NEW YORK, July 16 Cyberattacks on U.S.
businesses could be an opportunity for investors as companies
spend money to upgrade their infrastructures, big-name money
managers said on Wednesday at a conference geared to sharing
potential blockbuster ideas.
Even U.S. Treasury Jacob Lew, speaking at the CNBC
Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha conference, noted that
such attacks are an immediate concern.
"Everyone in this room knows cyber intrusions are not some
hypothetical event on the horizon," Lew said, calling them a
threat to economic security.
That, in turn, means more companies will have to upgrade,
adapt or otherwise evolve their systems to deal with the
problem, investors said.
"Every business in the United States will have to spend more
money to defend themselves," said Lee Ainslie, head of Maverick
Capital. He feels that companies providing cybersecurity could
Jim Breyer, the chief executive of Breyer Capital, also
listed cybersecurity and messaging as among his most interesting
focuses at the conference, as well.
Cybersecurity has emerged as a major policy question in
recent years, with Lew mentioning the topic comes up when he
speaks with foreign leaders, as well.
Major corporations have suffered a number of high-profile
breaches. Retailer Target, for example, ousted Gregg
Steinhafel as chairman and chief executive in May some five
months after a widespread breach provoked consumer ire.
Even billionaire investor Warren Buffett - who was not
present at Wednesday's conference - says he's afraid of cyber
In an interview with Reuters earlier this year, Buffett said
he frets about the potential for cyberattacks at Berkshire
Hathaway companies, particularly those with large
physical facilities such as the BNSF railroad and at utility
"It's something that the CEOs of our companies worry about
plenty," he said in that interview.
(Reporting by Luciana Lopez, Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Jennifer
Ablan; Editing by Bernard Orr)