Cisco Systems, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CSCO) industry leading cybersecurity research team, Cisco Talos has a warning: a major cybersecurity attack has been exposed- one that could leave millions of users across the globe at risk.
Attackers hijacked and hid malware inside Piriform’s CCleaner application which was available for download between August 15 – September 12, 2017. Piriform is a company owned by Avast. Anyone who downloaded the 5.33 version product or updated their existing product during this timeframe became infected.
On September 13, 2017, Cisco Talos notified Avast so that it could begin corrective action. At this time the version containing the malware has been removed and is no longer available for download. However, many consumers remain at risk — and will remain at risk even after updating their CCleaner software.
Billing itself as the “world’s most popular PC cleaner and optimization tool,” Avast’s CCleaner is trusted by consumers to speed up PC and smartphone performance by removing unneeded/necessary files. As recently as November 2016, CCleaner boasted 2 billion downloads with a growth rate of 5 million users per week.
Once the malware was installed, attackers could potentially gain access to the user’s computer and other connected systems to steal sensitive personal data and/or credentials that could be used for online banking or other online activities.
Like the Nyetya malware in late June, in this instance attackers hacked into a legitimate, trusted application and made it malicious. These types of attacks are often successful because consumers trust that these well-known and broadly-used applications are safe. Criminals are exploiting this trust.
WHAT TO DO
Because the malware remains present, even after users update the CCleaner software, it will become critical to remove this version of the CCleaner software. The structure of this attack means it has the ability to hide on the user’s system and call out to check for new malware updates for up to a year. (Original Source)
Shares of Cisco are currently trading at $32.47, up $0.03 or 0.14%. CSCO has a 1-year high of $34.60 and a 1-year low of $29.12. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $31.66 and its 200-day moving average is $32.44.
On the ratings front, Cisco has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on September 11, Robert W. Baird analyst Jayson Noland assigned a Buy rating on CSCO, with a price target of $38, which implies an upside of 17% from current levels. Separately, on September 6, RBC’s Mitch Steves reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $36.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jayson Noland and top analyst Mitch Steves have a yearly average return of 3.4% and 27.5% respectively. Noland has a success rate of 52% and is ranked #1607 out of 4651 analysts, while Steves has a success rate of 85% and is ranked #94.
Sentiment on the street is mostly bullish on CSCO stock. Out of 22 analysts who cover the stock, 16 suggest a Buy rating and 6 recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $35.84, which represents a potential upside of 11% from where the stock is currently trading.