Garmin outage: what's next for Garmin Connect after the ransomware attack? | T3

Garmin outage: what's next for Garmin Connect after the ransomware attack?

With Garmin Connect back online, what does the future hold for the running watch manufacturer?

garmin outage Garmin Connect
(Image credit: Garmin)

The panic is over: Garmin Connect is back online and most subsystems are working properly too, after some of them going offline at the end of last week. And although it's great to have our Forerunner and Fenix watches working properly again, it would be great to know what exactly happened during the 'Garmin outage' event and how will Garmin ensure this won't happen in the future.

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We can only assume the major shareholders of Garmin must know more than us regular people as the share prices are pretty much where they were before 23 July, after the dip in interest during the first few days of the alleged attack. Despite what Bleeping Computer says, the site that originally reported on the alleged ransomware attack, until Garmin actually puts out a statement saying "our systems have been hijacked by Russian hackers", we can only speculate what really went on and how the issue was resolved eventually.

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Truth to be told, the combination of secrecy and recovery was probably the best thing Garmin could do to avoid panic and make sure people won't abandon their Garmin running watches after hearing the bad news. That said, now that the issue has been resolved, Garmin should to do at least these three things:

  1. Release a statement with an overview of what have happened during the outage
  2. Give Garmin users proof that their data has not been affected
  3. Outline a plan to avoid similar events to happen in the future

Given the size of the company and its reputation, we are sure all this information will be released eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later. 

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Garmin outage Garmin Connect

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin outage: what happened?

As relieved as we all are, we can't help but wonder: did Garmin pay the $10 million ransom, as requested by the 'Evil Corp', or have the developers found a way to eliminate the threat somehow without paying the money? The Times suggests "Garmin must have paid a large ransom to recover computer files stolen by hackers", but until any official communication is received from Garmin, we can't be sure.

How much the outage has actually affected Garmin we might never know, although it is clear that the issue had a broader effect on the company's broader ecosystem, including the aviation services, such as flight planning and mapping, Wired writes.

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The Garmin outage has been a hot topic two weeks ago in running and cycling circles but not long after the rumours started circulating, Garmin announced on Twitter that "many of the systems and services affected by the recent outage, including Garmin Connect, are returning to operation".

However, at the time, the company also added that "some features still have temporary limitations while all of the data is being processed".

The ransomware attack on Garmin thought to be the work of 'Evil Corp', a group of Russian hackers who allegedly mainly targets US corporations, The Guardian reports. Garmin services started to go offline Thursday 23 July 2020 and many of the most popular services, including Garmin Connect and most of the Strava integrations, were unavailable to users over the weekend period.

• Check out Garmin's 'Outage FAQ'

As reported by The Independent on the morning of 27 July 2020, Garmin Connect was supposedly coming back to life, although at that point most users still reported issues with Garmin Connect. The website and the Garmin webshop was available, however.

Garmin issued a few statements on Twitter, stating the outage also affected its call centers and that they were unable to receive any calls, emails and also couldn't fire up online chats either, making a lot of Garmin watch users rather anxious.

In case you are worried about your personal information being leaked due to the attack, on its FAQ page, Garmin reassured users that there has been "no indication that this outage has affected [the users] data, including activity, payment or other personal information." That is not the same as saying ‘your data definitely hasn’t been stolen,’ but it’s a lot better than nothing. But never mind that, what about your run and cycle data? Is it lost forever?

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Garmin outage: Garmin Connect status

The following services and features are online:

  • Garmin Dive
  • Connect IQ
  • LiveTrack
  • Garmin Golf
  • vivofit Jr.
  • Garmin Express
  • Activity Details & Uploads
  • Courses
  • Dashboard
  • Garmin Coach
  • Device Registration
  • Incident Detection & Assistance
  • Reports
  • Segments
  • Workouts

The following services and features are online but might have limited functionality:

  • Challenges and connections (challenges can be created and viewed but leaderboard stats may be delayed)
  • Daily summary (daily summary is viewable but some data may be delayed)
  • Third party sync (activity syncing may be delayed)
  • Wellness sync (sync is working but data processing may be delayed)

Garmin outage: Strava

Strava services are back online, including:

  • Strava Beacon
  • Segments
  • Routes
  • Uploaded Activities

Garmin Instinct Solar

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin outage: are your workouts safe?

As many people also pointed out, workouts can be directly uploaded to Strava using a USB cable but we wonder how many people actually went through the hassle of manually uploading their workouts this way when they could have just waited five days for the issue to be resolved.

Despite the fact you can't upload data to Garmin Connect, most Garmin watches have the ability to store training data on the device so you can still log exercises and sync them with Garmin Connect once you can.

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, for example, has 32GB of internal memory, plenty of space to store hundreds of workouts. Cheaper Garmin watches have way less, of course, so maybe don’t try for any personal bests until this gets fixed.

Garmin Connect is still down

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin outage: what is Garmin saying?

The Garmin Outage has been going on since last Thursday when initially users noticed that certain Garmin online services are unavailable (making my life harder too as I was halfway through writing up my Garmin Instinct Solar review). Since then, Garmin issued the following statement on its Garmin outage FAQ page:

"Garmin Ltd. was the victim of a cyber attack that encrypted some of our systems on July 23, 2020. 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.

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We have no indication that any customer data, including payment information from Garmin Pay, was accessed, lost or stolen. Additionally, the functionality of Garmin products was not affected, other than the ability to access online services. Affected systems are being restored and we expect to return to normal operation over the next few days.

As our affected systems are restored, we expect some delays as the backlog of information is being processed. We are grateful for our customers’ patience and understanding during this incident and look forward to continuing to provide the exceptional customer service and support that has been our hallmark and tradition."

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