Saturday, May 21, 2022

Starlink satellite system might be used by Russia as a beacon for AirStrikes in Ukraine

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Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, warned that the company’s Starlink satellite broadband service could be “targeted” in Ukraine, which has been ravaged by Russian aggression.

The warning comes only days after an internet security researcher cautioned that satellite communications devices might be turned into “beacons” that Russia could use to launch airstrikes. “Important warning: In certain places of Ukraine, Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still operational. Therefore, the chances of being attacked are considerable. Please use caution when using this. “Musk sent out a tweet.

He advised users to “only use Starlink when necessary and keep the antenna as far away from people as feasible,” as well as “apply light camouflage over the antenna to avoid visual detection.”


Responding to a Ukrainian government official tweet asking Musk to help the besieged country with Starlink stations, Musk stated on Saturday that Starlink had been activated in Ukraine and that SpaceX was shipping more terminals to the country. Ukraine announced on Monday that it has received donated Starlink satellite internet terminals, but an internet security analyst warned that Russia might use them.


“…if #Putin controls the air above #Ukraine, users’ uplink transmissions become beacons… for airstrikes,” tweeted John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher with the Citizen Lab project at the University of Toronto.

In a series of 15 tweets explaining the dangers, he continued, “#Russia has decades of experience striking individuals by targeting their satellite communications.” Starlink was congratulated by Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov for “keeping our cities connected and emergency services saving lives!” However, he stated that the country requires generators to keep the Starlink service operational owing to Russian infrastructure strikes.

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Musk responded by saying that SpaceX was updating software to lower peak power consumption so that cigarette lighters in cars could power Starlink. “Mobile roaming enabled,” he explained, “so the phased array antenna can keep signal while on the go.”

According to Tim Farrar, a satellite communications consultant, Starlink antennae, which resemble household satellite television dishes, are not designed to be utilised while in motion, and it was unclear what Musk meant by the tweet.

After negotiations on Thursday, Russia and Ukraine agreed on the need to establish humanitarian corridors and a possible ceasefire surrounding them for fleeing people, marking their first sign of progress on any issue since the invasion, which Moscow refers to as a “special operation.”

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Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.


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