Ransomware attack forces W.Va. officials to issue paper paychecks | Saturday News | #malware | #ransomware

CHARLESTON — A ransomware attack forced West Virginia state workers to go the extra mile this week to process state employee payroll.

Ultimate Kronos Group, a human resources management company, was hit at the beginning of the week hobbling its clients — one of which is the State of West Virginia government — from processing payroll, handling time sheets and performing other workforce issues.

However, on Friday, State Auditor JB McCuskey said the various state agencies’ payrolls “have been loaded into the payroll system and have had a payroll check generated ahead of payday Friday.”

According to a press release from McCuskey’s office, more than 37,000 employee payroll checks have been processed.

“It took a tremendous effort by payroll administrators across state government to manually input most of the information. This was a critical component of our contingency plan, which was activated following a ransomware attack on UKG (formerly known as Kronos), the private company contracted to administer the state’s time and leave system,” the press release states.

On Dec. 27, wvOasis uploaded the payroll information from the state agencies into the Kronos system. The State Auditor’s Office immediately began identifying any red flags caused by the ransomware attack.

“Because of the contingency plan and hard work by many across state government, 98% of the paystubs had no issues,” states the press release.

Of the some 140 state agencies impacted by the Kronos outage, there were no or only isolated issues, which were resolved.

“We did, however, identify concerns that impacted two agencies. Since Monday, members of the State Auditor’s team, along with wvOasis, the Governor’s Office and the State Treasurer’s Office, were working around the clock with payroll administrators in DHHR and DMV to address these anomalies. The concerns were resolved and the employees who were identified were uploaded into the system,” McCuskey’s office said.

The State Auditor’s Office then began the next lengthy step in the process of printing paper checks for the small percentage of employees who were identified during its review. Each agency has received the checks for their impacted employees and had a plan to deliver the checks to their employees by Friday, with many of those deliveries happening Thursday, ahead of payday. Every other employee will see their paycheck deposited electronically into their bank accounts, as usual.

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