E Market Briefing For Tuesday, May 11

Potential cybersecurity solutions are rarer than the numerous hackers, or and self-designated experts on computer security. It's one reason we're aware of protecting our passwords or log-in credentials, because other than perhaps your CPA, nobody generally should have access to those. I was stunned just today to learn that one popular online brokerage asks for such information. No responsible institution should ever inquire of that kind of personal info, and for sure that's especially when it involves money and financial sites.

So, while the Pipeline hacker/ransomware shutdown gets 'top headline billing' and won't be resolved ('mostly they say') until the end of the week, there really needs to be more awareness of these risks. On a personal basis, Apple Mac OS systems are not perfect, but far more secure than the oft-patched Window systems. On a corporate basis there's more variability, part of the problem is there is not a 'one size fits all' Enterprise software security solution. We made a bit with CheckPoint (CHKP) some years ago, but now there are so many, as well as risk of responsibility if their protections are inadequate, that we don't.

Meanwhile, more big technology stocks decline, and is emblematic of concern by us for an April-May shakeout, but also the obvious limitations of 'rotational assistance' from assorted infrastructure and Oil / Energy issues to offset that, as they have done for some time allowing the 'illusion of strength' for the S&P.

So the latest story about the cyber-hacking is that it was all about money, and even perhaps without knowledge they attacked the largest pipeline in the U.S. (as some are suggesting the hackers are Russian, but not a Moscow-ordered attack). It appears to be a huge 'ransomware' attack, but there's no advice as yet from The While House as to how Colonial should respond (probably that's a blind-eye being given to pay-off the hackers, vs. the gasoline shortage that's possible late this week in the Northeast, almost regardless of resolution).

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