Apple Inc. (AAPL), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): A Spec Play in the Rising Cyber Security Market

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Cyber security is being discussed by many, including politicians in Washington. An executive order was issued in February by President Obama, that directs development of “voluntary cyber standards for privately-held assets considered critical to national security” by our government, according to Bloomberg.

The Department of Homeland Security is set to investigate which industries will be subject to the executive order. Obvious no-brainers would be banking and telecommunications, as well as technology companies. Cyber attacks seem to be increasing as well, with Virginia Democrat Mark Warner elaborating that, “There’s more and more recognition, industry by industry, that the sheer volume of threats can’t be hidden anymore.”

The banks

Numerous banks around the nation have already experienced cyber attacks. The latest bank to experience a pesky cyber attack was JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), where a denial-of-service attack prevented access to some customers from their main banking site. While this disruption was more of an annoyance than a major problem, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) has also warned investors that cyber attacks may become more frequent.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) knows what it’s like. Their site experienced problems caused by hackers for four days in December. Other banks, such as U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), have been attacked in a similar fashion as well. Apparently JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) was the first on a list of nine banks in a new string of attacks, linked to an Islamic terrorist group, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. Even the Federal Reserve has been under cyber attack.

Tech companies

Tech companies are being targeted more frequently as well. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell victim to attacks back in February. The hackers apparently hacked some employees’ Mac computers when these employees visited a website for software developers. This website was infected with Malware, designed specifically to attack Macs, and it infected the Mac computers by exploiting a flaw in Java software used as a plug-in on Web browsers.

Apple Inc. (NADSAQ:AAPL)

Courtesy: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Press Info

This same malicious software was apparently also responsible for hacking Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as well. The shift from hackers focusing strictly on PCs and moving to Macs also may take away some of Apple’s security image, as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) security expert Charlie Miller explained that (in reference to the Mac OS X Operating system), “The only thing that was making it safe before is that nobody bothered to attack it. That goes away if somebody bothers to attack it.”

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