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UK umbrella payroll firm GiantPay confirms it was hit by ‘sophisticated’ cyber-attack

Giant Group, the umbrella company that has thousands of contractors on its books, has been targeted by a “sophisticated” cyber-attack that floored systems and left workers out in the cold, the biz has now confirmed.

The attack happened last Wednesday (September 22) and forced the outfit – known to many as Giant Pay – to shut down its whole network, including its phone and email systems, as well as its IT infrastructure.

It said last night it was still working on a “technical issue that is preventing us from getting the giant umbrella and giant accounts portals back up and running.”

The incident blew up last week when contractors, many of whom work in IT, were unable to contact the company or carry out payroll-related tasks.

In a statement issued last night, Giant Group said:

Giant Group went on to imply that its reticence to share information was down to the nature of the attack, saying it had shared updates as soon as it was advised that it was “safe to do so.”

At this stage it’s not known who is behind the onslaught and the company has not responded to questions over whether the attackers used ransomware.

A National Crime Agency spokesperson told The Register: “The NCA is aware of an incident affecting Giant Group Ltd and we are working with partners to better understand its impact.”

The Reg also asked The ICO and Crowell & Moring for comment.

According to reports from irate workers, there are still some discrepancies over pay, which the firm says it hopes – but cannot confirm as yet – to resolve by the end of the week.

The company also confirmed that it had made interim payments to more than 8,000 contractors who are paid for work they do with other companies and organisations via the payroll services provider. It is not clear if everyone who is due money has been paid, or if they have received their full amount.

Giant Pay added: “Although we had no portals to operate from, we managed to pay over 8,000 workers last week. We appreciate that not everyone would have received their expected payment and for that we are sincerely sorry. We are aiming to be able to process your payroll and pay you by Friday.”

But despite the assurances, it seems contractors are still pulling out their hair over the lack of communicationn.

One wrote on Monday evening: “This is now really frustrating. Like everyone else, I was waiting to get paid on 24th September [when it had promised to process payments], but I did not receive any communication from them that this won’t happen. It was later in the evening on Friday that I saw the message on their website.

“Now this is Monday evening 27th Sept, we still haven’t received any form of communications from Giant Pay, neither have they updated us on what exactly is going on.”

Acknowledging the problems faced by contractors Giant Group said it knows “everyone is frustrated about the lack of communication”. Further updates will be published on its website. ®