New York: An Indian student has pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage of over USD 58,000 to more than 50 protected computers of a college in New York state capital Albany by using a “USB Killer” device. Vishwanath Akuthota, 27, residing in the United States on a student visa, has been in custody since he was arrested in North Carolina in February this year. He faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to USD 250,000 and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to three years.
United States Attorney Grant Jaquith said that he pleaded guilty this week to causing damage to computers owned by The College of St Rose. Akuthota, who will be sentenced in August, admitted that on February 14, 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. He also admitted that his actions caused over USD 58,470 in damage, and has agreed to pay restitution in that amount to the college. Akuthota will be sentenced in August and faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to USD 250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to three years.