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Elon Musk says Russiα is ramping up cyberαttαcks on sᴘᴀᴄᴇX’s Starlink systems in Ukrαine

sᴘᴀᴄᴇX has been trying to help Ukrαine stay online amid the ongoing ɪɴᴠᴀsɪᴏɴ, which began Feb. 24. sᴘᴀᴄᴇX’s Starlink internet communications systems in Ukrαine are experiencing increasing cyberαttαck from Russiα, the company’s founder Elon Musk said this week.

 

sᴘᴀᴄᴇX, with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has sent at least 5,000 Starlink terminals to the country, whose cities have been besieged by Russiαn forces since February.

But Musk says it’s been a difficult environment. “Starlink has resisted Russiαn cyberwαr jamming & hacking attempts so far, but they’re ramping up their efforts,” he wrote on Twitter Tuesday (May 10).

According to a Reuters report, which Musk also shared, a coalition of countries have said that Russiα backed a cyberαttαck against satellite internet systems that ultimately pulled tens of thousands of modems offline shortly after Russiα ɪɴᴠᴀᴅᴇᴅ Ukrαine Feb. 24.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the αttαck against Viasat’s KA-SAT network  was “deliberate and malicious,” Reuters stated, and the Council of the European Union said the hack caused “indiscriminate communication outages” in Ukrαine and several member states. The αttαcks were confirmed by the United States, Canada and Estonia, Reuters added.

“After those modems were knocked offline, it wasn’t like you unplug them and plug them back in and reboot and they come back,” the U.S. National Security Agency’s Director of Cybersecurity Rob Joyce told Reuters. “They were ᴅᴏᴡɴ and ᴅᴏᴡɴ hard; they had to go back to the factory to be swapped out.”

Reuters added that while the full impact of KA-SAT’s outage has not been disclosed, the entity does provide connectivity to Ukrαiniαn military and police units. This may imply an operational impact for first responders. As for Starlink, USAID said in April that sᴘᴀᴄᴇX’s terminals will provide Ukrαine with “unlimited, unthrottled data connectivity,” even if fiber optic or cellular communication infrastructure connections are severed.

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sᴘᴀᴄᴇ reporter Joey Roulette of Reuters tweeted that most of the 5,000 terminals and associated Internet service — 3,667, to be exact — were donated directly by sᴘᴀᴄᴇX at a cost of “roughly $10 million.” USAID purchased the remaining 1,333 terminals.