Starlink is a lifeline for many Ukrainians struggling to connect after Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded their country. If he honors the Spacex satellite Internet service, that status also exposes him to attacks from the Kremlin. Strengthening the offensive, as Elon Musk, the well-known SpaceX boss, recently said. According to the latter, if Russia’s attempts to jam or hack the Starlink satellite communications network have so far been thwarted, then the threats are becoming more and more obvious.
The latter was recently interrogated after an attack on satellite operator Viasat, whose responsibility, according to the EU, UK and US, will fall on Moscow. and hacking attempts so far, but they are ramping up their efforts.” A statement that tends to demonstrate the strategic nature that satellite Internet players are now endowed with, confronting them with growing dangers in an extremely tense geopolitical context.
Thus, Starlink is at the forefront of the conflict in Ukraine. After the invasion of the country of the Russian neighbor, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mikhail Fedorov turned to Elon Musk and SpaceX for help. The request was heard by a businessman who was not asked to send Starlink terminals to the country, making the satellite operator a prime target for jamming or hacking attempts.
Threatened by the Kremlin
“Recent public statements from the United States and the European Union note that the Russian military launched cyberattacks on commercial satellite communications to disrupt Ukrainian command and control in February 2022,” the NSA said in a statement on Tuesday. “This cyber activity against Ukraine further highlights the risk to satellite communications, both for espionage and disruption.”
A month before Viasat’s multi-day outage in Europe, the NSA issued recommendations to US government agencies to protect satellite communications, which are often not encrypted in transit. The NSA warned that the virtual separation of satellite networks “cannot be relied upon to provide access control, separation or confidentiality of sensitive information” and recommended the use of VPNs for confidential VSAT communications.
At the beginning of the month, Ukrainian authorities estimated the number of daily active Starlink users in the country at 150,000 people. “This is the most important support for the infrastructure of Ukraine and the restoration of destroyed territories,” Mikhail Fedorov said at the time.