The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, EMC, Symantec and Intel

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, EMC, Symantec and

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 19, 2013

CHICAGO, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM),
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), EMC (NYSE:EMC), Symantec (Nasdaq:SYMC) and Intel


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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Is a "Cyber Pearl Harbor" Looming?

"We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely
intellectual fields" – Alan Turing, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence"

Alan Turing, the British pioneer of computer science, mathematician and
wartime code-breaker, had hardly foreseen that machines would eventually
become a major source of security threat. With the recent deluge of
cyber-attacks on major U.S. banks, computer intelligence has become a rising
menace for the financial industry.

The spate of cyber-attacks began with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), but
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) andother big bankswere also hit. However, it is all
the more alarming that the well-defended sites of these banking majors have
suffered connection problems under the yoke of the recent attacks.

What the fantasy world of Hollywood films depicts cyber-crimes to be is far
from reality. But the massive security issue has become the focus of many a
White House meeting in the last few months.

The Obama administration is circulating a draft executive order that will
devise a program to safeguard important computer networks from cyber-attacks.
Earlier, the Senate failed to advance the existing cyber-security laws and the
administration is considering using the executive order because there is
uncertainty whether a bill related to cyber-security can be passed by

What is surprising is that these attacks have breached some of America's
highly sophisticated computer defenses and exposed their susceptibility.
Unknown attackers flooded bank websites with massive data streams, making them
unavailable to customers and halting operations for hours.

The method is known as the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), which often
directs a huge amount of traffic from hacked computers to the targeted
websites. The volume of Internet traffic that has been directed at these sites
was such that most caused a breakdown of powerful servers.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, in Sept 2012, security firms
supervising internet traffic noticed a sudden surge of "junk" data directed at
BofA's site, which became a torrent of about 65 gigabytes of information per
second. That is roughly 15-30 times more than what is usually seen in
cyber-attacks. The attacks in 2013 carry a striking resemblance to this,
except that it involved advanced technical sophistication.

Though the U.S. administration is still at a loss to identify the attackers,
speculation is rife over the perpetrators being Iranian hackers. The attacks
reflect a possible cyber-war between the U.S. and Iran, originating partly
from the U.S.'s unleashing of the Stuxnet malware against Iran's nuclear

Recent Counteracting Initiatives

Countries and corporations are tightening Internet security in order to tackle
cyber-crime, developing strategies to upgrade government computer systems and
expand cooperation with other countries. Efforts to improve coordination
within the private sector are also rising.

With increasing spending from government and large enterprises, we believe
companies such as EMC (NYSE:EMC), Symantec (Nasdaq:SYMC) and McAfee, a
subsidiary of Intel (Nasdaq:INTC) would be encouraged to develop new and
innovative products to counteract these attacks. EMC recently announced its
intention of spending on acquisitions with security, the other priority
besides storage. We believe this policy will boost EMC's dominant position in
the cyber security market over the long term.

While mere listing and coding of security loopholes may not be the answer to
hacking, it should serve as a stepping stone toward solving the extremely
complex situation. Training and know-how on security matters are extremely
crucial since users often unknowingly guide hackers through their actions.

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