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By Robert Donachie
Investors started gobbling up cybersecurity stocks Monday morning after a global cyber attack disrupted operations at a number of businesses, hospitals, factories, and schools Friday.
Shares of cloud and cybersecurity companies soared Monday morning. Cloud security firm Sophos was up 7 percent, cybersecurity company Fireeye was up nearly 5 percent, firms Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Cyberark Software were up 3 percent Monday.
In all, publicly traded cybersecurity stocks were up 1.8 percent during intraday trading Monday.
The attacks were carried out through ransomware that withheld files and subsequently required users to pay a ransom in online currency bitcoin to retrieve their lost data. Current estimates peg the full breadth of the attack to at least 150 countries, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Experts warn that the full extent of the attacks are still unknown. European Union police reported Monday that 200,000 machines in Europe were hit by the attacks. Chinese state-run media reported that around 40,000 public and private agencies fell victim to Friday’s cybersecurity breach. Other nations are still trying to come up with estimates.
Some firms are being proactive, promising to increase cybersecurity measures. Companies have already pledged to increase cybersecurity measures 10 percent in Great Britain and Europe by 2020, Reuters reports.
Morgan Stanley estimates that a 10 percent increase in cybersecurity can save the global economy some $17 billion annually.