While on the one hand, great things are happening at Garmin with the launch of the new solar-charged watch range, calamity is happening on the other hand.
For over 24 hours now Garmin users have been unable to sync their activities from their watches to their apps. This is due to a notice claiming server maintenance that is supposedly going on. Usually, users know that maintenance will take place but never in my history as a user have I experienced such a long outage.
Forbes has reported that this long-standing “maintenance” is due to a high possibility of ransomware according to anonymous employee reports. They have also reported that this ransomware is attributed to a group of hackers called Evil Corp. Evil Corp is a Russian hacker group that has been targeting various organisations in the U.S for some time. Garmin may be the exact type of company they are interested in for various reasons. They have as a result infected Garmin systems with ransomware called WastedLocker. WastedLocker is highly sophisticated and customized ransomware type that can be designed to fit the intended target. Ransom demands on WastedLocker range anywhere between 500 000 US Dollars to well over 10 000 000 US Dollars. And conveniently, the demand is in the form of BitCoin. This is the insurance of being untraceable.
As much as such high amounts seem ridiculous, many corporations end up paying because the files held at random are very sensitive. These range from customer personal and credit card details to any information that the company has promised to protect along with the company’s back up data. This is cause for alarm but the company is, (in my opinion at this point), working to solve the matter as efficiently as possible. I think they will do their best to protect customer privacy. For now, the call centre is down, online chat is down and many other Garmin services are down. The website is also down with only a button on the screen directing you to the home page but when you click, it just refreshes the screen to a new picture with the same message. We can only wait in hope that this matter will be resolved soon. The watches are still recording data, one can still record their activity but cannot sync in the meanwhile.