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US spy agency probes sabotage of satellite internet during Russian invasion

According to three people who knew the incident, Western intelligence agencies are investigating a cyberattack by unknown hackers that disrupted broadband satellite internet access in Ukraine.

Analysts for the National Security Agency, the French government cybersecurity organization ANSSI, and Ukraine intelligence are assessing whether the remote sabotage of a satellite internet provider’s service was the work of Russian-state backed hackers preparing the battlefield by attempting to detonate communication.

The digital blitz on the satellite service began on February 24 from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., just as Russian troops began launching missiles and sending missiles to major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv.

According to an official of Viasat, a US telecoms company that owns the affected network, the consequences are still being investigated.

Modems that connect with Viasat Inc’s KA-SAT satellite have been dissected, providing internet access to some customers in Europe, including Ukraine. More than two weeks later, some websites have been canceled, according to distributors.

The fact that Viasat is responsible for both the United States and its multilateral partners, which appears to be one of the most significant wartime cyberattacks previously disclosed.

According to Reuters, KA-SAT has provided internet connectivity to Ukrainian military and police stations.

Pablo Breuer, a former technologist for the US Special Operations Command, claims that knocking out satellite internet connectivity might weaken Ukraine’s ability to combat Russian forces.

According to three people who knew the incident, Western intelligence agencies are investigating a cyberattack by unknown hackers that disrupted broadband satellite internet access in Ukraine.

Analysts for the National Security Agency, the French government cybersecurity organization ANSSI, and Ukraine intelligence are assessing whether the remote sabotage of a satellite internet provider’s service was the work of Russian-state backed hackers preparing the battlefield by attempting to detonate communication.

The digital blitz on the satellite service began on February 24 from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., just as Russian troops began launching missiles and sending missiles to major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv.

According to an official of Viasat, a US telecoms company that owns the affected network, the consequences are still being investigated.

Modems that connect with Viasat Inc’s KA-SAT satellite have been dissected, providing internet access to some customers in Europe, including Ukraine. More than two weeks later, some websites have been canceled, according to distributors.

The fact that Viasat is responsible for both the United States and its multilateral partners, which appears to be one of the most significant wartime cyberattacks previously disclosed.

According to Reuters, KA-SAT has provided internet connectivity to Ukrainian military and police stations.

Pablo Breuer, a former technologist for the US Special Operations Command, claims that knocking out satellite internet connectivity might weaken Ukraine’s ability to combat Russian forces.

According to Jaroslav Stritecky, a Czech telecoms company, the four status lights on the curved section would indicate whether the devices were connected to the internet. After the attack, the Viasat-made devices would not turn on at any time.

The Viasat official said a misconfiguration in the “management section” of the satellite network had permiss the hackers remote access into the modems, knocking them off. He said most of the affected devices would need to be reprogrammed either by a technician on site or at a repair depot, and some would need to be removed.

The Viasat official wasn’t specific on what the “management section” of the network referred to, and declined to provide further details. KA-SAT and its related ground stations, purchased last year by European company Eutelsat, are still owned by a Eutelsat subsidiary.

Eutelsat has referred questions to Viasat.

According to two persons familiar with the matter, Viasat has hired Mandiant, a cybersecurity company based in the United States, which specialises in monitoring state-sponsored hackers.

Spokespersons for the NSA, the ANSSI, and Mandiant have declined to comment.

Viasat said that government clients who purchased services directly from the company were unintentional by the disruption. However, the KA-SAT network is managed by a third party, which in turn provides services via various distributors.

According to contracts posted on ProZorro, Ukraine’s military and security services, many different communications systems have been purchased over Viasat’s network.

The Ukrainian military requested not to send a message immediately.

Several internet distributors are still waiting to replace their devices.

Stritecky, the Czech telecom chief, said he did not blame Viasat.

He recalls coming to work on the morning of the invasion and seeing a monitor showing regional satellite coverage in the Czech Republic, its neighboring Slovakia, and Ukraine all in red.

“It was immediately clear what happened,” he said. List23

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