This Is How Money Is Kept Safe In Egypt’s Banks

June 11, 2023


Increasing individuals’ awareness about cybersecurity threats and enacting strong legal frameworks is crucial in safeguarding the financial and banking sectors. This is especially important in developing economies and emerging markets, such as Egypt.

During GITEX Africa 2023, the continent’s biggest tech event, a panel discussion took place about unlocking the full potential of African countries for a successful digital transformation. The three-day event concluded on June 2nd in Marrakech, Morocco, to promote inclusive and comprehensive technological advancement.

During a panel discussion titled “Making our Money Safe” the Chief Technical Officer of Cyber Resilience at DELL, Ravi Baldev, emphasized the importance of regulatory support for banks. This support should include regulations, legal frameworks, and firm laws to protect their databases and ensure the security of their digital services for clients, Baldev said.

Fighting cybersecurity

Egypt has been ranked 23rd globally for cyber-attacks and cyber security readiness by the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA). To ensure cyber security across the country, especially in the banking sector, Egypt has developed two essential tools, according to the panel.

On the banking sector level, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) launched a holistic strategic vision in 2022 dedicated to dealing with cybersecurity complex challenges arising from the large-scale interconnection of systems and networks, the increasing interdependence between interconnectivity of infrastructures, reliance on digital technologies, threats, and risks.

The vision aims to achieve several goals, such as creating a dedicated unit to tackle cybersecurity challenges, setting up technical connections for prompt response to any incidents, implementing measures to minimize risks, promoting awareness about cyber threats, and regularly evaluating the effectiveness of these actions.

In addition, the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) of Egypt established the Egyptian Computer Emergency Readiness Team (EG-CERT) in 2009. This team offers round-the-clock assistance in safeguarding crucial information infrastructure. To date, EG-CERT has been supporting different entities across the ICT, banking, and government sectors, helping them address cybersecurity threats, including denial of services attacks.

The banking sector has experienced a significant increase in digital transformation since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, most banking services that were previously offered by traditional banks are now available through mobile applications and e-wallets, according to Abeer Khedr, head of Cyber Security at the National Bank of Egypt (NBE).

In an interview with Business Monthly, Khedr emphasized the need for extensive awareness campaigns to educate clients on the safe usage of digital banking services. Clients must understand the risks of cyber threats and the significance of protecting their personal banking information, she said.

According to Khedr, it is the responsibility of banks to ensure the safety of digital applications and their infrastructure. Additionally, they must consistently update their operating systems to maintain security.

Dual responsibility

“Banks are required to set strategies that are meant to secure client data and protect them against external cyber threats. But clients too are required to keep their data safe and not to share them with anyone. This includes the user name and the password of the client, the 14 digits of the client’s banking card, and the three-digit card verification code (CVC) printed on the card’s back. This is besides not saving the personal data of the credit cards on the online shopping applications after completing the payment process on any e-commerce platform, Khedr warned.

In line with the strategy of Egypt’s National Council of Payments, chaired by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, CBE greenlit in December one-year incentives, which will end by late 2023, to support the country’s digital transformation, including cashless transaction adoption. These incentives include exempting the Egyptian pound-backed transactions made online from all fees and commissions, as well as waiving all fees and commissions on transactions made through the national Instant Payment Network (IPN) and its related mobile app Instapay powered by the CBE.

Since it was launched in April, transactions made through the IPN have increased in value to EGP 112 billion, up from 45 billion recorded in December 2022, through 20.3 million transactions, which reflects the significant turndown on e-payments in the local market.

The CBE also set a new pricing policy for transfers made among mobile e-wallets.

About the matter, Khedr mentioned the cyber security strategy implemented by CBE. She stated that CBE is constantly monitoring external threats that may jeopardize the safety of clients’ banking accounts and data. Additionally, CBE is working closely with all banks to reinforce the protection of data and secure the digital infrastructure of the banking system.

The Global Cyber Security Market was valued at $236.9 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to hit $479 billion by 2030, with an expected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.2% through 2030.