By B.N. Frank
Starlink satellites have been a disappointment in oh so many ways. It was reported in 2022 that speeds were slowing down everywhere which may have contributed to lower subscription numbers than the company predicted. Recently subscribers had even more to complain about.
From Ars Technica:
Starlink’s overzealous fraud detection locked users out of their accounts
“We had an account issue that led us to falsely flag your account as fraud.”
The Starlink bug that locked some users out of their accounts last week was caused by overzealous fraud detection that falsely flagged legitimate accounts as fraudulent. Affected users yesterday received an email titled “False Positive Fraud Account Correction,” but not everyone has been able to get back into their accounts yet.
“We had an account issue that led us to falsely flag your account as fraud. We are working to make this right and fix any account modifications over the last week,” the email from the SpaceX-owned ISP said. “Please allow until the end of the week to see any account changes be reverted before filing a ticket. Next week, if you are still having an account issue, sign in to your account below to contact Customer Support.”
As we previously reported, some customers received an email on November 9 saying their accounts had been reset and that “all pending orders and deposits have been refunded.” The bug affected some new users who had ordered Starlink service but had not yet set up their dishes, making it hard for them to start the Internet service.
Starlink’s limited customer support options made things especially difficult. An account-recovery page that lets users request password resets with an email address or phone number didn’t work in this case, as the page returned error messages like “User not found.”
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Users said they could not submit support tickets because they were locked out of their accounts. Starlink has no support phone number, and users get mixed results from contacting Starlink through the customer support email address firstname.lastname@example.org. There were numerous Reddit threads in which users complained they could not contact Starlink to get the account resets fixed.
Some users also lost Internet service
Adam, a Starlink customer in Alabama who preferred that we not publish his last name, received last week’s account-reset email and yesterday’s “False Positive Fraud Account Correction” update. Adam had already gotten back into his account before yesterday’s update, but he had to try several methods of contacting Starlink to pull it off.
Adam told us that filling out an account-recovery form on Starlink’s website didn’t help. He also found someone else with Starlink service who submitted a support ticket on his behalf, but the method that actually resulted in a reply from Starlink was emailing the starlinkresolutions address. Adam said he sent a message to that email address on Friday and received a response on Sunday, allowing him to get back into his account that day.
With most of the complaints we’ve seen, Starlink broadband service was not disrupted as long as customers set it up before the account-reset bug hit. But one user on Reddit reported yesterday that “Starlink went down completely,” around the same time the user received the “False Positive Fraud Account Correction” email.
The problem apparently forced users to choose an option to “resume” their service, assuming they could get into their accounts. “You should see something on your Starlink account page to click on that says ‘Resume Service.’ That’s what I had to do,” one person replied in the thread. However, the original poster who started the thread said they were still unable to log in.
A user writing in another Reddit thread yesterday also apparently had a service interruption that coincided with the account lockout. “I’m still locked out,” the user wrote yesterday. “Email reset message received a week ago. Service interrupted last Friday.”
Jon has been a reporter for Ars Technica since 2011 and covers a wide array of telecom and tech policy topics. Jon graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism and has been a full-time journalist for over 20 years. Before Ars, he spent six years as a newspaper reporter and five years writing about technology for IDG’s Network World. To send Jon encrypted email, his public key is here; he can also be reached securely on Keybase.
High-speed internet connections can be achieved via safer and more secure methods than wireless-radiation emitting satellites.
In regard to Starlink satellites in particular – they are also reportedly swerving every 10 minutes to avoid collision and they have fallen from orbit and burned. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that falling Starlink satellite debris is also threatening lives. Of course, experts have been warning for years that launching more vehicles – including all broadband satellites (not just Starlink’s) – into an already overcrowded space will create more problems including a higher risk of human fatalities (see 1, 2). Considering all the above, it seems ridiculous to keep launching more, right? Unfortunately, pending U.S. bills would allow the launching of hundreds of thousands more with NO environmental review! Argh!
Activist Post reports regularly about broadband, space vehicles, and unsafe technologies. For more information, visit our archives.
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