In the wake of the Okta hack, this week we explored how Alphabet and Microsoft are being proactive to limit exposure to Cyber Risk, and what other companies are being impacted by security issues.

Sam Leavitt
March 29, 2022

ESG Spotlight: Risky Business, Tech Giants Continue to Assess Cyber Risk

ESG Spotlight: Risky Business, Tech Giants Continue to Assess Cyber Risk

Cyber Risk has been an increasing subject of interest on our ESG Safeguard platform. Ever since the SolarWinds hack that kicked off 2021 companies have known this was becoming a more prevalent issue. Security breaches last summer illustrated that any company could be targeted and prompted industry leaders and the government to come up with a game plan. Now only a few months into 2022 a new slate of cybersecurity events have put companies on notice.

ESG Safeguard Platform: Cyber Risk Topic Counts, Past 3 Months

Lapsus$ Hack

Okta (OKTA) was hacked in January and was made public last week. The group taking credit for this hack is Lapsus$, who also infiltrated Microsoft’s (MSFT) security last week. While both companies claim that the security breaches have been addressed and will not affect customers, there is no way of knowing for sure. In a separate incident to the Lapsus$ hacks, a ransomware attack occurred early this week on Toyota (7203:JP) supplier Kojima industries. This is forcing 28 total production lines to suspend operations, half of them in Japan, showing that it's not only software companies at risk for these types of events. The answer might start with Tech companies, but everyone must remain vigilant.

So what are companies doing to reduce their risk for such events in the future? It has been an ongoing cycle for corporations and hackers with hackers holding the lead when it comes to their capabilities in this arena. Starting with the major players in the industry, the U.S. Government collaborated to improve the entire cyber infrastructure in a robust plan laid out in September.

Alphabet and Microsoft Bolster Defenses

Alphabet (GOOGL) has made a move to acquire Mandiant (MNDT) earlier this month to boost cybersecurity capabilities. The Tech giant was one of the main players in the planning in September and must be a leader in the efforts to bolster cybersecurity in the U.S. going forward. Acquiring Mandiant is a key strategic move to further cybersecurity aims.

Microsoft (MSFT) too has been investing in cybersecurity training around the globe since October, just after the summit with the Biden administration. The company has recently expanded their initiative to train 250,000 cybersecurity workers around the globe by 2025. Given the recent events this is a wise and necessary step by Microsoft to shore up their cybersecurity capabilities at home and abroad.

Working Hand in Hand

While all companies must remain vigilant, the Tech giants have the knowledge and capabilities to increase cybersecurity measures that can then be adopted and rolled out for their users. There is a plan in place between them and the administration to improve, but this will take time. Collaboration going forward will be key as the government looks to technical leadership in the industry to guide efforts going forward.

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This communication does not represent investment advice. Transcript text provided by FACTSET and S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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