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Potential $10 Million Ransomware Payment Could Land Garmin in Hot Water 


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Garmin, a multinational tech company, is the latest high-profile organization to be hit by a ransomware attack. Although the company is working towards getting back at full capacity, it is possible to face even more issues if it obliges the hackers’ request.

Garmin’s Sticky Situation

Garmin’s attack was first reported by Bleeping Computer earlier this week Citing testimony from a company worker, the news source explained that the WastedLocker ransomware had infected Garmin’s network. The ransomware is a signature product of famous malware group REvil, and it has now caused Garmin to lose operational capacity.

The unidentified company told Bleeping Computer that the ransomware had taken down Garmin’s customer support services, navigation solutions, and other aspects. REvil is now asking for a $10 million fine, which should be paid in cryptocurrencies.

Garmin eventually admitted to the issues in an official press release. However, unlike bleeping Computer, it didn’t go into many details. While Garmin could also face some significant legal issues if they make the ransomware payment. The REvil ransomware gang is a part of a larger organization known as Evil Corp. The organization’s leader, a Russian named Maskim Yakubets, is currently a person of interest to United States forces. 

The Department of Justice indicted Yakubets last year. The Russian is also listed on the FBI’s list of Most Wanted men, with a $5 million reward set for his discovery. Yakubets’ reward is currently the highest amount that the investigative body will offer for a cybercriminal.

The FBI listing claims that Yakubets is wanted for his involvement in a malware operation that affected thousands of computers in Europe and North America. These attacks resulted in casualties and financial losses amounting to over $100 million.

REvil’s Growing Influence

American companies are prohibited from doing business with individuals and organizations that the government has sanctioned. So, this wrinkle could cause Garmin to face some significant legal troubles if it pays the ransom to REvil. The law is so explicit that Garmin could still be on the hook if it gets a third-party to pay for it. 

REvil’s influence in the tech space is becoming more evident. The company is arguably the most prolific malware outfit in the world currently, with operations spanning several continents.

However, the company has stepped up its game during the lockdown. In May, the hackers broke into the files of noted New York entertainment law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks and released data on Grammy Award-winning singer Lady Gaga.

The law firm also represents celebrities like Robert DeNiro, Elton John, and Madonna. In a message posted on May 14, they claimed that they had found dirt on U.S. President Donald Trump and would be releasing it if the President’s people didn’t meet their demand for $42 million in crypto. It is unclear whether the Commander-in-Chief obliged their requests, but they’ve not posted anything incriminating yet.

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