When you compare the performance of cyber security ETFs to their technology heavyweights like Invesco QQQ ETF (QQQ) or the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), it becomes evident that Wall Street is probably underestimating the potential of the cybersecurity industry in 2022. For the sake of this comparison, I considered the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (HACK) and iShares Cybersecurity and Tech ETF (IHAK) as shown below, but there are others too.
The above charts show that both the two cybersecurity ETFs have underperformed their technology peers by more than 20%, despite holding stocks that are active in the fight against network malware and computer viruses, similarly to biotechs like BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) producing cures to address the coronavirus threat.
Now, antivirus companies have been around for years, even decades, but the problem is that the threat level has increased exponentially as from the end of 2020 when Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) was hacked through the supply chains attack when hackers made use of SolarWinds(SWI)monitoring software. Moreover, as shown by the high degree of sophistication of the recent ransomware attacks impacting colonial pipeline where millions of dollars of ransom money had to be paid to attackers, there is the involvement of bad actors at the nation-state level.
This is synonymous with aggression against the U.S., thus prompting the Biden administration to come up with a Cybersecurity executive order in May literally “forcing” federal agencies to boost IT defenses. As a result, public institutions have started to increase related expenses.
As for private institutions, they are also at a higher degree of risk due to the rapid adoption of the cloud, with workloads now also residing on employees’ laptops at home, making them more vulnerable to hacking as they are less protected by centralized corporate firewalls. Hence, there are multiple threat vectors facing CIOs, with many large enterprises reassessing their approach to cybersecurity altogether.
Hence relative underperformance in 2021 and an escalated threat landscape have created a massive opportunity for well-positioned cyber security vendors with the…