Estonian Arrested for Buying Metasploit Pro to be Used in Russia

Estimated read time 2 min read

On March 28, 2023, Andrey Shevlyakov, a 45-year-old Estonian national, was arrested in Tallinn and charged with 18 counts of conspiracy and other charges. The charges stem from Shevlyakov’s alleged role in purchasing U.S.-made electronics on behalf of the Russian government and military, in violation of U.S. export controls.

Court documents indicate that Shevlyakov operated front companies that were used to import sensitive electronics from U.S. manufacturers. The goods were then shipped to Russia, bypassing export restrictions. The purchased items included analog-to-digital converters and low-noise pre-scalers and synthesizers that are found in defense systems. Shevlyakov is also accused of attempting to acquire hacking tools like Rapid7 Metasploit Pro, a legitimate penetration testing and adversary simulation software.

Although Shevlyakov was placed on the Entity List in 2012 by the U.S. government for acting as a procurement agent for Russia, he is said to have used “false names and a web of front companies” to sidestep the regulations and run an “intricate logistics operation involving frequent smuggling trips across the Russian border.” Shevlyakov is estimated to have exported at least $800,000 worth of items from U.S. electronics manufacturers and distributors between about October 2012 and January 2022 through his shell companies like Yaxart, Anmarna, and Marnik.

This case highlights the importance of export controls and the risks associated with violating them. The U.S. government imposes export controls on certain sensitive items to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, including individuals or countries with a history of human rights abuses or support for terrorism.

In addition, this case also highlights the use of shell companies and other tactics to evade export controls. Such tactics can make it more difficult for authorities to identify and prosecute individuals and entities that engage in illegal exports.

If found guilty, Shevlyakov faces up to 20 years in prison. The case is being closely watched by experts in the field of export controls and national security, as it may have implications for future cases involving similar violations. It remains to be seen how the case will develop, but it serves as a reminder of the importance of enforcing export controls to protect national security interests.

Mohamed Nabil Ali

A Trailblazing IT Expert, Technology Geek, and Bughunter.
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