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Starlink Terminals May Pose a Risk to Their Users in Ukraine, Experts Warn

Remember that Starlink deployment in Ukraine that Elon Musk handled a few weeks ago? Well, security experts warn that it is not safe for using as is, because the dishes are easy to trace and can help the opposing forces track down their users. While Musk has warned users to only put the system to work when needed, as well as apply light camouflage, it might not be enough.
Toyota Prius with Starlink dish on its hood in California (that's illegal, btw) 21 photos
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It is worth noting that Elon Musk recommended that users of its Starlink terminals in Ukraine place the antennae as far away from people as possible. The idea is not linked to any radiation threat as a health hazard, but to a detection threat. If Russian forces manage to pinpoint the location of such an antenna, those around it may be at risk.

A senior researcher at the Citizen Lab of the University of Toronto, John Scott-Railton, has warned that there are some features of Starlink that make it different from other comparable technologies that were previously used for this purpose. Moreover, as he told Business Insider, these terminals also have a distinctive appearance, which is not something you want from such a device.

Other security experts warn that radio signals from such antennae could be tracked down by any modern military force, so deploying and using them is a risky business. Not having the ability to communicate with the outside world is just as dangerous, some might argue, though, so that also has to be accounted for.

If you think about it, without Starlink, the Ukrainians would be left without any contact with the outside world, which is an undesirable situation in this context.

Because of the distinctive look of the antennae used by Starlink terminals, such dishes could be observed from the air by Russian forces using various tools, from drones to aircraft. However, the signal itself could make the position of each antenna a target for missiles that can home in on such signals.

In the latter case, the Russian military would have to have and also to deploy specific missiles that would bring the described effect. Until then, Ukrainians are advised to use caution when communicating with the use of Starlink terminals.

Editor's note: For illustration purposes, the photo gallery features images of SpaceX rockets, as well as tweets made by Elon Musk.
The main image of this article is a Starlink dish installed on a vehicle in California, and its goal is to show what an antenna for Starlink looks like.

 
 
 
 
 

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