Estonian National Charged in U.S. for Acquiring Hacking-Tools

By   Adeola Adegunwa
Writer , Informationsecuritybuzz | Apr 10, 2023 07:00 am PST

An Estonian national has been accused in the US of buying electronics and computer hacking tools developed in the US on behalf of the Russian military and government. Andrei Shevlyakov was detained on March 28 in Estonia. In the US, he was charged with 18 counts of conspiracy and other offenses.

The indictment claims that Shevlyakov and his accomplices exported microelectronics from the US to Estonia using several shell firms with addresses in Estonia. After that, the products were shipped to Russia, breaking export laws.

According to the indictment, Shevlyakov has been on a US government ban list since 2012 for obtaining and sending export-restricted goods to Russia. He ordered and paid for products under phony identities and shell corporations to get around the list’s limits.

The products bought included integrated circuits, low-noise pre-scalers, resistors, synthesizers, and analog-to-digital converters. These components are used in defense systems such as avionics, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and software-defined radio.

The indictment claims that the Estonian National, Shevlyakov, also tried to obtain a licensed copy of Metasploit Pro, a US-made penetration testing program that cannot be acquired from Russia directly, through email correspondence with a person residing in Russia.

The Russian person claimed that prior attempts to obtain the hacking tool through organizations outside of Russia had been unsuccessful. A few days later, Shevlyakov allegedly replied with a price list for different Metasploit Pro editions.

A widely used hacking tool called Metasploit has frequently been used maliciously. There is a free version of the program and a Pro version that costs about $15,000. According to the accusation, Shevlyakov exported US electronics worth at least $800,000 between 2012 and 2022.

US Department of Justice has it that the commodities were delivered through “an complex logistics operation including frequent smuggling excursions across the Russian border.” Shevlyakov may spend up to 20 years in jail if found guilty.


The U.S. charged an Estonian national for buying U.S. equipment for the Russian government and military. Andrei Shevlyakov, 45, was detained in Tallinn on March 28, 2023. He faces 18 conspiracy accusations and others. He might serve 20 years if convicted. Court records claim Shevlyakov utilized front firms to import sensitive technology from U.S. manufacturers. Russia received the items without export restrictions.

Defense-system analog-to-digital converters, low-noise pre-scalers, and synthesizers were procured. Shevlyakov is suspected of trying to buy Rapid7 Metasploit Pro, a legitimate penetration testing and adversary simulation program. Shevlyakov was placed on the U.S. Entity List in 2012 for operating as a procurement agent for Russia, but he utilized “false names and a web of front organizations” to circumvent the laws and run an “intricate logistics operation requiring repeated smuggling trips across the Russian border.” Between October 2012 and January 2022, Shevlyakov’s shell businesses Yaxart, Anmarna, and Marnik exported at least $800,000 worth of U.S. electronics.

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