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Russia ramping up cyber attacks against Starlink: Musk

New Delhi, May 11, 2022- Russia is ramping up their efforts to jam Starlink internet service in Ukraine, SpaceX chief Elon Musk said on Wednesday.

He noted that Starlink has so far thwarted all cyberattacks coming from Russia.

Following the Russian invasion on February 24, Ukraine’s fibre optic or cellular communication infrastructure connections were severed. SpaceX, along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) delivered about 5,000 starlink terminals to the war-torn country.

“Starlink has resisted Russian cyberwar jamming & hacking attempts so far,” Musk said in a tweet, sharing a media report which revealed that Russia has hacked satellites of communications company Viasat.

The billionaire added that Russia is “ramping up their efforts” against Starlink.

Musk had, in early March, noted that Starlink signals have been jammed by Russia, but his company is adapting.

“Some Starlink terminals near conflict areas were being jammed for several hours at a time,” Musk wrote on Twitter.

“Our latest software update bypasses the jamming.”

In April, the US accused Russia of interfering with the global positioning system (GPS) satellites, used for navigation, mapping and other purposes, in Ukraine amid the ongoing war between the two countries.

Now, the UK, US and European Union have blamed Russia for the cyberattack on Viasat that hit civilian internet users in Ukraine and central Europe, and called it “unacceptable”.

The Viasat attack, which came an hour before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was aimed at the Ukrainian military but hit civilian internet users.

“The EU and its member states, together with its international partners, strongly condemn the malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which targeted the satellite KA-SAT network, operated by Viasat,” the EU said in a statement.

“The cyberattack took place one hour before Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 thus facilitating the military aggression.”

The EU also called cyberattack “another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace”, adding that the bloc is “considering further steps to prevent, discourage, deter and respond to such malicious behaviour”.

Prior to the invasion, Ukrainian government websites in January suffered from Whispergate destructive malwares.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said that Russian military intelligence was “almost certainly” behind it.

In addition, the US has also observed Russian military cyber operators deploying wiper malware, including WhisperGate, on the Ukrainian government and private sector networks, TechCrunch reported.  (Agency)

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