Millions of shop workers could miss next payday after cyber attack

Workers at Sainsburys, Boots, Land Rover and Jaguar could see their paydays delayed right before Christmas following a major ransomware attack on a payroll company.

Kronos, a HR tool used by employers to track workers' hours, has suffered a major ransomware attack on its Private Cloud services.

This means millions of workers who rely on the system won't be able to access their weekly schedule or even clock in and out during shifts, which could wreak havoc on pay packets just ahead of Christmas.

The company who makes Kronos, UKG, said it could take "several weeks" to restore availability ahead of Christmas and has told employers to use "alternative business protocols" to ensure their staff get paid on time.

This likely means manually tracking worker hours, which could lead to some mistakes.

Ransomware can take the form of a virus which locks computer systems entirely and threatens to delete all of the files and data unless a 'ransom' is paid⁠—usually in the form of cash or cryptocurrency.

It is unclear exactly how the ransomware attack has taken place at Kronos, although the company's vice president, Bob Hughes, said in a statement that "the investigation remains ongoing".

He said: "We deeply regret the impact this is having on you, and we are continuing to take all appropriate actions to remediate the situation."

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Will my paychecks be affected by the Kronos ransomware attack?

It depends where you work and whether your employer is one of the affected companies.

In all likelihood, your bosses should take quick action to make sure hours are still being tracked properly.

Keeping your own record of when you're due to work and when you clocked in and out could help protect you against any errors in your company's alternative payroll system.

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Some companies have already acknowledged the issue, which has even affected Elon Musk's Tesla in the US.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's reassured workers, telling The Register: "We're in close contact with Kronos while they investigate a systems issue. In the meantime we have contingencies in place to make sure our colleagues continue to receive their pay."

There could be disruption for as long as it takes for Kronos to restore full service, so just make sure you aren't caught short ahead of the holidays.

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