Garmin devices become paperweight after the company suffered cyberattack; hackers demand huge ransom

Garmin devices’ users have reported issues in trying to link them to monitor their physical activity, finding a maintenance notification in both the mobile app and the web interface. According to cybersecurity specialists, the cause of this outage in service is a ransomware attack.

Through Twitter, the company mentioned: “We are experiencing an outage affecting Garmin Connect, so the website and mobile app are down. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible; we apologize for the inconvenience.”

Garmin Connect controls health data, physical activity, and other metrics generated by your devices, primarily smartwatches. The app is also used to receive workouts and sync them with third-party services, such as Strava. The incident prevents users from accessing the latest physical activity logs through the smartphone.

In Taiwan, home to Garmin factories, employees would have been notified of emergency maintenance that will continue until tomorrow. In this regard, Taiwanese website iTHome claims that the company suffered the attack of a virus, although they make no mention of the encryption malware.

A report obtained by ZDNet linked this attack to a group of ransomware operators. It should be remembered that this is an attack variant that blocks infected files to demand ransom from victims, which must be paid in cryptocurrency. One of the most widespread ransomware infections occurred in 2017, when WannaCry malware infected millions of devices in more than 150 countries.

The company has not commented on the causes of the incident, although the problem began to be reported from Thursday morning; regarding the malware variant used in the attack, cybersecurity experts have linked the attack to WastedLocker.  

The incident also affects Garmin Aviation, the company’s aeronautical technology development division. Apparently, satellite communication for sending voice reports, text, global positioning, among other functions, has shown very low performance over the last two days. The community is still waiting for official confirmation from the company, although due to the characteristics of the incident it is unlikely that it is an internal failure.