6 min read

A Year in Review (2020-2021)

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Jun 15

It's our birthday! Hack The Box is turning four years old, and we couldn't be more excited! Your continuous support, feedback, and suggestions made this possible, and we want to thank you once again for that.

Our community is growing and glowing: last year, right about this time, we were celebrating 300k members. One year later, we've crossed 500k HTB members already (yes, half a million!) and another 100k Academy members. HTB is growing, and we cannot wait to reach the next milestone together.

The Hack The Box team counts almost 100 people. Since last year, we have added even more talent to our staff, allowing us to pursue more ambitious goals, innovative projects and still be able to deliver top-notch content for our users. As community members, you are the heart of this platform, and we want to sincerely thank you for being with us. From the ones present from day 1 (the 487 members who own the "Founding Member" badge) until the last person who joined today, none are excluded! Let's make HTB the place where hacking training meets fun!

Some 2020-2021 Stats:

  • New Platform Users 238,425
  • HTB Academy Users 121,072
  • Academy Sections Completed 1,028,532
  • 35 CTFs Hosted
  • 227 New Universities Enrolled
  • Machine Spawns 955,100
  • 800k Owns across Machines, Challenges, Pro Labs, Fortresses, and Endgames
  • 86 Machines and 86 Challenges released

Enjoy the recap of the amazing year that just passed and have a glimpse of what's coming next.

[+] Hack The Box Pwnbox

Released: May 2020

Hack from your browser anytime, anywhere! On May 27th, we launched Pwnbox, a completely browser-accessible virtual hacking distro including everything a hacker's operating system should have. Based on Parrot OS and with a Hack The Box look and feel, Pwnbox has (pre-installed) all the tools and lists needed to hack any HTB Lab, from Machines to Challenges and from Endgames to Pro Labs. Endless possibilities, just with a Hack The Box account!

Since the release, we have surpassed 390k hours of total Pwnbox playtime. More and more players are using it every day to hack on Hack The Box and learn on HTB Academy, and we couldn’t be happier about this.

[+] HTB New Look

Released: July 2020

New Logo, New Platform, New Era

In July 2020, we were all over “makeover” mode on. After three years of HTB legacy with our iconic black and green colors, we decided to modernize and refresh our brand identity. A new logo and platform UI & UX redesign were an effort to reinvigorate the brand and optimize its performance across platforms in order to bring coherence, clarity, and flexibility to Hack The Box and its full suite of products and services.

Latest platform additions with all the glorious looks and functionality: Pro Labs, Endgames, Fortresses, Release Arena, Tracks, Rankings, Starting Point, and the University section have a new, wonderful look!

[+] New Pro Lab: Dante

Released: August 2020

The first of the new additions to the Pro Labs squad! Dante is a beginner-friendly Pro Lab (“Penetration Tester Level I” Certification) themed as a company that has not undergone a comprehensive penetration test in the past and wants to reduce its technical debt. This new Pro Lab provides the opportunity to learn common penetration testing methodologies and gain familiarity with tools included in the Parrot OS Linux distribution.

From day 1, Dante made the community fall in love with it, counting over 13k flag submissions today. Dante is rocking it! 

[+] Tracks

Released: September 2020

Much anticipated, they finally arrived in September 2020. A “Track” is a selection of machines and challenges tied together for users to progress through, mastering a particular subject. Tracks provide motivation, keeping you focused and ensuring you are working towards your goals in a structured way.

Three batches of Tracks have been released until now, for a total of 20 Tracks. A few examples:

  • "OWASP Top 10" [Easy]
  • "Active Directory 101" [Medium]
  • "Scripting Master" [Hard]
  • "Intro to Offshore" [Insane]

And the “most wanted” one? The “Beginner Track” [Easy] with 778 likes! You can start it here. 

[+] VIP+ Subscription

Released: October 2020

In a few words: all you can hack! Here is what we thought. Why not make Pwnbox time/access unlimited? Why not offer our players the opportunity to play HTB Machines in their exclusive instances and on-demand? We made both happen with VIP+. A new subscription to take your hacking game to the next level. 

  • Unlimited Pwnbox Access
  • Personal Instances

[+] Hacking Battlegrounds

Released: October 2020

After many months of hard work from our entire team to ensure we can deliver the best possible player and hacking experience, we announced Hacking Battlegrounds (aka HBG)! An intense, real-time multiplayer hacking/gaming experience in the form of timed team battles. 

Cyber Mayhem

Released: October 2020

Attack/Defense Game Mode: Players are split into two teams and compete in 30-min or 1-hour battles. Each team is given root access to their machines and is tasked to secure them while trying to attack the opposing team’s machines.

Server Siege

Released: March 2021

One set of machines is spawned, and two teams compete over who hacks the machines first. Once hacked, the team should secure its position to the machine and race to get the root flag.

HBG Tournaments

We wanted to combine the top-notch content created by Hack The Box and the thrill of a live multiplayer gaming experience, making it the ultimate level of gamified cybersecurity. This is how HBG Tournaments started. The magic recipe: unlimited battles, live scoreboard, and awesome prizes ensuring the ultimate competitive thrill! Until now, we have put together tournaments, counting 42 hours of non-stop playtime, 25 games per hour, and more than £10k in prizes.

Don't forget:

  • Stay tuned for the next tournament in April. Hacking is the new gaming!
  • 48h of unlimited HBG game this weekend (3-4 April 2021). Play along!

[+] HTB Academy

Released: November 2020

HTB Academy is an effort to gather everything we have learned over the years, meet our community’s needs, and create a “University for Hackers”, where our users can learn step-by-step the cybersecurity theory and get ready for the hacking playground of HTB, our labs. 

  • Courses for every skill level
  • Categories: Offensive, Defensive, General Security
  • Interactive learning, theoretical and practical
  • No workstation is needed, just a browser

In just five months of existence, HTB Academy has surpassed 123k users and 1m section completions. Thank you! 

Exciting news to be announced very soon. Stay tuned!

[+] New Pro Lab: APTLabs

Released: December 2020

One more Pro Lab launched during 2020, the fifth in total in our Pro Labs family! APTLabs is an ultimate Red Team challenge that simulates a targeted attack by an external threat agent against an MSP (Managed Service Provider). The lab requires prerequisite knowledge of attacking Active Directory networks. APTLabs consists of fully patched servers, prevalent enterprise technologies, a simulated WAN network, and much more. Your goal is to compromise all client networks and reach Domain Admin wherever possible.

Let's Celebrate!

Looking back, 2020 was a ride! With over 19.7 million hours of playtime, you gave us proof that cybersecurity training can be fun and accessible to everyone, and we couldn’t be more proud. 2020 ended with Hack The Box being awarded as one of the Top 25 Cybersecurity Companies of 2020 by The Software Report. This achievement would not have been possible without the support of every single community member, customer, and partner. 

That’s why it’s time to celebrate! Clear your agenda for the weekend, and get ready for Hacking Battlegrounds. Unlimited HBG games for 48 hours (3-4 April 2021). What’s better than celebrating our birthday with unlimited hacking?

Lastly, do not miss the craziest CTF of the year. More than 1,200 teams have already registered for Cyber Apocalypse CTF 2021. Are you ready to save the Earth? Read all the details about the prizes (£11,500 total worth!), the hacking content, our partners, and more.

That’s all for now. We hope you are as thrilled as we are for what’s coming next. Let’s make 2021 a remarkable year together.



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