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A New Cyber War? Or Just 'Coincidence'?

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Money and Markets
You can also access this issue on our website.
Is a New Cyber War Underway? Or Just a 'Coincidence'?
Market Roundup
Dow +33.20 to 17,548.62
S&P +4.62 to 2,051.30
NASDAQ +12.64 to 4,922.40
10-YR Yield +0.095 to 2.301%
Gold -$3.20 to $1,160.30
Oil +$1.18 to $52.83

   By Mike Larson

The New York Stock Exchange went dark yesterday.

The Wall Street Journal website also shut down, displaying an odd “Oops, 504!” message for a period of time instead.

And for almost two hours, the vast majority of the airplanes operated by United Continental Holdings (UAL) were grounded. Thousands of travelers were stranded around the U.S.

The NYSE blamed a “configuration issue” related to a software update. It took almost four hours to reboot and restart the exchange’s trading systems, forcing investors to re-route orders to alternate systems for one of the longest stretches in history.

United also blamed a failed router and “network connectivity” problems for its massive outage, the second such “glitch” in a month. But that was cold comfort to flyers, since more than 1,150 flights were delayed in the midst of the summer travel season.

Cyber problems hit the NYSE, United and the Wall Street Journal on the same day. A coincidence?

As for the Journal, there’s not much word out there about what caused its home page to go down. It was still under investigation.

Government and corporate officials quickly declared these events unrelated and coincidental. They denied any evidence of a coordinated cyberattack or new cyber war.

But let’s be honest: It sure does look suspicious. And even if it’s nothing more than a sequence of random events, there’s no denying that computer crime, fraud and sabotage is surging like never before.

Protecting YOUR Data … and Profiting, Too

These are precisely the kinds of events we’ve been expecting. That’s why my team and I recently launched a massive research project on cybersecurity. The goal?

  1. Identify the scope of the problem …
  2. Explore potential solutions for corporations and governments …
  3. Determine and explain preventative steps you can take to increase the security of your data and personal information …
  4. And most importantly, dig into the companies at the forefront of the cyberdefense industry! These are the companies tasked with keeping corporate and government networks, computers, and data safe from intrusion.
“There’s no denying that computer crime, fraud and sabotage is surging.”

Many of these firms are making money hand over fist. They’re growing by leaps and bounds. Customers are practically banging down their doors to give them money – precisely to prevent cyber-disasters like we saw yesterday.

Their potential is extraordinary … but there are also plenty of fly-by-night operations you don’t want anything to do with. The trick is separating the wheat from the chaff. We’ve done our dead level best to help you, and I encourage you to click here for the results.

So what do you think about the recent series of technology breakdowns? Coincidence … or something more? Can we expect more massive outages like this, and if so, where do you think they will strike? What steps are you taking to keep your financial and other data safe? Any tips you’d like to share with your fellow investors? Here’s the link to the website where you can share them.

Our Readers Speak

The volatility is really ramping up in U.S. and global markets, as multiple crises and policy responses buffet stocks, bonds, and currencies. I’ve laid out some of my prescriptions for dealing with today’s turbulent markets here in Money and Markets, and here are some of the comments you had to share …

Reader Chuck B. weighed in on the chaos in Chinese markets, saying: “China’s ham-handed rulers are doing just the opposite of what is needed to inspire confidence in their markets. Halting all trading for a few days to let things settle might have been justified. But not allowing companies and officials to sell stock, perhaps while a small profit is still available, will simply scare those people into rash actions of one sort or another.

“Small investors also will likely be scared into giving up on the markets. After all, they will realize their investments are at the mercy of politicians in Beijing. We should also be aware that our investments are at the mercy of politicians in Washington, both directly and indirectly.”

As for Greece, Reader Frank E. said: “If Greece leaves the euro, and begins again with no international debt, will not their money be cheap, and thus allow them to begin to export more goods made there? Also, it should give a large boost to their tourist business.

“They will suffer a great deal no doubt now. But looking down the road, it seems to me that they no other choice. They cannot pay this huge debt that they have run up, and the countries that gave them the ‘loans’ well knew this.”

Reader Bobby shared this observation about the combined impact of those two crises: “Amazing. These two countries could topple the world economic system … not Greece likely by itself, but in concert with China? Quite.”

As for what to expect next, Reader Billy sounded a grim note: “It is looking clearer and clearer by the day that based on macro-economics, technicals, cyclicals, geo-politics, commodities deflation pressures, and demographics, that a major capital markets correction is in the process of beginning to play out.”

Thanks for all those opinions. We are definitely on a knife’s edge here, and things could go either way. So I hope the strategy guidance I’ve given you in stocks, bonds, and currencies to date has helped, and I’ll continue to do all I can to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

In the meantime, if you haven’t commented on these crazy markets yet, don’t hold it in any longer. Go to the website and make your voice heard soon.

Other Developments of the Day

BulletAre you seasick yet? After plunging by some of the largest margins since the Great Recession, China’s Shanghai Composite soared 5.8% overnight – the biggest one-day rally in six years.

While more than half the stocks traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen remained halted, several stocks that had been halted were re-opened. When they were, their prices surged by the 10% maximum amount allowed. Increased scrutiny of short-selling by Chinese authorities and new steps to boost borrowing for stock purchases helped stem the carnage.

BulletGermany is still digging in its heels and refusing to budge. But the pressure to forgive a portion of Greece’s debt is growing. The U.S. added its voice to the debate, siding with the International Monetary Fund in favor of write-downs on the 317 billion euros worth of debt Greece is carrying.

BulletGreece’s stock and bond markets remain closed, and so does the banking system, according to fresh announcements out of that country. Things could get ugly when they reopen if Greek and European negotiators can’t hammer out a deal.

BulletHopefully you’re not reading this as you seek to board the London Underground. A massive “Tube” strike has forced commuters to seek alternate transport on buses or their own two feet, snarling traffic all over the city. Workers are feuding with management over working conditions and pay related to the extension of subway service into overnight hours, beginning in September.

So are you anxiously awaiting your chance to load up on Greek stocks when that country’s market reopens? Are you encouraged by what China is doing to stem the chaos there? Hit up the website and let me hear about it.

Until next time,

Mike Larson 

P.S. Tomorrow is your LAST day to enroll in Martin’s Ultimate Portfolio! This Friday, July 10, at 4 PM ET your opportunity to save $1,103 will expire. Click here to join now, before it’s too late. 
Mike Larson
Mike Larson graduated from Boston University with a B.S. degree in Journalism and a B.A. degree in English in 1998, and went to work for There, he learned the mortgage and interest rates markets inside and out. Mike then joined Weiss Research in 2001. He is the editor of Safe Money Report. He is often quoted by the Washington Post, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and Sun-Sentinel, and he has appeared on CNN, Bloomberg Television and CNBC.
The investment strategy and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of any other editor at Weiss Research or the company as a whole.

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