Indian student used “USB Killer Device” to destroy college equipment


An former Indian student at The College of St. Rose, in Albany, N.Y., admitted to damaging 66 computers at the private, co-educational college.

Representative cybercrime photo Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Vishwanath Akuthota, 27, pled guilty to causing damage to computers owned by The College of St. Rose, the United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and other law enforcement officials, including from the FBI,  involved in the case, announced  April 16.

Akuthota admitted that on February 14, 2019, he inserted a “USB Killer” device into 66 computers, as well as numerous computer monitors and computer-enhanced podiums, owned by the College. He is a citizen of India who is in the United States on a student visa.  He has been in custody since he was arrested in North Carolina on February 22. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years

The “USB Killer” device, when inserted into a computer’s USB port, sends a command causing the computer’s on-board capacitors to rapidly charge and then  admitted that he intentionally destroyed the computers, and recorded himself doing so using his iPhone, including making statements such as “I’m going to kill this guy” before inserting the USB Killer into a computer’s USB port.  Akuthota also admitted that his actions caused $58,471 in damage, and has agreed to pay restitution in that amount to the College.

His sentencing has been scheduled for August 12, by U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.




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