- US officials are probing the sabotage of satellite internet during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- The cyberattack began on February 24 between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. local time, Reuters reported.
- Viasat, a high-speed satellite internet provider, said it was a deliberate event.
US intelligence agencies, along with Western allies, are investigating a cyberattack on satellite internet services in Ukraine, which occurred on the day of Russia’s invasion.
Reuters first reported the story.
The cyberattack began on February 24 between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. local time, just as Russia entered Ukraine and launched its first attack, according to the news agency.
Viasat, a telecommunication firm that provides internet connection to Ukraine, said in a statement issued to Reuters that the disruption was triggered by a “deliberate, isolated and external cyber event.”
Spokesperson Chris Phillips said in an email to Reuters: “The network is stabilized and we are restoring service and activating terminals as quickly as possible,” adding that the company was prioritizing “critical infrastructure and humanitarian assistance.”
However, the hackers were able to remotely access the modems due to a misconfiguration in the “management section,” the spokesperson said.
Viasat had previously discussed the attack, telling CNBC on February 28 that “a cyber event” had disrupted its satellite internet service in Ukraine.
At the time, it said: “Viasat is experiencing a partial network outage — impacting internet service for fixed
customers in Ukraine and elsewhere on our European KA-SAT network.”
Reuters reported that the attack had sparked the interests of Western intelligence officials because Viasat acts as a defense contractor for the US and allies.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) is working with France’s National Security Agency of Information Systems (ANSSI), and Ukrainian intelligence figures to determine whether the cyberattack was caused by Russian-state-backed hackers.
Viasat, the NSA, and ANSSI did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.
President Vladimir Putin has described its unprovoked attack on Ukraine as a “denazification” operation. Russia has been severely sanctioned as a result of the invasion.
Meanwhile, Insider previously reported that Elon Musk sent Starlink satellite internet systems to Ukraine in direct response to a plea from a Ukrainian government official amid the invasion.