The crisis highlights the urgency of cybersecurity. A 2020 report by IT security firm Trend Micro found a 16% year-on-year rise in vulnerabilities in industrial control systems in the first half of 2020.

With more people working remotely, the need for digital protection presents opportunities: prepandemic the Middle East’s cybersecurity market was slated to grow from $16.1bn in 2020 to $28.7bn in 2025, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.2%. In mid-August 2020 this was amended to $15.6bn in 2020 and $29.9bn in 2025 – a CAGR of 13.8% – with growth accelerated by more frequent and sophisticated security breaches against critical industries, government and enterprises.

Health care is expected to be the fastest-growing cybersecurity market, as entities seek solutions like medical device penetration testing, inventory and risk analysis, risk assessments and network segmentation – especially in light of reports in late 2020 of hackers targeting sensitive information on the development of Covid-19 vaccines and the cold chain needed for their storage and distribution.

Policymakers are also working to strengthen cybersecurity at the national level. The National Cybersecurity Strategy 2018-21, for example, seeks to monitor and respond to threats; secure critical infrastructure; and create a safe environment for businesses to thrive. These efforts are reflected in international indices, with Egypt ranking fourth out of 22 Arab states and 23rd out of 175 countries in the International Telecommunication Union’s most recent Global Cybersecurity Index, released in 2018.

Furthermore, Egypt enacted an anti-cybercrime law in 2018, and in February 2020 the Egyptian Parliament passed the Personal Data Protection Law, which came into force in July 2020 and aligns with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

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