Unauthorized Access to Switzerland-based ‘Hitachi Energy’ on Auction

Attack Description :

On a Russian cybercrime forum called XSS, a threat actor going by the name “TA Benneton” conducted an auction for unauthorized remote access with administrative privileges to Hitachi Energy Limited, a Switzerland-based sustainable energy company. During the auction, the threat actor claimed that the obtained access could be exploited to execute PowerShell scripts on the 22,100 machines within the company’s domain. As a demonstration of their compromise, the threat actor provided evidence of the breach.  


  1. Data Breach: The unauthorized access could potentially lead to the exposure and theft of sensitive company data, including proprietary information, intellectual property, and customer data.
  2. Operational Disruptions: If the attackers leverage their access to run PowerShell scripts on a significant number of machines within the company’s domain, it could disrupt normal business operations and impact productivity.
  3. Financial Losses: The company may incur financial losses due to the cost of investigating and mitigating the breach, as well as potential regulatory fines and legal fees.
  4. Reputational Damage: A publicized data breach can seriously harm the company’s reputation, leading to a loss of trust from customers, partners, and stakeholders.
  5. Legal and Regulatory Consequences: Hitachi Energy Limited may face legal and regulatory repercussions if sensitive data is compromised, especially if they are subject to data protection and privacy laws.
  6. Intellectual Property Theft: The attackers may use the unauthorized access to steal valuable intellectual property, which could be detrimental to the company’s competitive advantage.

Mitigation and prevention Strategies:

  1. Access Control and Privilege Management:
    • Implement strong access controls to limit user access to only what is necessary for their roles.
    • Enforce the principle of least privilege to minimize the potential impact of compromised accounts.
  2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):
    • Enable MFA for all user accounts, including administrative accounts, to add an extra layer of security against unauthorized access.
  3. Network Segmentation:
    • Segment the network to restrict lateral movement in case of a breach, limiting the attacker’s ability to access sensitive systems and data.
  4. Patch Management:
    • Regularly update and patch software and systems to address known vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.
  5. Security Awareness Training:
    • Educate employees about cybersecurity best practices, including recognizing phishing attempts and social engineering techniques.
  6. Monitor and Detect:
    • Implement real-time monitoring and threat detection systems to identify suspicious activities and potential unauthorized access.
  7. Incident Response Plan:
    • Develop and regularly test an incident response plan to ensure a swift and effective response to security incidents.
  8. Data Encryption:
    • Encrypt sensitive data, both at rest and in transit, to protect it from unauthorized access.
  9. Regular Security Audits and Penetration Testing:
    • Conduct regular security audits and penetration testing to identify and address vulnerabilities proactively.
  10. Vendor and Third-Party Security:
  • Ensure that third-party vendors and partners also adhere to robust cybersecurity practices to prevent supply chain attacks.

Take Away: By implementing these mitigations and maintaining a proactive security stance, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches, safeguarding their critical assets and data from potential threats. 

Disclaimer : The information provided herein is on “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind.