Indian Citizen Pleads Guilty to Destroying Computers

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New York – An Indian citizen on a student visa pled guilty to intentionally causing damage to computers owned by The College of St. Rose, in New York state capital Albany by using a “USB Killer” device, after he was arrested in North Carolina on February 22, 2019.

When Vishwanath Akuthota, 27 is sentenced on August 12, 2019 by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino, he faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to three years.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Chief Eric Hawkins of the Albany Police Department (APD).

Plea Deal Details

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 in Albany. 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 discharge repeatedly, thereby overloading and physically destroying the computer’s USB port and electrical system.

Akuthota 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.

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