The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: EMC, Sony, Lockheed Martin, Citigroup and Symantec

CHICAGO, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Security – Top Priority in 2011

Cyber security has emerged as the most discussed topic in the technology market over the last few months. As corporations, government agencies, banks and video game companies have been plagued by cyber attacks, online security has become a major concern for all.

However, the last few months have been particularly embarrassing for cyber security providers such as EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), after some high-profile hacking was reported at Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), EMC's own RSA division, defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT), banker Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), and elsewhere.

Moreover, government agencies like the IMF and CIA were also targeted. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which works closely with the U.S. Energy Department, also fell prey to cyber attack. In February 2011, France's finance ministry suffered a cyber attack, aimed at stealing files on the G-20 summit in Paris.

Earlier in June, Citigroup reported that around 360,083 North America Citi-branded credit cards were hacked. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, around 3,400 customers of Citigroup whose credit card information was hacked incurred losses totaling approximately $2.7 million.

According to Symantec Corp.'s (Nasdaq: SYMC) State of Spam & Phishing monthly report, total phishing attacks increased by 6.7% from June 2010 to May 2011. The number of non-English phishing sites increased 18% month over month.

Amid the growing number of cyber attacks, corporations and companies are looking for stricter and more stringent cyber security measures to plug the loopholes in the system.

Government Initiatives

This has prompted the U.S. government to issue an updated list of the 25 most dangerous software errors and guidelines to help programmers identify and avoid them. The system aims at sealing the common security holes, such as SQL injection, which the hacker group LulzSec used to break into Sony and into InfraGard, an outreach center used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to liaise with private businesses.

The Department of Homeland Security and MITRE, a government-backed research organization, has been issuing a list of software vulnerabilities once a year since 2009. The latest update involves a standardized scoring system, which a customer can refer to at the time of purchasing a particular software. A high score indicates that the software is safe, whereas a low score reflects security problems.

MITRE has been trying to assign a common name for software errors instead of different names as given by different software analyzers. The organization is also urging software analyzers to use a common language called common weakness enumeration to analyze the bugs.

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