SpaceX delivered thousands of Starlink user terminals to Ukraine after the country’s Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov asked SpaceX founder Elon Musk for a reliable communications system to assist with keeping civilians safe. It has been 77 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, they have caused severe destruction of critical infrastructures across the country. One of Russia’s war tactics is to destroy communication’s systems to prevent Ukrainian forces from coordinating defense operations.
The Russians have tried to inhibit Starlink’s ability to operate reliably in Ukraine. On Wednesday, May 10, Musk shared that the SpaceX Starlink cyber defense team continues to do a good job protecting the satellite broadband network. "Starlink has resisted Russian cyberwar jamming & hacking attempts so far, but they’re ramping up their efforts," announced Musk via Twitter. He also shared a Reuters news story about Russia's cyber warfare against multiple internet systems. The report states Russia performed a massive cyberattack against Viasat, a satellite internet network. The attack caused 'tens of thousands' of Viasat terminals to go offline in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Estonia. [Report is linked below.]
Starlink has resisted Russian cyberwar jamming & hacking attempts so far, but they’re ramping up their efforts https://t.co/w62yCsDA5w— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2022
Musk has not provided specific details about how SpaceX Starlink cyber defense tactics; He previously shared that engineers introduced software updates to the user terminals that enabled the Starlink network to resist “all hacking and jamming attempts” in Ukraine amidst the war.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is impressed by the SpaceX Starlink team’s ability to beat Russia signal-jamming in Ukraine and aims to have that ability. On April 20, DoD members participated at the C4ISRNET military conference where they said SpaceX is doing a 'fantastic' job at protecting the Starlink network. "[...] In kind of the way Starlink was able to upgrade when a threat showed up, we need to be able to have that agility," said Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare for the Pentagon’s acquisition office. "There’s a really interesting case study to look at the agility that Starlink had in their ability to address that problem," he added. "And inevitably, what was the impact if they couldn’t address the problem?"
“From an EW [Electronic Warfare] technologist perspective, that is fantastic. That paradigm and how they did that is kind of eye-watering to me,” said Temper, “The way that Starlink was able to upgrade when a threat showed up, we need to be able to have that ability. We have to be able to change our electromagnetic posture, to be able to change very dynamically what we’re trying to do without losing capability along the way,” he said at the C4ISRNET military conference last month.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX