Global Threat Landscape Report

February 25, 2021

2H 2020 Introduction and Key Findings

The world rarely comes to a consensus on anything, but pretty much everybody agrees that putting 2020 behind us was a good thing. In many ways, we’d also prefer to move rather than revisiting the cyber threat landscape of the past year. But like it or not, the echoes of 2020 continue to reverberate into 2021 in both the physical and digital worlds, and we ignore that fact to our peril. Thus, we’re going back into the second half of 2020 (2H 2020) so we can move forward into a better, more secure future. Please join us.

The SolarWinds of Change

There’s a good chance that SolarWinds is the “Target breach” equivalent of supply chain cybersecurity. Target wasn’t the first retail hack, but it was the first that most security people could talk to their families about. Similarly, supply chain attacks have a long history, but SolarWinds seems to have blown the discussion to new heights. Get the scoop and full scope of the campaign across our sensors.

The Trials of Home Pwnership

Sticking with the battle theme, the elevated interest in IoT devices may be a type of flanking maneuver. The barriers between home and corporate offices have eroded in 2020, meaning that “pwning” a home puts adversaries one step closer to pwning their own business. Put them out of business anticipating and thwarting their plans using intel shared in this report.

Don’t Be So APT To Forget

The SolarWinds breach might have stolen the spotlight in 2H 2020, but plenty of other advanced persistent threat (APT) groups continued unabated in their illicit activities in the shadows. We expose the most active groups, what they’re up to, and where they focused operations to close out 2020.

Relationships Built on (Un)Trust

The work-from-home (WFH) transition has been tough on many, but a positive outcome is that it could be the final nail in the coffin of trust-based security. A disappearing perimeter puts ever-growing pressure to move security monitoring and enforcement to every device. Human relationships might be built on trust, but it’s increasingly apparent that distrust builds healthier IT relationships.

An SOS for IoT and CMS

Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and content management systems (CMS) continue to be at the front lines in the battle for the internet. Nine of the top 10 exploits target technologies falling into one of these categories. They might not be your most critical assets, but there’s a good chance they’re network neighbors to your critical assets. Be a good neighbor and keep them on a tight leash.

Hunting Game for Big Gain

It seems we do a “Rise of Ransomware” story in every edition, yet here we are again. Ransomware activity jumped 7x from the start of the half to the end, earning another headlining act. The continued evolution of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), an emphasis on “Big Game Hunting” (big ransoms for big targets), and the threat of disclosing compromised data if demands weren’t met created a market for massive growth that cyber criminals turned into big profits.

Exploits of Epidemic Proportions

COVID made “flatten the curve” a household phrase in 2020, but did you know the concept also applies to vulnerability exploits? Our final story tracks the spread of 1,500 exploits over the last two years to shed light on how fast and how far they propagate in the wild. What’s the likelihood you’ll be exposed? Keep reading to find out!

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The Fortinet Security Fabric platform provides true integration and automation across an organization’s security infrastructure, delivering unparalleled protection and visibility to every network segment, device, and appliance, whether virtual, in the cloud, or on-premises.


cyber threats, Threat Intelligence