‘High’ Probability of Russian Attacks On Starlink In Ukraine, Says Musk

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk yesterday warned that Starlink user terminals in Ukraine could be targeted by Russia and advised users to take precautions. Ars Technica reports: “Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution,” Musk tweeted. When asked for specific advice, Musk said people in Ukraine should turn Starlink on only when it’s needed, place the antenna “as far away from people as possible,” and “place light camouflage over [the] antenna to avoid visual detection.” A thin layer of spray paint would work if there are no metal particles in the paint, he wrote. One Twitter user asked Musk if Starlink could face a cyberattack from Russia similar to the one that affected Viasat satellite service. Musk responded, “Almost all Viasat Ukraine user terminals were rendered permanently unusable by a Russian cyberattack on day of invasion, so… yes.”

As previously reported, Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov asked Musk to activate Starlink in Ukraine shortly after Russia’s invasion of the country disrupted Internet service. Musk responded in the affirmative, and two days later, Fedorov tweeted a photo of a truck full of newly arrived Starlink terminals. It’s not clear exactly how many Starlink terminals are available in Ukraine, but Fedorov tweeted to Musk, “We will keep you posted as we roll out more Starlinks across the country.”

In another tweet, he said, “SpaceX reprioritized to cyber defense and overcoming signal jamming. Will cause slight delays in Starship and Starlink V2.”