With a huff, a meme and a poke, Garmin users just let it go

With the world emerging tentatively from a global shut down, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, amateur athletes reacted with a refreshing sense of optimism after their smart watches stopped working for four days.

Garmin reacted quickly to the crash last week, admitting it was dealing with an outage which affected its syncing system and its mobile app.

This was followed two days later with a desperate apology from the multinational technology company, as it continued its battle to restore its services to its millions of customers around the globe.

On Monday, however, there were visible signs of relief from the multinational corporation.

“We are happy to report that many of the systems and services affected by the recent outage… are returning to operation,” Garmin said, admitting it might take a few days before its services were fully operational.

Already left to train alone under government lockdown regulations, with mass participation races indefinitely suspended, South African users at first showed frustration, flocking to social media to confirm they were not alone. Their personal devices were not broken.

Seemingly accepting the situation, however, they soon opted to display a collective sense of humour.

“If a Garmin server falls over in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does your run still count?” asked one meme doing the rounds on Facebook.

The collective response? No, if it’s not recorded on a smart watch, it doesn’t count.

Garmin explained the battle it had faced after falling victim to what it described as a “cyber attack”, with reports blaming a ransomware viral assault after hackers allegedly demanded a $10 million (R165
million) ransom to release their grip on the company’s virtual system.

With the crash apparently affecting its status on the stock market, as well as disrupting important devices including the navigation systems used in some aeroplanes, Garmin tried its best to alleviate concerns expressed by its customers in the wake of the temporary collapse.

“We have no indication that any customer data… was accessed, lost or stolen,” the company said.

“Additionally, the functionality of Garmin products was not affected, other than the ability to access online services.”

Despite their obvious frustration, those who utilise the smart devices were seemingly willing to let it go. But not without a witty snap and a poke.

“How did the Garmin hacker escape? He just ransomware.”

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