There’s nothing that gets the online universe more excited than a juicy conspiracy theory — especially if that conspiracy shuts down a popular social media site along with a notorious document dump site.
That’s what reportedly happened today as micro-blog site Twitter’s (TWTR) website briefly went down early Monday morning.
Now, a Twitter outage isn’t totally unprecedented, but it doesn’t happen very often.
What got the blogosphere going in this case was the timing of the outage. It took place shortly after the infamous WikiLeaks reported a cyber-attack on its email publication servers.
According to the UK’s Independent, Twitter users in Japan and in the U.S. had reported outages Monday morning shortly after WikiLeaks said it was under cyber-attack.
For its part, WikiLeaks certainly wants readers to draw the conclusion that a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attack was related to its latest release of from the trove of Democratic National Committee (DNC) hacked documents. Many of which are extremely unflattering to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
WikiLeaks even posted a message to its Facebook (FB) page, connecting the outage with the latest document release:
Now, when I see this kind of "coincidence," my mind starts to grind into high gear.
That’s because admittedly, I have a conspiratorial "sixth sense."
I don’t think massive DDoS outages inflicting two of the primary sites that make embarrassing DNC documents available to the public is simply a matter of happenstance.
Of course, I could be wrong … but logic tells me that in this case I’m probably right.
More importantly, even if I am wrong, there is no doubt that this election has been marred by big-time cyber-attacks. These attacks have hostile foreign governments such as Russia and China at the epicenter. Ad many U.S. intelligence officials have said that, in the case of the DNC hacks, Russian cyber fingerprints are all over it.
The entire DNC hacking incident, including today’s WikiLeaks and Twitter outages, are part of a wider phenomenon I call "Hacktivisim."
Hacktivisim is where hackers try to change the outcome of a situation — in this case a U.S. presidential election — via obtaining and then releasing information to the public that’s detrimental to a particular cause.
Recall that last year, North Korean hacktivists were blamed for breaking into the email servers as Sony (SNE). They did it in an attempt (which was successful) to intimidate that company into not releasing the film, "The Interview."
This hacktivism is not only something that political parties and big movie studios have to fear.
It’s something that all of us must fear.
Why? Because our entire cyber lives are at risk from hacktivists and criminal cyber-attacks.
Our social media accounts, email accounts, bank accounts, computer files and even our very identities are subject to hacktivists.
Most of these cyber criminals are out to get money. But some are more sophisticated. They want to "dig up dirt" on others, and use that dirt against them in the form of blackmail — or via releasing the emails of an organization such as the DNC.
Today, no one is immune from hacktivism.
If you own a computer and a smartphone or other digital device, you’re at risk.
As investors, you know that the smart thing to do when you see a big threat like this is to invest in the companies working overtime to combat this enemy.
These companies are on the front lines of the battle against hacktivism, and many of those companies can be found in the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (HACK), an Exchange-Traded Fund that holds the world’s top, publicly traded cyber-security firms.
Over the past six months, the smart money has realized the virtue in putting money to work in this sector, as HACK is up 18% since early May.
Top five holdings in this fund include:
Juniper Networks (JNPR)
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd (CHKP)
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
Each of these companies, as well as the other offerings in HACK, offer exposure to the war on hacktivists.
Not all stocks in this space are created equal. But the wider trend toward more cyber-security corporate and personal spending is one that’s likely to continue far into the future.
That’s good news for the best-of-breed, cyber-security firms … and good news for investors looking to play this trend.
Are you as concerned as I am about the rise of "hacktivism?" Do you currently invest in cyber-security stocks? I am curious to find out what you have to say, so please leave me a comment on our website or send me an e-mail.
Markets snapped their nine-day (S&P 500 and Nasdaq) and seven-day (Dow Industrials) losing streaks Monday, with each closing more than 2% higher after Monday’s session. That translates into nearly 372 Dow points gained. Meanwhile the Volatility Index fell 16% after nine days of gains. Gold also lost 2% for the day. All this action was likely election-related …
• On Sunday, the FBI announced it was clearing Hillary Clinton after reviewing newly discovered emails. Betting odds of a Clinton presidency on British betting market Betfair spiked to over 80% from about 70% following the announcement.
• Remember the Brexit, though. U.S. stocks gained the day before the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union … and fell 5% over the next two trading sessions.
• The Paris Agreement went live: International delegates are meeting in Marrakech, in front of the UN’s climate conference, to talk about implementing a path to climate progress. Donald Trump, if elected, has promised to cancel the Paris accord.
• Samsung is developing the Galaxy S8, for release next year. The company, which had to recall its 7 line because the phones were catching fire, promises artificial intelligence capabilities. The company has not mentioned if it will also include a fire extinguisher.
• There has been a tie in the Electoral College voting only one time in the nation’s history. In 1800, both Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes. (PresidentElect.org)
• Ohio has correctly backed the winner of the U.S. presidential election in the last 13 races (1964-2012). The presidents selected by our nation over that entire 48-year period resulted in Republicans winning 7 times and Democrats winning 6 times (PresidentElect.org). Ohio close to a tie right now. Recent report shows Trump narrowly leads.
Good luck and happy investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily