Companies Scrambling to Find Payroll Workarounds After Ransomware Attack

For many Americans who are paid biweekly, Dec. 17 is the final payday before Christmas

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A major payroll company has been crippled by ransomware hackers, leaving some companies around the country rushing to cover employees’ last paychecks before Christmas and many workers wondering if they’ll get paid on time.

Kronos, one of the largest workforce management companies in the U.S., was hit with ransomware Saturday, according to the company's public updates page, and announced Monday that its programs that rely on cloud services — which a number of companies use to pay employees and manage their hours — would be unavailable for “several weeks.”

For many Americans who are paid biweekly, Dec. 17 is the final payday before Christmas.

A spokesperson for Kronos declined to name which ransomware group was responsible, whether the company planned to pay, how much the hackers demanded or to provide a full list of customers that use its cloud services and were affected.

A number of major companies, including Whole Foods, GameStop and Honda, as well as state and local government agencies like the state of West Virginia, Maryland's Prince George's County and city of Cleveland, rely on Kronos for payroll and scheduling services for their employees.

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In 2019, a ransomware attack wiped out 750 government computers across Texas in less than 90 minutes. As hospitals, local governments, agencies and businesses increasingly become the targets of ransomware attacks, here's what you should know about the threat.
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