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Garmin cyber attack ‘horrifying’

The Garmin ransomware attack has been described as horrifying because user's data was put at risk. Photo: Garmin

Tech giant Garmin has confirmed it was the victim of a cyber-attack last week.

The attack – which caused a multi-day service outage beginning July 23 – disabled the company’s app, website and other services. 

In a statement released on its website, Garmin said there is no indication that any customer data was accessed, lost or stolen.

“Additionally, the functionality of Garmin products was not affected, other than the ability to access online services. Affected systems are being restored and we expect to return to normal operation over the next few days,” Garmin said.

“As our affected systems are restored, we expect some delays as the backlog of information is being processed.”

In a story titled, The Garmin Ransomeware Hack is Horrifying, Vice tech writer Kevin Truong said the attack should worry anyone who uses a smartwatch or other wearable. 

Truong quotes Citizen Lab researcher John Scott-Railton who explained Garmin represents a repository of detailed personal information.

“You turn on your thing when you leave your residence, and you turn it off when you get home. Sometimes, you take a jog in the middle of the day and you’re trying to collect steps at work,” he said.

“These are all things that speak of who you are and what you do and where you live, and can all be quickly turned into identifying information.”

Cybersecurity news website BleepingComputer claims Russian cybercriminals Evil Corp were responsible although this hasn’t been confirmed. Gear Junkie claimed the company was ransomed for $10million, which may or may not have been paid. 

Golden Bay wetland bought by residents

A group of Golden Bay residents has purchased a block of coastal wetland for restoration.

Heather Wallace, Rick Cosslett and Victoria Davis, with support from Bill Adams and private donors, bought the 7ha of wetland in the Parapara Inlet, and have gifted it to the Native Forest Restoration Trust for future protection.

Wallace told Stuff the wetlands are an important habitat for endangered plants and animals.

“For 35 years, I have always admired this view from the causeway, with its wading bird population against the native vegetation background,” she said.

“This gift to the community I call home is my gratitude for the good fortune I have had to live in this amazing place.”

Royal chick in need of a name

A toroa/northern royal albatross made famous via live stream is in need of a name before she takes flight.

Since hatching in January at Otago’s Pukekura/Taiaroa Head, the albatross has had more than 1.6 million views – many of which were during the lockdown, RNZ reports.

DOC is running a competition this week to name the bird before she fledges in September and migrates to feed near South America. 

The live stream has not been without its dramas – the bird’s father went missing for over a month, before returning injured to resume feeding the chick.

The competition closes on August 2, and a shortlist of five names will go to a public vote on August 19.

Including the public in naming decisions hasn’t always been a successful venture – in 2016, the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council held a public poll to name a polar research vessel.

The winning name? Boaty McBoatface. 

Adventure wheelchair developed in the USA

A rugged new wheelchair has been designed to make the outdoors more accessible. 

The AdvenChair 2.0, designed by Oregon inventor and wheelchair user Geoff Babb, combines mountain bike and bi-ski technology to help the user navigate rough terrain, Outside Online reports

With disk brakes, shocks, and an aluminium frame, the wheelchair is “the whole enchilada,” Babb said.

“We believe that everyone, regardless of physical ability, should have the opportunity to visit wild places.

“Instead of needing a landscape that’s been adapted to wheelchairs, people can now have a chair that adapts to the landscape.”