The Ukrainian government confirmed on Tuesday that it had received a shipment of Starlink satellite internet terminals less than two days after Starlink CEO Elon Musk responded to a plea for support on Twitter.
Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/dZbaYqWYCfFebruary 28, 2022
The Starlink dishes were sent in response to a February 26 tweet by the Ukrainian vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, directly asking Musk for help securing Starlink equipment.
Starlink satellites provide relatively fast internet service for residential customers, but generally don’t serve as the primary connection point for the kind of sprawling IT infrastructure needed by large organizations and government agencies to operate.
But with the threat of Russian forces cutting off access to landline internet connections, any internet at this point is probably sorely needed.
Analysis: It’s a good gesture on Starlink’s part, but it could do more harm than good
Given the state of things in Ukraine at the moment, any relief is likely welcome, especially when so much of our modern communications infrastructure is built on internet connections that are prime targets for hostile forces.
As Reuters reports, though, internet security pros are wary that the new Starlink terminals could be dangerous.
Re: @elonmusk’s starlink donation.Good to see.But remember: if #Putin controls the air above #Ukraine, users’ uplink transmissions become beacons… for airstrikes. Some background 1/ pic.twitter.com/0p6J87TtUFFebruary 27, 2022
Others note that since Starlink dishes need a clear view of the sky to function, they need to be placed on the roofs of tall buildings in urban environments, which is a particularly vulnerable position when the airspace over a city is contested.
Still, you can’t expect to avoid risk when your country is being invaded, and being cut off from the world completely is a far greater risk than having satellite dishes targeted by aircraft.