Garmin is Experiencing a Worldwide Outage that may be a Ransomware Attack.

By: Kyle Frost + Save to a List

We're now entering day five of Garmin's system outage, and insiders report that is due to a file-encrypting malware.

The incident began on Wednesday and has continued unabated for 5 days now. The outage is affecting millions of people using GarminConnect, which synchronizes activity from Garmin devices to the cloud (wreaking havoc on Strava junkies everywhere). It has also affected their aviation and flight-planning software (flyGarmin).

Garmin has been tight-lipped about the outage in recently days, updating their users yesterday with a message that reads:

"We are currently experiencing an outage that affects Garmin.com and Garmin Connect. This outage also affects our call centers, and we are currently unable to receive any calls, emails or online chats. We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and apologize for this inconvenience."

As the outage continues for an extremely long time and rumors begin to mount, Garmin will need to address what is going on in a much more transparent matter soon. Situations like this can erode trust quickly, and will potentially have a significant affect on Garmin's share of the competitive fitness watch market. In the meantime, while not acknowledging an attack, Garmin also said that there is "no indication that this outage has affected your data, including activity, payment or other personal information."


However, sources that have spoken with Forbes and Techcrunch say that the company is dealing with an attack involving the WastedLocker ransomware. Ransomware works by getting access to a private system, encrypting large amounts of company data (essentially "locking" it), and then holding that data for ransom -- in this case it appears the attackers could be asking for $10 million dollars. Upon payment, they would release the encryption key and the data.

This is where it gets complicated. Because of sanctions by the US government agains the hacker group that is responsible for the WasterLocker malware, Garmin may not even be able to legally pay a ransom.

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