Ripped From The Headlines: One Of The Biggest Long-Term Opportunities In The Market
Before the days of Covid, I had become accustomed to being labeled somewhat of a “prepper”.
But it’s just how I was raised. And over the last few years, it’s come in handy. But if Covid has taught us anything, it’s that everyone suddenly becomes a “prepper” when the proverbial excrement hits the fan.
Better to be prepared before everyone else – because you don’t want to get caught in front of an empty store shelf or with an empty gas tank.
Fast-forward to today, and we’re still facing potential shortages. This week, thanks to a cyberattack on the Colonial pipeline, it was gas on the eastern seaboard. (And according to headlines, chicken could be next…)
So when the pipeline first made headlines over the weekend, the first thing I did was pick up the phone and call my wife.
“Make sure you fill up on the way home.”
That’s all I needed to say. I didn’t care that the pipeline didn’t supply our region. What I cared about was the tenuous nature of human behavior. Because if this thing dragged out too long, every Jim Bob would be at their local Costco filling up just because. And I wanted to be ahead of the curve before it made the national news.
The same is true in the corporate world. And as technology continues to progress, more and more companies are going to realize the value of “prepping” before it’s too late.
The Fastest Growing Crime In The United States
My father recently retired from a career in data software. Without getting into too much detail, his company dealt with data processing for credit card companies and major retailers.
A while back, he told me that one of the higher-ups at his company once said that the one thing that kept him up at night was the threat of a potential major cyber-attack. Due to the nature of the business, the company’s systems were constantly being “probed” – which is why every morning, when this guy woke up, the first thing he would do is check for the morning threat report email.
It’s the kind of thing that happens way more often than you think – and the kind of thing most of us are probably better off not knowing about.
Yet we’re constantly reminded. And that brings us back to the Colonial pipeline.
Over the weekend, a group of hackers took down the systems for the pipeline, which supplies about 45% of the gas for the East Coast. The attack is what is known as a “ransomware” attack – which is basically what it sounds (“We took down your system – pay up if you want it back online”).
Then, reports of gasoline shortages began to crop up all over the Southeast. And the Department of Transportation has declared a state of emergency in 17 states (and Washington D.C.).
We first got word last night that officials were able to restore partial operations. Then, all of a sudden, they were fully restored. The company paid the $5 million ransom – probably a small price to pay in their eyes, but one can only wonder about the kind of message it sends. But I digress…
The larger point here is that cyberattacks are the fastest-growing crime in the United States. And it’s not just going to magically disappear overnight — in fact, the attacks will likely increase in their frequency and boldness.
One Of The Biggest Long-Term Opportunities In The Market
In a piece written last year, my colleague Jimmy Butts highlighted a report by Cybersecurity Ventures states that global cybercrime costs could hit $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.
His “top pick” in that piece, CrowdStrike (Nasdaq: CRWD) – is up by about 68% since then.
As the situation continues to unfold, it serves as a good reminder for something we’ve been pounding the table on for the last few years. As technology progresses, so will the threat of cybercrime. And that means cybersecurity will be a huge investable theme for many years that will likely be good to investors no matter what happens in the long run.
For the record, Jimmy and his subscribers sold out of this name much earlier — and for an even bigger gain. But since shares have retreated from recent highs, they may still be worth a look. And there are plenty of other intriguing names in this space, too.
We’ll spend more time covering this space in the coming months, but if I were you, this is an industry I’d spend some time researching on my own, too. In the meantime, go here to see what Jimmy and his team are up to now.