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Garmin issues FAQ as ransomware attack enters fourth day

Company says users' personal data is safe; also we look at five historical events which lasted less time than current outage...

The ransomware attack on Garmin which started on Thursday morning is now in its fourth day, with the company issuing a brief statement as well as a list of frequently asked questions that users may have, including reassuring users that their personal data is safe.

As we reported yesterday the orchestrators of the attack are said to be seeking a ransom of $10 million to cease the attack, which has affected services including the fitness tracking service, Garmin Direct.

> Garmin ransomware attackers said to be demanding $10 million with Garmin Connect still down – but there’s a workaround to upload to Strava

Services for pilots, including the flyGarmin flight navigation tool, have also been affected and given their critical nature, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that Garmin will prioritise getting those back online first.

The company, while not confirming that it has been subject specifically to a ransomware attack – instead, it uses the word “outage” –  said: “As a result of the outage, some features and services across these platforms are unavailable to customers.

“Additionally, our product support call centres are affected by the outage and as a result, we are currently unable to receive any calls, emails or online chats.”

It added: “We are working to restore our systems as quickly as possible and apologize for the inconvenience. Additional updates will be provided as they become available.”

It also provided a brief list of answers to frequently asked questions:

Was any Garmin Connect customer data lost during the outage?

Although Garmin Connect is not accessible during the outage, activity and health and wellness data collected from Garmin devices during the outage is stored on the device and will appear in Garmin Connect once the user syncs their device.

I’m an inReach customer. Can I still use SOS and messaging during the outage?

inReach SOS and messaging remain fully functional and are not impacted by the outage. This includes the MapShare website and email reply page. The status for inReach can be found here.

I have a new Garmin product. When will I be able to pair it with Garmin Connect?

We are working as quickly as possible to restore Garmin Connect functionality. The status of Garmin Connect can be found here.

Was my data impacted as a result of the outage?

Garmin has no indication that this outage has affected your data, including activity, payment or other personal information.

Five historical events that lasted less time than the current Garmin outage 

The shortest reign by a monarch

King Louis XIX (Louis-Antoine of France) reigned for just 20 minutes in July 1830 following his father’s abdication before he, too, abdicated.  Guinness World Records says the brevity of his reign is shared by Crown Prince Luis Felipe of Portugal, who died from bullet wounds sustained in the same attack in which his father Dom Carlos was killed in Lisbon in 1908. However, unlike France, Portugal had no automatic law of succession, so he did not accede to the throne before his death.

The Anglo-Zanzibar War

Generally considered the shortest war in history, the 1896 Anglo-Zanzibar War was prompted by the death of Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini with the British opposing Sultan Hamad bin Barghash as his successor. The conflict lasted for between 38 and 45 minutes, depending on sources. It left 500 killed and injured on the Sultan’s side, while one Royal Navy sailor was injured, and resulted in the British candidate Sultan Hamud being installed at the head of a puppet government.

Britney Spears’ first marriage

In 2004, Britney Spears – then aged 22 – married childhood sweetheart Jason Allen Alexander in Las Vegas, but the marriage was annulled just 55 hours later, a petition to the court stating that the pop star “lacked understanding of her actions.”

Lord Bath’s term as Prime Minister

In February 1746, following a series of disagreements with incumbent Prime Minister Henry Pelham, King George II asked Lord Bath to form a government. In the following 48 hours, Lord Bath managed to persuade just one person to serve as a minister under him, so the King reluctantly invited Pelham to return.

The longest tennis match ever

US tennis player John Isner’s first-round men’s singles match against France’s Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010 took up 11 hours 5 minutes of playing time – but it spanned three days, twice being suspended at just after 9pm due to failing light. Isner, having wasted four match points during the marathon fifth set, eventually won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6 and (deep breath) 70-68.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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billymansell | 3 years ago
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"Was any Garmin Connect customer data lost during the outage?

Although Garmin Connect is not accessible during the outage, activity and health and wellness data collected from Garmin devices during the outage is stored on the device and will appear in Garmin Connect once the user syncs their device."

That response doesn't answer their own question. It's not about data is continuing to be collected on a device during the outage but whether historical data previously upload ed has been lost at their end during the outage.

That these FAQs were posted by them on Day 3 of outage and that they can't honestly answer or simply still don't know if customer data has been lost is rather telling.

hawkinspeter replied to billymansell | 3 years ago
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If they've got systems down and data encrypted, then they're not really in much of a position to determine the extent of the breach. However, a ransomware attack isn't likely to be targetting customer data as they're certainly making it known to Garmin that they've been hacked. Data breaches tend to be a bit more subtle in order to continue slurping data.

billymansell replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago

I agree with you.

What many are after is a bit of clarity from Garmin as you've shown, even if no end in sight, but putting out FAQs with non-sensical replies will simply frustrate people further.

Srcw replied to billymansell | 3 years ago

Data is usually backed up to tape, after a period, say a week. So they can probably reload that when they have access to their on prem systems.

I'd expect some problems with that from a user perspective though. In terms of the device having to handle the missing time period.

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