HR Management Software Provider Kronos Hit by Ransomware

As IT and cyber professionals across the globe scramble to address the Log4j flaw—considered among the worst cyber vulnerabilities ever—one of the largest human resources solution providers is reporting a major ransomware attack.

HR management platform provider Kronos reported to customers on December 13th that they had suffered a ransomware attack, preventing clients from processing payroll, managing schedules and handling timesheets.

The primary target of the attack is the popular workforce management solution, Kronos Workforce Central, which is built specifically for clients to manage their workforce on a cloud platform.

The attack comes at a sensitive time of year with many clients scrambling for solutions to handle payroll and vacation schedules in time for the holiday season. One client confirmed that the attack will cause them to miss payroll for at least one week.

Parent company, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), has advised clients to seek out alternative solutions and released the following statement:

“While we are working diligently, our Kronos Private Cloud solutions are currently unavailable … Given that it may take up to several weeks to restore system availability, we strongly recommend that you evaluate and implement alternative business continuity protocols related to the affected UKG solutions.”

The statement also lists out the specific platforms and solutions affected by the attack, outlined below for quick reference.

  • Impacted – Kronos Private Cloud—the portion of our business where UKG Workforce Central, UKG?TeleStaff, Healthcare Extensions and Banking Scheduling Solutions are deployed.
  • Not Impacted – UKG Pro, UKG Ready, UKG Dimensions or any other UKG products or solutions, which are housed in separate environments and not in the Kronos Private Cloud.

Kronos’ software is widely used throughout the country by major clients, including Tesla, the YMCA, the UK grocery chain Sainsburys, multiple health agencies, the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the City of Cleveland’s government.

In addition to disrupting the software, UKG has informed clients, including the City of Cleveland, that the attack also resulted in a data breach comprised of employees’ full names, IDs and partial social security numbers.

Although cybersecurity professionals believe recent Log4j exploits indicate attackers are gearing up for ransomware attacks, UKG officials have not stated that this is related at the time of publishing this article. 

The last two days have been chaotic for IT and cyber professionals and an attack like this is not just a reminder of how dangerous ransomware attacks are, but also what the inherit risks are for third party vendors. 

We know that outsourcing business functions to third parties is essential in today’s business environments, but any partnership can result in downstream effects like the issues Kronos’ clients are encountering with their inability to process payroll and manage schedules.

If you have any questions about third party risk management or the other topics discussed in our article, please contact the team at [email protected].

About Schneider Downs Cybersecurity

The Schneider Downs cybersecurity practice consists of experts offering a comprehensive set of information technology security services, including penetration testing, intrusion prevention/detection review, ransomware security, vulnerability assessments and a robust digital forensics and incident response team. For more information, visit www.schneiderdowns.com/cybersecurity or contact the team at [email protected].

In addition, our Digital Forensics and Incident Response teams are available 24x7x365 at 1-800-993-8937 if you suspect or are experiencing a network incident of any kind.

Want to be in the know? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter, Focus on Cybersecurity, at www.schneiderdowns.com/subscribe.

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