How Elon Musk’s Starlink is fighting Putin in Ukraine
- A Russian cyberattack put Ukraine out of the world wide web
- The cyberattack took place on the heels of the Russian invasion
- Elon Musk’s Starlink has been able to resist the attacks
Elon Musk’s Starlink is battling an onslaught of Russian hacking attempts in Ukraine, but according to Musk, the Russians are doubling down. “Starlink has resisted Russian cyberwar jamming & hacking attempts so far, but they are ramping up their efforts,” Musk tweeted Wednesday. Musk’s tweet comes after the United States, Britain, Canada, Estonia and the United Kingdom confirmed the cyberattack on Tuesday.
Russia attacked Viasat’s (VSAT.O) KA-SAT network later February just as Moscow troops moved into Ukraine. According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the attack was meant to “disrupt Ukrainian command and control during the invasion, and those actions had spillover impacts into other European countries.”
The attack, according to the US, was massive, because when “those modems were knocked offline it wasn’t like you could unplug them and plug them back in and reboot and they come back.” “They were down and down hard; they had to go to the factory to be swapped out,” US National Security Agency’s director of cybersecurity told Reuters.
According to Ukrainian government documents reviewed by Reuters, the satellite network under attack was used by the Ukrainian army and police units. In March, Ukrainian cybersecurity official Victor Zhora had said that the satellite modem “sabotage” led to a huge loss of communications in the very beginning of the war.
Viasat, the satellite company, issued a statement “recognising” the announcement and said it will work with government officials to investigate the attack.
While Viasat faced a gruesome attack, Musk’s Starlink stood its ground. In March, Musk provided thousands of internet terminals to Ukraine. The antennae-like terminals catch the internet from Musk’s satellites in space.
These internet terminals were successfully able to thwart the Russian attack. US’ director of electronic warfare at the office of the Secretary of Defense, said the way Starlink had fought off the attacks was “eye-watering for him”.
Musk’s Starlink has found wide use in the Ukraine army. Ukrainian troops have destroyed Russian tanks and used the network for drone attacks.