Garmin Outage Increases Fear of Assault by Ransomware


Smartwatch and electronics company Garmin’s computer networks were offline Friday in an incident that raised concerns about a ransomware attack that impacted both its aviation and fitness app services.

The business said its website and Garmin Connect fitness app on Twitter had been offline from Thursday. It said the website “flyGarmin” used for aviation databases was down, too.

Garmin offered no explanation for the outage, but security analysts said ransomware, a tactic used by hackers to encrypt data and extort funds, could be a likely reason.

“We are experiencing an outage currently affecting Garmin Link,” the firm tweeted.

Garmin Aviation, which provides cockpit navigation and communications services, said its “flyGarmin” website and smartphone app were down on its Facebook page.

“We ‘re working on addressing this issue as quickly as possible and apologizing for this inconvenience,” said the company.

Brent Callow, a threat analyst at security firm Emsisoft, said he had no first-hand knowledge but that he “surely has all the hallmarks of an incident involving ransomware.”

“Seriously, there is no other occurrence that would likely cause such widespread disruption and cause a company to shut down anything from its online services to its production line immediately,” Callow said.

The security news website Bleeping Computer confirmed that the WastedLocker ransomware targeted Garmin, a source familiar with the incident.

Some reports linked the malware to a group of Russian cybercriminals known as Evil Corp.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.