Elon Musk warns Starlink system could be targeted in Ukraine amid Russian invasion

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Thursday warned that the company's Starlink satellite broadband service could be targeted in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. 

"Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so [the] probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution," Musk wrote on Twitter. 

Musk advised users to turn on Starlink only when needed and to place the antenna as far away from other people if possible. He also suggested placing light camouflage over the antenna to "avoid visual detection."

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On Saturday, Musk said Starlink was active in Ukraine to alleviate connectivity challenges the country was facing and that more terminals were on the way. 

Musk said Starlink was active in Ukraine to alleviate connectivity challenges the country was facing.  (Reuters/Michele Tantussi/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

He made the announcement on Twitter in response to an appeal by Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who asked Musk to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations.

Starlink is a network of about 2,000 satellites in low earth orbit that provide high-speed broadband internet by connecting with user terminals on the ground. Ukraine experienced periodic internet outages last week as Russian forces invaded from the north, south, and east, according to internet monitor NetBlocks.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 49 Starlink internet satellites launches from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida — 2022/02/03 (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Russian hackers also conducted cyberattacks against the Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure. Starlink does not rely on traditional ground internet infrastructure, which could potentially make it an ideal service in war zones.

UKRAINE RECEIVES SHIPMENT OF STARLINK TERMINALS LESS THAN 48 HOURS AFTER ELON MUSK PROMISED THEM

On Monday, Ukraine said it received a shipment of donated Starlink satellite internet terminals. Fedorov tweeted a photo of a truckload of the terminals around 10:00 p.m. in Ukraine, confirming that they had arrived. 

However, an internet security researcher warned they could become "beacons" for the Russians. 

ELON MUSK SAYS STARLINK IS ACTIVE IN UKRAINE AMID INTERNET DISRUPTIONS

"If #Putin controls the air above #Ukraine, users' uplink transmissions become beacons… for airstrikes," tweeted John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab project. 

"#Russia has decades of experience hitting people by targeting their satellite communications," Scott-Railton added in a series of additional tweets discussing the risks. 

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Also on Thursday, SpaceX successfully launched 47 Starlink satellites to be added to the space-based broadband internet service. 

A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellites launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:35 a.m. EST.

Fox Business's Paul Best contributed to this report

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