Garmin’s four-day service meltdown was caused by ransomware

Garmin logo on an dark wall.

Enlarge (credit: Ian Usher / Flickr)

GPS device and services provider Garmin on Monday confirmed that the worldwide outage that took down the vast majority of its offerings for five days was caused by a ransomware attack.

“Garmin Ltd. was the victim of a cyber attack that encrypted some of our systems on July 23, 2020,” the company wrote in a Monday morning post. “As a result, many of our online services were interrupted including website functions, customer support, customer facing applications, and company communications. We immediately began to assess the nature of the attack and started remediation.” The company said it didn’t believe personal information of users was taken.

Garmin’s woes began late Wednesday or early Thursday morning as customers reported being unable to use a variety of services. Later on Thursday, the company said it was experiencing an outage of Garmin Connect, FlyGarmin, customer support centers, and other services. The service failure left millions of customers unable to connect their smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other devices to servers that provided location-based data required to make them work. Monday’s post was the first time the company provided a cause of the worldwide outage.

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