Mandiant announced the findings of an annual report that provides timely data and insights based on frontline investigations and remediations of high-impact cyber attacks worldwide. The 2022 report––which tracks investigation metrics between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021—reveals that while significant progress has been made in threat detection and response, adversaries are still innovating and adapting to achieve their mission in targeted environments.
Global median dwell time drops to three weeks
According to the report, the global median dwell time––which is calculated as the median number of days an attacker is present in a target’s environment before being detected––decreased from 24 days in 2020 to 21 days in 2021. Digging deeper, the report notes that the APAC region saw the biggest decline in median dwell time, dropping to just 21 days in 2021 compared to 76 days in 2020. Median dwell time also fell in EMEA, down to 48 days in 2021 compared to 66 days the year before. In the Americas, median dwell time stayed steady at 17 days.
When comparing how threats were detected across different regions, the report found that in EMEA and APAC, the majority of intrusions in 2021 were identified by external third parties (62% and 76%, respectively), a reversal of what was observed in 2020. In the Americas, the detection by source remained constant with most intrusions detected internally by organizations themselves (60%).
Organizations’ improved threat visibility and response as well as the pervasiveness of ransomware––which has a significantly lower median dwell time than non-ransomware intrusions––are likely driving factors behind reduced median dwell time, per the report.
New threats emerge as China ramps up espionage activity
Mandiant began tracking 733 new malware families, of which 86% were not publicly available, continuing the trend of availability of new malware families being restricted or likely privately developed, according to the report.
The report also notes a realignment and retooling of China cyber espionage operations to align with the implementation of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan in 2021. The report warns that the…