Computer security is one of the fastest growing tech sectors — and the ASX has a squad of related stocks offering exposure to the theme.

Global cyber security spending is expected to reach $US96.3 billion ($124 billion) this year — and expertise is in short supply,  Macquarie Capital’s tech, media and telco boss Tej Shah, noted last week.

Tech plays that offer automated security systems could do particularly well as business customers look for reliable solutions that limit disruption to daily operations.

“Automation won’t eliminate people from the cyber security process but it will act as a filter so they can be more productive,” Mr Shah said.

An Accenture study shows cybercrime in Australia grew by more than 25 per cent last year. Cybercrime now costs Australians up to $17 billion annually, according to Australia’s new Cyber Security Strategy.

Microsoft describes it as an arms race of machine learning between hackers and defenders, evolving ransomware and potential exploits in server-less applications.

Here are ten ASX-listed small caps that play in the cyber-security arena:

Enterprise

Tesserent (ASX:TNT) provides “security-as-a-service” for a customer’s computer infrastructure, including firewall, authentication, anti-virus, spyware, intrusion detection, and security event management.

It just announced a new partnership with Leading Edge Group to share its CyberBiz software through its 130 retail stores.

Tesserent told the market it was the next stage of the software’s rollout to be launched in April.

The ASX’s newest play is cyber security exchange WhiteCliff (ASX:WHK).

Touted as the world’s first online cyber security exchange, the company allows small and mid-size businesses to identify cyber security risks and connect them with appropriate products.

Whitehawk listed on the ASX after raising $4.5 million selling shares at 20c (plus a free attaching option for every four shares).

In just one arm of the 30 year old Prophecy International (ASX:PRO) business, eMite and Snare cyber security products grew revenue by 24 per cent for the half, an increase of 58 per cent EBIT.

It told the market an increase in coverage would see it moving into Brazil and the US.

PS&C (ASX:PSZ) similarly is multi-pronged in the online space, the security business complementary to its contractor management and communication targets.

The company targets banking and finance as well as government and professional services, legal, sports betting with its ‘HackLabs’, ‘Securus Global’, ‘Pure Hacking’ and ‘Certitude’ offerings.

Encryption and data protection

Covata (ASX:CVT) is all about securing data for government and big business.

It also provides data discovery, transparent data encryption, centralised permission management and activity logging for sensitive and regulated information in SharePoint.

Israel-based Elsight (ASX:ELS) targets special forces and requirements “behind enemy lines”.

It provides “video and data capturing, recording and transmission for  tactical security and surveillance purposes — including wearable and portable devices, vehicle mounted and wall-mounted devices”.

The platform supports video capturing, recording, and high secured transmission against video interception and hacking.

Senetas (ASX:SEN) similarly targets government and technology service provides to provide encryption hardware and virtualised encryption.

In January, it told the market it was expecting a profit of $2.2 million to $2.4 million — spurred by the company’s major distribution partner Gemalto.

At home and in school

The most successful of the retail cybercrime tech plays target anxious parents.

Family Zone (ASZX:FZO) topped the list in the past year, up 129 per cent.

Late last year, it bought into cloud-managed firewall and filtering platform Linewize, which will be fully integrated into the company’s school offering next month.

Smart watch kid-tracker MGM Wireless (ASX:MWR) says it has exceeded its own expectations.

MGM which sells a device called Spacetalk that tracks the whereabouts of children, now expects to sell 120,000 to 180,000 units in Australia after stronger than expected initial sales.

Wangle (ASZ:WGL) offers a WFI product that monitors mobile network patterns in real time and advises parents of potential threats.

It partnered with the WA Principals association in January and raised $2.3 million in March to fund aggressive customer acquisition and future international expansion.

ASX Code Name Price March 15, 2018 Price March 15, 2017 12-month price change
CVT COVATA 0.037 0.043 -0.139534884
FZO FAMILY ZONE CYBER SAFETY 0.55 0.24 1.291666667
PRO PROPHECY INTERNATIONAL HLDGS 0.52 0.54 -0.037037037
SEN SENETAS CORP 0.12 0.09 0.333333333
TNT TESSERENT 0.13 0.09 0.444444444
WGL WANGLE TECHNOLOGIES 0.007 0.018 -0.611111111
WHK (IPO price) WHITEHAWK 0.155 0.2 -0.225
PSC PS & C 0.155 0.31 -0.5
MWR MGM Wireless 0.99 0.99 0.9