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Alleged ransomware attack behind Garmin services outage

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Alleged ransomware attack behind Garmin services outage 3

If you went out running or cycling yesterday and then tried to sync your Garmin device to better analyse the data, you would’ve noticed that the company and its services were down due to maintenance. However, a new report in ZDNet has revealed that it is more than just unplanned maintenance that has caused the latest Garmin downtime, but rather a bigger ransomware attack that caused them to shut down several of its services on July 23. This resulted in Garmin scheduling multiple days of maintenance to rectify some of the security issues which includes shutting down its official website, the Garmin Connect user data-syncing service, Garmin’s aviation database services, and even some production lines in Asia.

It’s not just its website and digital platforms that have been affected, as the company revealed that their call centre has also been affected and that they’re unable to take requests from clients about the matter either. FlyGarmin, which is used by pilots to track flight data, was also down and raised an obvious concern for pilots that value the information these services provide. Besides home consumer-grade wearables, sportswear, and smartwatches, Garmin also provides mapping and tracking solutions/equipment for the automotive and maritime industry.

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The company has not announced anything officially, though the report does reveal Garmin employees were seen speaking online and attributed the incident to a new strain of ransomware that appeared earlier this year, called WastedLocker. Additionally, a iThome, a Taiwanese tech news dedicated to IT topics and smart devices, shared an internal memo that Garmin’s IT staff sent its Taiwan factories, announcing two days of maintenance mode planned for Friday and Saturday, July 24 and July 25, tohugh in this memo it refers to the impromptu maintenance as the result of a virus.

It’s not clear if this attack has impact any of the customer data that Garmin had nor exactly how they were able to tap into Garmin’s systems. The company will probably reveal more information over time, but it is a concern that we know so little about the incident and yet the potential for loss of customer data and payment information exists and their silence hasn’t done much to ease concerns over the issue.

Hopefully, we will hear more from Garmin in the near future. Following the recent hack on Twitter though, there are fears that big tech companies may be getting targeted more heavily than before and the focus on security is going to increase even more following this. If you are an avid sportsman and want to track your workout data though Strava is still available and can sync with your Garmin in the meantime.

Last Updated: July 24, 2020

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