The holiday season, dominated by and large by Christmas, is a treasured time of year for many people. It’s a time to reconnect with family and friends. It’s also a critical economic period of the year when retailers entice Christmas shoppers with online and end-of-year deals.

The ensuing massive financial injection into the economy comes from millions of consumers who spend liberally during the holidays, much in contrast to the archetypal frugal figure whose apathy towards Christmas has played into holiday stories and movies, from Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol to Clark Griswold’s boss in the film Christmas Vacation.

Other more malicious film figures knowingly attack the holiday spirit, such as the bumbling burglars in Home Alone, the cold-hearted Duke brothers in Trading Places, or the spiteful Mrs. Deagle in Gremlins. Perhaps the most iconic of this character type is Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, whose name has entered the common lexicon, just as Scrooge has, to indicate open hostility toward the holidays.

Such characters exist in real life to dampen our holiday spirits, as a recent ransomware attack sadly illustrates. The workforce management company Ultimate Kronos Group received an unwelcome early gift—a devastating ransomware attack whose broad reach has implications that extend well beyond the company itself.

On Santa’s Naughty List

On December 13, only twelve days before Christmas, Ultimate Kronos Group revealed that it had suffered a ransomware attack. The company provides human capital management services for multiple clients in both the public and private sectors. Because of the nature of its service, Ultimate Kronos Group has access to private employee information and helps with essential functions, including payroll.

The company announced that its customers who are impacted use one of its products called Kronos Private Cloud. Customers of Ultimate Kronos Group span a variety of industries and include big names such as Tesla and MGM Resorts. Many of its prominent clients admitted that they had been affected in some form following the attack.

The affected entities include the Board of Water Supply in Honolulu, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, the City of Cleveland, the Oregon Department of Transportation, George Washington University, the University of Utah, and a hospital in San Angelo, Texas, among others.

Kronos said that it could be weeks before it can restore its service to full working order. In the meantime, this means that any organization using the company’s services must manually track employees’ working hours and issue paper checks. This could complicate Christmas plans for many.

… And a Happy New Year

With 2021 nearly behind us and 2022 fast-approaching, it is important to understand that such cyberattacks and data breaches are certain to occur all year-round. Safe and more effective data security measures will be required to keep businesses and organizations of all types safe from ransomware and other malware attacks in 2022.

SecureDrive BT and SecureUSB BT devices are hardware-encrypted, offline storage solutions that require authentication via a free mobile app. Their internal components are epoxy-coated to prevent someone from getting data through physical tampering, and as a security measure all data becomes inaccessible after ten consecutive, unsuccessful password attempts.

Both BT devices support Remote Management, a console that heightens security and allows strict administrator control over all devices with a license. Remote Management allows geo- and time-fencing to restrict when and where a device can be used. This is perfect for one who goes home for the holidays, or when the ball drops and we ring in 2022.

To improve your chances of a ransomware-free new year, contact one of our data security experts today at 424-363-8535.

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