Research by FireEye has revealed that there are hundreds of unique hacking groups active these days. 

Some stats your way

  • There are 1,900 hacker groups active, including APTs, financially motivated actors, and uncategorized groups. 
  • 2020 witnessed the deployment of 514 new malware variants, with the top categories being backdoors (36%), downloaders (16%), droppers (8%), launchers (7%), and ransomware (5%). 
  • In addition to this, 81% of malware tools were privately developed while 19% were publicly available. 

What’s good?

  • The global median dwell time dropped below one month for the first time in a decade. 
  • While the median dwell time last year was 56 days, it dropped to only 24 days in 2020.
  • The median dwell time for the Americas reduced from 32 days to only nine days. 
  • However, dwell times in EMEA and APAC saw an increase, which might be due to the greater number of intrusions.


  • The targeted sectors—business and professional services, hospitality and retail, healthcare, financial, and high tech—remain consistent over years.
  • With the shift to remote working, there have been unprecedented changes in VPN infrastructure, knowledge-sharing platforms, video conferencing, and other platforms. These led to an increase in the attack surface. 
  • The most prevalent threats to organizations came in the form of ransomware and multifaceted extortion.
  • Last year, 246 distinct threat groups were involved in various intrusions, among which 161 were newly tracked actors.  

The bottom line

2020 was a year when the way of life changed for everyone and along with it our daily routines also changed. We witnessed how the cyberworld is entwined with the physical world. With the increase in attack surface, hackers started growing in numbers and sophistication. Threat actors gave rise to multifaceted extortion and victims underwent considerable pressure to pay the ransom. Hence, organizations need to strengthen their defenses keeping in mind that these threats will not plunge anytime soon.

Cyware Publisher