Ransomware attack on fitness devices maker Garmin cripples operation

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Usually, Garmin wearables are used by athletes to track crucial data like mileage, location, heart rate, and more.

Garmin acknowledged that it was facing an outage in a series of tweets from its official Twitter handle.

Garmin Connect is a health and fitness tracker.

Garmin websites have shown error messages since Thursday evening. "We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and apologise for this inconvenience".

In a report by The Guardian, the tech company has been forced to shut down its online services, including call centers, customer support via email and chat, and their website. They are left without a way to download the most up-to-date version of Garmin's aviation database, which is an FAA requirement.

However, as ZDNet notes, some Garmin employees on Twitter have said the incident was caused by a ransomware attack, particularly, by a ransomer known as WastedLocker. That has led to fears amid consumers that their personalized information could have been possibly lost or compromised so that hackers could have accessibility to the deeply sensitive data that is stored inside of Garmin's on-line servers.

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According to the announcement, the outage also is affecting Garmin's call centers, and they are are now unable to receive any calls, emails or online chats. At the time of writing, services provided through Garmin Connect were still down, according to the company's status website. Those passionate users are understandably agitated as the company's services have been down for the last day, thanks to a malware attack that may include a so-called ransomware element.

If that is the case, then the attack is likely far more devastating than Garmin initially reported.

"You just don't know when the bad guys are going to attack and who will be their next victim", Nayyar said.

The failure in service seems to have surfaced due to a new strain of ransomware called WastedLocker that impacted the IT infrastructure of Garmin. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

Brent Callow, a threat analyst at the security firm Emsisoft, said he had no firsthand knowledge but that it "certainly has all the hallmarks of a ransomware incident". Garmin is now dealing with all of those things.

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