How this ASX ETF is helping protect our school kids

Hackers have been increasingly targeting schools as remote learning has soared.

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Girl studies remotely at home alongside cybersecurity concept

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ASX exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have seen their popularity in Australia soar over the past 5 years.

And for good reason.

Why the ETF market is growing Down Under

ASX ETFs offer Aussie investors the means to invest – long or short – into various commodities with a single share purchase.

They also provide the means to invest into multiple sector-specific companies, often listed on international exchanges.

Today we throw the spotlight onto the Betashares Global Cybersecurity ETF (ASX: HACK).

This ASX ETF offers investors exposure to 39 large-cap global cybersecurity shares. HACK doesn’t hold any Aussie shares at the moment. That’s because our homegrown cyber companies aren’t quite big enough.

At least, not yet.

HACK’s top 4 holdings are Zscaler, Crowdstrike Holdings, Accenture, and Cisco Systems.

In an article I penned yesterday, I noted that cybersecurity shares led Saxo Market’s equity basket performance for the month of July.

Although HACK’s share price is sliding in intraday trading today, down just under 1%, the ASX ETF has gained 30% over the past year.

And with new reports of major hacks happening across the globe almost daily, cybersecurity companies will continue to find their services in high demand.

How this ASX ETF is helping protect school kids

You don’t have to look far to find hackers’ latest brazen efforts to steal or blackmail their way into ill-gotten fortunes.

Unfortunately, the global pandemic did more than unleash a deadly virus across the globe.

The shift to remote learning for kids also opened the door for hackers to spread virtual viruses throughout school and home computer networks.

As Bloomberg reports, “Cyber criminals are targeting US schools at an increasing rate after remote learning during the pandemic left them more vulnerable to hacks”.

While most schools in the United States are reopening at the end of August for the new school year, experts don’t believe the pace of hacks is likely to diminish.

Keith Krueger is the CEO of Consortium for School Networking. According to Krueger:

We see no evidence that this is abating. Criminals are having luck with it; they’re obviously having it with big cases we’re reading about every day. With back to school, we’re bracing ourselves for a real challenge this fall.

Going by Bloomberg’s figures, US schools have borrowed roughly US$600 billion (AU$810 billion) in the bond market. Logically, some of the Wall Street bond investors are eyeing the ramp-up in hacks nervously.

Daniel Barton is the head of tax-exempt bonds at Mellon. Among its US$25.9 billion in municipal assets, it owns school district debt. “Going to remote [learning] has really ramped up the level of cyberattacks. I don’t see this problem going away soon. There are so many bad actors,” Barton said.

With 39 large-cap cybersecurity companies in its portfolio, HACK is certainly playing its part in helping protect school systems across the globe.

But whether you’re looking to gain exposure to a basket of cybersecurity companies or wanting to track the price of gold without owning the actual metal, ASX ETFs are worth investigating.

Should you invest $1,000 in HACK right now?

Before you consider HACK, you'll want to hear this.

Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and HACK wasn't one of them.

The online investing service he’s run for nearly a decade, Motley Fool Share Advisor, has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* And right now, Scott thinks there are 5 stocks that are better buys.

*Returns as of August 16th 2021

The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended BETA CYBER ETF UNITS. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended BETA CYBER ETF UNITS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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