The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a hotbed of cyber tensions. As the region embraces ICTs for economic and social development, long-standing conflicts have rapidly moved online. The MENA cyberspace is home to numerous highly-volatile attack groups: from patriotic hackers and hacktivist collectives to state-supported cyberattack groups and military cyberdefense units. Political and religious tensions, coupled with the growing economic prosperity of the energy sector, are attracting both foreign politically-motivated groups as well as cybercriminals looking for financial gain in a vulnerable environment. The region has been the target of the most sophisticated cyberattacks and espionage campaigns to date with Stuxnet and its associated variants, but it is also home to developing countries with the least cybersecurity structures in place.
ABI Research analyzes the dynamics of the cyberthreat landscape in the MENA region, and the growing organization of national defense capabilities. “The main drivers for the cybersecurity industry in the region are the protection of the energy and financial services sectors, which are still considerably vulnerable despite the intensifying hostile cyber environment. Some countries like Israel are ahead of the game, fostering a dynamic homegrown market in next-generation offensive cybersecurity products and services,” says Michela Menting, ABI Research’s senior analyst in cyber security. The market will offer significant opportunities for vendors targeting critical infrastructure sectors. Government budgets are supporting military efforts in cyber unit development, and military contractors are a growing presence in the region. Spending by MENA governments to boost their national cyberdefense capabilities will represent US$316 million in 2014. Efforts will extend to intelligence gathering, logistics management, information system and network security improvements. In Israel, particularly, this is a significant opportunity in 2014 for foreign investment in the local cybersecurity market.
The report “National Cyber Security Development – Middle East” can be found as part of ABI Research’s Cybersecurity Research Service.
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