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Will Garmin Pay $10m Ransom To End Two-Day Outage?

A photo illustration of US 100 dollar bills...

Garmin’s computer systems are being held to ransom


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Garmin is reportedly being asked to pay a $10 million ransom to free its systems from a cyberattack that has taken down many of its services for two days.

The navigation company was hit by a ransomware attack on Thursday, leaving customers unable to log fitness sessions in Garmin apps and pilots unable to download flight plans for aircraft navigation systems, among other problems. The company’s communication systems have also been taken offline, leaving it unable to respond to disgruntled customers.

Garmin employees have told BleepingComputer that the company was struck down by the WastedLocker ransomware. Screenshots sent to BleepingComputer show long lists of the company’s files encrypted by the malware, with a ransom note attached to each file.

The ransom note tells the recipient to email one of two email addresses to “get a price for your data”. That price, Garmin’s sources have told BleepingComputer, is $10 million.

Crippled Garmin

The ransomware attack has crippled many of the company’s systems. Reports claim that Garmin’s IT department shut down all of the company’s computers, including those of employees working from home who were connected by VPN, to halt the spread of the ransomware across its network.

Garmin’s Taiwan factories have reportedly closed production lines yesterday and today while the company attempts to unpick the ransomware.

The shutdown is having a big effect on Garmin’s customers. DownDetector reveals a huge spike today in people having trouble accessing Garmin Connect, the app that logs fitness routines for the company’s devices. More people are likely to be using such devices at the weekend.

DownDetector graph showing problems with Garmin Connect

DownDetector shows how Garmin customers continue to be affected


DownDetector

The problem is even more serious for Garmin’s aviation device customers. Pilots have told ZDNet that they are unable to download a version of Garmin’s aviation database onto their airplane navigation systems, which is an FAA requirement.

Garmin has issued very little public comment about the problem. On Thursday, the company issued a tweet saying “we are currently experiencing an outage that affects Garmin Connect,” adding that the outage “also affects our call centers and we are currently unable to receive any calls, emails or online chats”.

Garmin has been approached for comment, but as you can appreciate from the statement above, that’s somewhat complicated…

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