Garmin wearables back online after reported cyberattack

27 Jul 2020576 Views

Garmin's Fenix 6 fitness tracking watch. Image: © Danil Nikonov/Stock.adobe.com

After several days of outages and reports of a ransomware attack, Garmin has restored some online functionality to its wearable fitness trackers.

Since last Thursday (23 July), Garmin fitness wearables and other services have been impacted by an outage that may have been caused by a ransomware attack, according to reports. Now, the company has said that “recovery is underway”.

A number of anonymous Garmin employees told ZDNet and TechCrunch last week that the outage was caused by a ransomware strain called WastedLocker. ZDNet said that it has not been able to verify this claim.

According to TechCrunch, WastedLocker is a new kind of ransomware operated by Russian hacking group Evil Corp. The malware infects computers and locks down files in exchange for ransom.

Security researchers at Malwarebytes recently said that WastedLocker does not appear to have the capability to steal or exfiltrate data before encrypting the victim’s files, meaning that companies with backups could avoid paying the ransom. Companies without backups have faced ransom demands as high as $10m.

Garmin’s response

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Garmin has yet to officially confirm whether or not a cyberattack has occurred. On Thursday, the company said that an outage was affecting its online fitness community Garmin Connect, which syncs user activity to other devices and the cloud, and its associated website and mobile app.

Garmin said that the outage also affected its call centres, leaving the business unable to receive calls, emails or online chats. The incident also brought FlyGarmin, the company’s aviation navigation and route-planning service, offline.

Today (27 July), The Verge confirmed that Garmin’s services have started to come back online following the reported attack. Garmin Connect is now syncing data again, and user activity that was collected since the outage began can now be seen in the Garmin app.

On the company’s system status page, it reported that “Garmin Connect recovery is underway” but a number of its services are still working at limited capacity. Over the weekend, the company said that it has “no indication” that the outage has affected user data, including activity, payment or other personal information.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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