Email of the day (2)
Comment of the Day

October 13 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day (2)

on cyber warfare:
"Cyber warfare has to be broken into a few categories:

"1. Protection from e-mail attacks and rogue websites (which install viruses, worms, keyboard trackers, etc when you push a button or open a file): The primary software solution companies in this field include Symantec, McAfee (now owned by Intel), Checkpoint Software, Microsoft, Avast, Avira, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, PCTools, AVG, and a bunch of small companies. A few companies make hardware devices to filter e-mail, including Barracuda Networks, SonicWall, McAfee, and Symantec, plus a number of small players. The software solutions are fighting a long-term price war, and Microsoft has stepped into the fray with a "free" product for consumers.

"2. Protection from intruders and hackers: while most of the software solutions from the companies in (1) provide some form of software firewall, really protecting networks of systems requires hardware firewalls. Cisco continues to be a huge player here, with a plethora of companies fighting for the crumbs. Barracuda and SonicWall are players worth mentioning. Many wireless access points include a crude firewall, though that is not the same class of protection as Cisco firewalls and their competitors.

"3. Intrusion Detection: Cisco leads in this, with most of the firewall hardware vendors offering some kind of product.

"4. Offensive Weapons: well, other than the hackers who don't normally go public (in any way), very few companies openly admit that they are working on this. Some hints can be found in this article: . The publicly visible budget items in the US Government budget don't amount to much money. The classified part of the budget no doubt allocates a serious chunk of change to contracts in this area and in advanced defensive capabilities, but that is all... classified.

"My personal assessment of the defensive side of the market is that a new entrant (or an existing one) could create a VERY profitable business if they can create new technology that dramatically changes the probability of a successful attack for businesses. I continue to look for such a solution..."

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for this detailed, educative and generous response to a subscriber's question posted in Comment of the Day on Tuesday. I'm sure it will be appreciated by the Collective. A number of the above companies are privately held. SonicWall for example was bought out last year by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Thoma Bravo.

Check Point Software Technologies remains in a relatively consistent medium-term uptrend and continues to find support in the region of the 200-day MA. A sustained move below $50 would be required to begin to question medium-term uptrend potential.

Microsoft has been largely rangebound for the last decade. It has been trading mostly above $20 since 2010 and a sustained move below that level would be required to question medium-term scope for additional higher to lateral ranging.

Symantec hit an accelerated peak in late 2004 and has fallen to trade mostly above $14 since 2006. A progression of higher major reaction lows is evident since late 2008. The share has stabilised near $16 and a sustained move above this week's high near $18 would suggest a return to more than temporary demand dominance.

Cisco gave up most of its bull market advance when it crashed in 2001 and has been ranging mostly between $15 and $30 for much of the last decade. It retested the lower side in August and has rallied to test the 200-day MA which may be turning upwards. A sustained move above the MA would likely suggest a return to medium-term demand dominance. (Also see Comment of the Day on September 19th).

TrendMicro, in common with a large number of Japanese shares, remains in a lengthy base formation. It has found support in the region of ¥2000 on successive occasions since late 2008, most recently in August. It has since rallied to test the five-year downtrend and a sustained move above ¥2750 would suggest a return to medium-term demand dominance.

Barracuda Networks has a market cap of €16 million and is listed in Austria. This puts it in the micro cap category and trading is thin at best. Nevertheless, a pattern of demand dominance is evident since early 2009 and a sustained move below €17 would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside.

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