable Israeli company, outstripping Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA). Other Israeli companies (or companies with an Israeli affiliation) in the sector listed in the US include Imperva Inc. (NYSE: IMPV), founded by Check Point cofounder Shlomo Kramer; CyberArk; and Varonis Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNS).
Palo Alto Networks, traded at a $13.3 billion market cap, is not an Israeli company, but was founded by former Check Point employee Nir Zuk, who has made a habit over the years of issuing anti-Check Point statements. Among other things, Zuk said that his company's competitors were marching on what he called "Death Row": either Palo Alto would kill them, or they would do it themselves. He said there was no third option.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on October 3, 2017
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