back to article UK umbrella payroll firm Giant Pay 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 …

  1. katrinab Silver badge

    It is always "sophisticated"

    Anything involving computers is sophisticated.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: It is always "sophisticated"

      Sophisticated is an interesting word. In English it used to mean "corrupted, adulterated, tampered with" (my OED from 1954). It changed some time in the latter half of last century to mean whatever it means today - elegant, complicated, modern, whatever.

      Seems that the sophisticated attack made GiantPay's systems more sophisticated.

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: It is always "sophisticated"

      It has to be "sophisticated" otherwise it's an admission that "our cybersecurity was incompetent"

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: It is always "sophisticated"

        Or under-funded

        1. UCAP Silver badge

          Re: It is always "sophisticated"

          Or completely non-existent.

    3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: It is always "sophisticated"

      It's true. It's always a sophisticated attack from outside attackers. They'd never admit to some techy (by "techy", I mean the person in the office who has responsibility for maintaining the technology, which is not necessarily someone actually qualified for that job) being given rights way above their paygrade/knowledge level and accidentally clicking on the link in a dodgy email..

  2. Alan J. Wylie

    I knew before I followed the link that what the first comment would say!

  3. Steve Button Silver badge

    "Tech contractors" ?

    Actually, if they were "Tech contractors" they would not be working through an umbrella. They are payrolled employees working through an intermediary.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: "Tech contractors" ?

      The smoke and mirrors of a contingent worker being employed through an umbrella company. All the risks and disadvantages, and none of the implied advantages

  4. Uplink


    I'm guessing that their "senior" Laravel "developer" didn't bother himself with junior-level stuff such as "syntax" and "preventing SQL injections", and "concerned themselves with the bigger picture"

    I'm channelling some anecdotes I got from a friend who is conducting hiring interviews and so far has rejected all the "senior" developers that came his way, with one of them saying more or less what I said in the first paragraph.

  5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "We invest heavily in our cloud-based software"


    If they had been on-prem, my guess is that they wouldn't have been so totally helpless.

    But then again, I am biased.

  6. Davegoody

    NOT Surprised

    I had the "pleasure" when a contractor a good few years ago of using these cowboys as my Umbrella company. If their IT team were 1000% more competent than the rest of the company, it would still explain how this occurred. It's a rare situation where a company are really this incompetent. What made it funnier was when they asked me for feedback once I had left. Think they regretted asking. They say the truth hurts.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NOT Surprised

      Sounds familiar. I used them about two decades ago and when I finished contracting they managed to screw up the paperwork. I ended up using another accountant to fix everything.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NOT Surprised

      Nah. Feedback is only ever used if it says something positive and then you will even be quoted on it (usually without anyone asking permission). Negative feedback will never make it past your employment record - the idea that anyone is interested is overly optimistic, and if you think anything would change because of it I'd say you have spectacularly unrealistic expectations of HR template processes.

  7. Lorribot

    I believe tthe word sophisticated is used now days to mean some or all of the following

    A. Their tech guys knew more than the managers of our tech guys as they were put in place due to their advanced manage upwards skill set.

    B. Their tech guys were better funded than our tech guys.

    C. Their tech guys had more tools than our tech guys and more time to deploy them.

    D. They don't have whingy share holders that expect massive profits.

    E. Our C level management really don't understand the subtleties of security and what it really means these days.

  8. Bit Brain

    For anyone with Giant who need to submit timesheets, I just got an email saying the portal is back up. Text verification codes didn't work for me, but email codes did.

    1. Crunchie

      Good to know - thanks!


    Windows anyone?

    Could it by any means be possible that the company employs Windows and further M$-crap? Just thinking.

    Well, to attack such a M$ system would need a very high grade of sophistication ... :-(

  10. Cuddles Silver badge

    Who you gonna call?

    "Giant Group was the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack on September 22nd. International law firm Crowell & Moring immediately"

    Because obviously when your computer system has been hacked, the first thing you do is call in the lawyers. Not only that, but when issuing a press release about your actions, people are clearly going to be most reassured by having the majority of said release waffle about your crack team of lawyers and not actually mention IT at all.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    Umbrella corporation??

    I think I see the problem.

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