Garmin Hit by Major Outage in Potential Ransomware Attack

Few things are more devastating to self-quantifying fitness nerds than not getting credit for that run, bike, or walk — but that’s exactly what’s happening to owners of Garmin wearables. Since yesterday, Garmin’s website, app, and call centres have been offline due to a major outage that may have been caused by ransomware.

The outage was first reported by ZDNet, which noted that Garmin is planning to run maintenance over the issue over multiple days. The company shared a statement both on its Twitter and website, which said that Garmin is “currently unable to receive any calls, emails, or online chats.” ZDNet also noted that the outage impacted flyGarmin, a web service that pilots use to support Garmin’s aviation navigation devices. Pilots also told ZDNet that they were unable to download Garmin’s aviation database or access the Garmin Pilot app, which helps them to schedule and plan flights.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese outlet iThome leaked an internal Garmin memo that the company’s IT staff sent to its Taiwan-based factories, saying that two days of maintenance would occur from July 24 to July 25. The publication also asserts that Garmin employees were told that their server had been “attacked by a virus” and that it might be a ransomware attack. According to ZDNet, the ransomware in question might be a new strain called WastedLocker. However, without official confirmation, this is more theory than fact. Gizmodo reached out to Garmin to see if they would confirm but didn’t immediately receive a response.

So far it’s not clear whether any personal data was stolen from Garmin’s platforms. Garmin’s smartwatches are known for their in-depth metrics and are popular among serious fitness enthusiasts, particularly runners and cyclists. In addition to heart rate monitoring and activity-tracking, Garmin owners can also track their sleep, periods, and bodily recovery. The watches are also known for accurate GPS, and higher-end models also allow users to access preloaded and offline maps.

Regardless, Twitter is full of dedicated Garmin users upset that they can’t sync their activities to the Garmin Connect app, or upload them to other platforms like Strava. In fact, the outage has led to a noticeable downtick in activity from users who automatically push updates via the Garmin Connect app. While couch potatoes may laugh — after all, Garmin will likely get things up and running again eventually — the pain is real for those who keep themselves motivated via self-quantification. Stay strong, fitness nerds.