During a December ransomware attack on Kronos, employees at both private and public sector organizations had their data compromised as the Kronos Ransomware Attack took down payroll systems.
Kronos, a workforce management company that services around 40 million people in over 100 countries, received a rude awakening on Dec. 11, 2021, when it realized a ransomware attack compromised its Kronos Private Cloud. A series of events followed, and to this day, as the Kronos software fails to reconcile following the attack, millions of employees are short hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The December ransomware attack against Ultimate Kronos Group, a workforce management company, hindered its customer’s ability to process payrolls. The attack had far-reaching ramifications and has stakeholders looking for someone to blame. Many organizations like Tesla, PepsiCo, Whole Foods, and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority were victims of this incident and the resulting outage.
Employees at PepsiCo and Tesla filed a class action lawsuit in the US District Court in the Northern District Court of California against UKG. They filed this case seeking damages due to alleged negligence in data security practices and procedures.
New York MTA employees filed yet another lawsuit against the MTA, alleging that ‘it was unable to pay overtime wages due to the Kronos outage or the Kronos Ransomware Attack.’ The US District Court filed this case for the Southern District of New York.
How did the Kronos Ransomware Attack happen?
Kronos has been sparse on the details, like many other companies that have suffered ransomware attacks in recent years. Its press release states that it was a determined ransomware attack on Kronos Private Cloud and became synonymous with “unusual activity influencing UKG solutions” and “taking instant action.”
Origins of Kronos Ransomware Attack
The notion of stealing digital data and holding it as ransom is not new. In 1989, the PC Cyborg Virus was used as ransomware to force victims to pay $189 to a PO Box in Panama to restore access to their systems. With cryptocurrency becoming commonplace, attacks such as the Kronos ransomware attack have increased as now the attackers can quickly receive their funds without the worry of getting traced. And it has become challenging for authorities to determine who the attackers were behind the Kronos attack and where it was incepted.
Impact of the Kronos Ransomware Attack
In 2021, the Kronos ransomware attack hindered some companies from accessing their employees’ attendance records or being unable to process paychecks for several weeks. The ransomware attack didn’t impact the companies that had deployed the software on-premises or operated a self-hosted environment.
However, the Kronos ransomware attack affected thousands of profiles, as the platform had over a million users, resulting in several third parties being unable to access data. For example, the White House COVID-19 team could not access COVID-19 case and death data from Maryland when Maryland was going through its most significant spike in hospitalizations.
So, long story short, the Kronos Ransomware attack successfully compromised the credibility of cloud-based solutions. Privacy and security concerns jumped beyond measure, which became one of the significant impacts of the Kronos ransomware attack.
Essential Steps to Take When You Became a Victim of attacks like Kronos Ransomware
If you become the victim of a Kronos ransomware attacks, follow these steps:
1. Get in Touch with Imagine IT as Soon as Possible
Speed & information are essential when you deal with any security breach. Ensure that you get in touch with Imagine IT’s security team for the best-managed IT & cyber security services to sort out all your issues as soon as possible. We will act swiftly to protect your network, assess the damage, and resolve any other problems that may come up.
2. Set Up MFA and Change Passwords
Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) and implement company-wide password changes immediately to prevent attackers from using stolen data, including all login credentials and passwords, to break into your network. It is difficult to determine what data the attackers could get from you, and it’s better to err on the side of caution.
3. Evaluate the Risk to Your Operations
The first thing you must do when you get hit by a Kronos ransomware attack is to evaluate how the incident will impact your operations. Also, check whether any of your critical applications are corrupt, and try to find out how bad the damage is.
4. Ensure the Kronos Ransomware Attack Did Not Spread to Your Network
Examine whether the Kronos Ransomware attack has spread to your network or not. While the attack usually isolates itself to a single person, there have been instances where attacks spread to the company. Regularly check your activity logs for any suspicious activity, and conduct a thorough network scan for possible breaches.
How to Prevent Another Kronos-Style Attack?
Proper preparation is necessary to minimize the risk & impact of ransomware attacks. Companies should invest in cyber awareness education and training for all their employees so they can identify potential phishing attempts. Cyber education is a key to defense against ransomware attacks. Hackers generally rely on users clicking malicious links to access the enterprise system.
Using ‘identity and access management (IAM)’ and other security software from Imagine IT can benefit companies that want to protect themselves from ransomware and other cyberattacks.
Finally, companies must also perform continuous data backups to minimize the impact of any ransomware attack, as attackers often look at the latest vulnerabilities in the system. Patching security protocols with the latest updates are crucial to prevent a ransomware attack.