Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Mandiant Consulting, now part of Google Cloud, today released the findings of its M-Trends 2023 report. Now in its 14th year, this annual report provides timely data and expert analysis on the ever-evolving threat landscape based on Mandiant frontline investigations and remediations of high-impact cyber attacks worldwide. The new report reveals the progress organizations globally have made in strengthening defenses against increasingly sophisticated adversaries. 

“M-Trends 2023 makes it clear that, while our industry is getting better at cyber security, we are combating ever evolving and increasingly sophisticated adversaries. Several trends we saw in 2021 continued in 2022, such as an increasing number of new malware families as well as rising cyber espionage from nation-state-backed actors. As a result, organizations must remain diligent and continue to enhance their cyber security posture with modern cyber defense capabilities. Ongoing validation of cyber resilience against these latest threats and testing of overall response capabilities are equally critical.” – Jurgen Kutscher, VP, Mandiant Consulting at Google Cloud.

Global Median Dwell Time Declines to Just Over Two Weeks

According to the M-Trends 2023 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 – continues to drop year-over-year down to 16 days in 2022. This is the shortest median global dwell time from all M-Trends reporting periods, with a median dwell time of 21 days in 2021. 

When comparing how threats were detected, Mandiant observed a general increase in the number of organizations that were alerted by an external entity of historic or ongoing compromise. Organizations headquartered in the Americas were notified by an external entity in 55% of incidents, compared to 40% of incidents last year. This is the highest percentage of external notifications the Americas has seen over the past six years. Similarly, organizations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) were alerted of an intrusion by an external entity in 74% of investigations in 2022 compared to 62% in 2021.

Mandiant experts noted a decrease in the percentage of their global investigations involving ransomware between 2021 and 2022. In 2022, 18% of investigations involved ransomware compared to 23% in 2021. This represents the smallest percentage of Mandiant investigations related to ransomware since prior to 2020. 

“While we don’t have data that suggests there is a single cause for the slight drop in ransomware-related attacks that we observed, there have been multiple shifts in the operating environment that have likely contributed to these lower figures. These factors include, but are not limited to: ongoing government and law enforcement disruption efforts targeting ransomware services and individuals, which at minimum require actors to retool or develop new partnerships; the conflict in Ukraine; actors needing to adjust their initial access operations to a world where macros may often be disabled by default, as well as organizations potentially getting better at detecting and preventing or recovering from ransomware events at faster rates.” – Sandra Joyce, VP, Mandiant Intelligence at Google Cloud.