The Garmin Hack Was a Warning

The Garmin Hack Was a Warning

It’s been over a week since hackers crippled Garmin with a ransomware attack, and five days since its services started flickering back to life. The company still hasn’t fully recovered, as syncing issues and delays continue to haunt corners of the Garmin Connect platform. Two things, though, are clear: It could have been worse for Garmin. And it’s only a matter of time before ransomware’s big game hunters strike again.


By this point, the world has seen a few large-scale meltdowns stem from ransomware-style attacks, where hacker groups encrypt sensitive files and shake down the owners for money. In 2017, WannaCry swept the globe before intrepid hacker Marcus Hutchins found and activated its kill switch. That same year, NotPetya caused billions of dollars of damage at multinational corporations like Maersk and Merck, although the ransomware aspect turned out to be a front for a vicious data-wiper. Time appears to have emboldened some hackers, however, as large companies take their place on the list of popular targets, alongside hospitals and local governments.


Recent victims include not just Garmin but Travelex, an international currency exchange company, which ransomware hackers successfully hit on New Year’s Eve last year. Cloud service provider Blackbaud—relatively low-profile, but a $3.1 billion market cap—disclosed that it paid a ransom to prevent customer data from leaking after an attack in May. And those are ..