Internet infrastructure

Ukraine gets Starlink internet terminals, friendly warning about safety


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Ukraine gets Starlink internet terminals, friendly warning about safety

STARLINK. Starlink logo is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Ukrainian flag in this illustration taken February 27, 2022.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Researcher warns that users' satellite transmissions could be used as a beacon for Russian airstrikes

Ukraine on Monday said it had received donated Starlink satellite internet terminals from SpaceX, but an internet security researcher warned these could become Russian targets.

“Starlink – here. Thanks, @elonmusk,” Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted, days after asking SpaceX’s billionaire chief executive officer Elon Musk for help. Fedorov’s tweet included a picture of the back of a military-looking truck, loaded with terminals.

Musk tweeted back, “You are most welcome”.

The terminals look like home satellite television dishes and can provide relatively fast internet service, by residential standards, by connecting to a fleet of satellites in low orbit.

But John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab project, took to Twitter to warn the terminals could become Russian targets.

“Re: @elonmusk’s starlink donation. Good to see. But remember: if #Putin controls the air above #Ukraine, users’ uplink transmissions become beacons … for airstrikes,” he tweeted.

“#Russia has decades of experience hitting people by targeting their satellite communications,” he added in a series of 15 tweets detailing the risks.

Musk said on Saturday that Starlink is available in Ukraine and SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country, whose internet has been disrupted due to the Russian invasion.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. –

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