Ransomware Attack

In July of 2020, hackers hit the navigation and fitness titan Garmin with a major ransomware attack that took down numerous services across the company, including wearables. Garmin Connect, the platform that syncs user activity data, went black, as did parts of Garmin.com. But as athletes and workers in the healthcare industry found themselves unable to record runs or access patient info, pilots who use Garmin products for positioning and timing in airplanes were also dealing with these setbacks.

This attack, which caused the company to dole out $10 million in ransomware fees, is part of a string of complex cyberattacks in 2020 from hackers taking advantage of the company’s connectivity. In healthcare, COVID-19 has opened the door to malicious cyberattacks on the industry, especially with wearables like Garmin becoming increasingly popular. 

Garmin also saw its corporate email systems and customer call centers disrupted by the assault this summer, and reports indicated that Garmin’s Active Captain maritime app for ships also suffered outages. The incident underscores the growing threat that ransomware attacks continue to pose across a wide range of industries.

Where We Stand Today

The global wearable healthcare devices market size will reach $46.6 billion by 2025, up from $18.4 this year. This means that the industry that’s already rife with insecurities will see more of these problems with cyberattacks down the road as it grows.

Ransomware attacks have increasingly targeted critical infrastructure and industrial control systems, from oil refineries to hospitals. Sometimes these attacks use ransomware as a distraction. More often, the attackers are criminals looking to take advantage of victims who have the most to lose when their systems are hobbled, making them more likely to pay to restore them.

The attack on Garmin and others like it exposes organizations that don’t have any backup systems. That can affect use confidence, patient confidence, and investor confidence depending on how robust a recovery plan is. 

In the case of Garmin, various reports show a relatively new strain of ransomware associated with a Russian criminal group hit the company. Garmin’s services and databases that were affected, including aviation and healthcare wearables, were restored and updated. But as the incident comes closer to a resolution, it shows how quickly ransomware can wreak havoc on well-oiled systems that depend on technology to operate.

About Highland Risk


At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.