SpaceX Starlink Has ‘Resisted All Hacking and Jamming Attempts’ in Ukraine: Elon Musk
Responding to an article from digital news outlet Slashdot outlining Russia’s apparent hacking of thousands of Ukrainian satellite modems that accompanied its invasion of Ukraine, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Friday said Starlink, the company’s satellite internet service, has so far overcome all hacking and jamming attempts in Ukraine.
California-based Viasat, a rival satellite broadband company, reported “a cyber event” on day one of the Russian invasion that jammed communications between its satellites and thousands of user modems in Ukraine and other parts of Europe.
“The terminal management network … that manages the KA-SAT network, and manages other Eutelsat networks—that network was penetrated,” said one Viasat official. “And from there, the hackers were able to launch an attack against the terminals using the normal function of the management plane of the network.”
“Starlink, at least so far, has resisted all hacking & jamming attempts,” said Musk on Twitter.
Starlink, at least so far, has resisted all hacking & jamming attempts
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
Starlink is a high-speed broadband service from SpaceX that connects to a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) and is designed to provide affordable internet at viable speeds anywhere and everywhere across the globe. As of February, Starlink has surpassed 250,000 user terminals across the globe.
SpaceX enabled Starlink service in Ukraine shortly after Russia began its invasion of the country late last month. There are currently more than 5,000 active Starlink terminals in Ukraine.
Musk revealed earlier this month that Starlink terminals in “conflict areas” were actively being jammed, but the service was able to overcome the attempts. Musk even “reprioritized” SpaceX to cyber defense and overcoming signal jamming, causing slight delays in Starship and Starlink V2.
In a way, this is free QA haha
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2022
SpaceX is sending regular shipments of Starlink user terminals to the country to help maintain communications and administrative/emergency infrastructure, with the latest batch arriving last week.
Recently shared Starlink speed tests from Ukraine detailed download speeds of over 200 Mbps. That’s enough for the government and citizens to stay online, coordinate emergency efforts, and maintain communications with the world.
— Oleg Kutkov 🇺🇦 (@olegkutkov) March 5, 2022
Musk previously advised Ukrainians to be careful when using Starlink. The SpaceX CEO said Starlink is “the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine,” which makes it a likely target for Russian forces.