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Security & privacy

Popular smartwatch brand hit by suspected ransomware attack

These days, it really seems like no company is truly safe from cyberattacks. Thanks to a huge spike in online activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers are working tirelessly to compromise platforms and gain access to the precious data they contain.

These attacks are affecting companies large and small around the world, and they appear to be increasing in frequency. Just recently, even Twitter suffered an unprecedented site-wide cyberattack that affected some of its most famous users. Tap or click here for more details on the massive Twitter hack of July 2020.

And now, it appears that gadget-makers aren’t even safe from the onslaught of hacks. One of the most popular smartwatch manufacturers has been hit with what appears to be a ransomware attack, and all of the services users depend on have become unavailable. Here’s what we know, and what you can expect as the attack drags on.

Garmin hit with enormous ransomware attack

According to ZDNet, smartwatch developer Garmin is in the midst of a ransomware attack that has toppled its proprietary Connect app, website and all of its call centers at once. This means owners of Garmin smartwatches will not be able to sync their watches or use internet-connected services until the issue is resolved.

Garmin officially acknowledged the outage on its website but stopped short of confirming a cyberattack as the cause. But a number of Garmin employees took to Twitter to point the finger at a ransomware incident.

Based on additional statements on social media, such as posts on Garmin’s official Twitter account, it appears that the company is attempting to downplay the incident as much as possible.

While this might make for good PR, it underscores the severity of the issue and leaves customers in the dark as to whether or not they’re at risk for any side-effects caused by the ransomware attack.

This is especially bad considering services outside of Garmin’s watches also appear to be affected. FlyGarmin, a service that helps pilots navigate in the air, also appears to be down as part of the outage.

Pilots rely on this system to be FAA compliant, which may cause additional logistical headaches for those involved in shipping cargo. This is on top of all the pre-existing COVID-19 delays, to boot!

I use a Garmin smartwatch. What should I do?

As of now, Garmin hasn’t provided enough information regarding the full scope of the outage. This means users will likely be waiting until the company pulls the plug, resets everything and takes it back online before its products start working again.

Thankfully, an outage doesn’t necessarily indicate any personal data was stolen or leaked in the attack. That said, we would advise resetting your Garmin passwords as soon as the service is available to prevent any additional risks to your privacy.

Tap or click here to see how to make stronger passwords for your online accounts.

It’s unfortunate that this spike in cybercrime is coinciding with a pandemic, but at this point in time, it seems like it’s all part of the plan. With more people online than ever before, it’s a perfect opportunity to scam, hack and destroy as much online infrastructure as possible if you’re in the hacking game.

Where are all those white-hat hackers when you need them!? Tap or click here to see the difference between “good” and “bad” hackers in cybersecurity.

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