Garmin $10 Million Ransomware Attack: What Does It Mean To Pilots?

There’s good news behind the scary story of the unprecedented cyber attack.

Garmin Ransomware Attack
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Earlier today, a Garmin International media representative filled Plane & Pilot in on the aviation data provider’s efforts to get its aviation products back up and running after its online presence was shut down by a ransomware attack that blocked access to the company to computer files across its business lines. The company today issued this release that officially announced the attack, say that “it 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.” 

The good news is that FlyGarmin.com, which is the consumer portal for data updates, is now operational, as is the Garmin Pilot suite of utilities. Pilots can now file flight plans through the app, the Garmin representative told Plane & Pilot. Also, Garmin reported that it had “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.”

The backstory is disturbing. On Thursday, Garmin servers were shut down by a ransomware attack launched by Wasted Locker, a criminal enterprise that tech websites are reporting is associated with Russia. Some financial outlets were quick to blame Garmin for a slow response, but one aviation industry analyst with whom we spoke said that the response has been surprisingly fast, “considering the breadth of several different lines of high-tech business that Garmin has in its portfolio.” 

Regardless, the news comes at a bad time for the company, as it hosts a Q2 earnings call on Wednesday morning, though it anticipates that the attack will be a financial hit, saying in the release, “We do not expect any material impact to our operations or financial results because of this outage.” The statement seemed to indicate that the company did not pay the ransom, though it has not directly confirmed that. 

Check back with Plane & Pilot with expected updates to the story.

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