KA-SAT Shutdown Condemned as Russian Attack16th May 2022
In separate press releases, the EU, UK, and U.S. condemned Russian attacks on satellite systems and hacking attacks connected to the invasion of Ukraine on 24th February. In particular, the condemnations focused on the attack that occurred an hour before the Russian offensive against Ukraine. The attacks targeted the KA-SAT network, which is operated by Viasat. The network provides high-speed internet services to clients such as the government of Ukraine.
The Russians were also blamed for hacks on Ukrainian government websites on 13th January, the UK stated in its press release. The U.S. State Department announcement also pointed to ongoing cyber attacks and satellite service disruptions.
The European Council press release specifies that the 24th February attack on KA-SAT not only affected Ukraine, but also disrupted communications for several EU member states.
The statements draw a line under investigations and initial accusations regarding the February and March attacks. On 30th March, Viasat announced that preliminary determinations were that Russia was behind the attacks on its routers.
Attacks on KA-SAT, but Starlink, too
KA-SAT is not the only satellite-based internet provider facing Russia’s wrath. On 9th May, Elon Musk tweeted that he had been threatened by Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin. Musk retweeted Rogozin’s threat, which had been uttered in a press interview. The threat comes as Musk’s StarLink is now a vital source of internet access for Ukraine. Attempts to hack the StarLink system have been thwarted.
While the KA-SAT network has proven vulnerable, the StarLink team is finding workarounds to keep communications open. StarLink’s responses garner praise from Department of Defense officials for the speed at which the team blocked the hacking attempts. However, the attacks on StarLink are growing, the company reports.