SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has warned users in Ukraine who have received one of the company’s Starlink terminals that their connection could be targeted by Russian airforces as they continue their attacks on the country’s communication infrastructure.
“Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high,” Musk tweeted on Thursday.
“Please use with caution,” he added.
Musk also said that if people want to use Starlink, they should turn it on only when needed and place it as far away from other individuals so no one can detect their usage. He also suggested covering up any antenna that’s being used to connect to SpaceX’s satellite-based internet service with light camouflage in order not to attract attention or detection.
Musk’s warning, and as Reuters reports, came shortly after John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab project, warned that devices used for satellite communications can be dangerous in wartime.
Re: @elonmusk's starlink donation.
Good to see.
Some background 1/ pic.twitter.com/0p6J87TtUF
— John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) February 27, 2022
Nicholas Weaver, another security expert and a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, told CNN via email that while “it isn’t necessarily easy…if an adversary has a specialized plane aloft, it can detect [a satellite] signal and home in on it.”
There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding how many Starlink terminals SpaceX sent to Ukraine following a plea from Mykhailo Fedorov, who serves as the country’s Minister of Digital Transformation, and what the government plans on doing with them.
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