Student Uses “USB Killer” To Fry $58,000 Worth of Computers


Vishwanath Akuthota, a former student at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, has pled guilty to causing heavy damage to his college’s computer systems. Akuthota, age 27, admitted committing this notorious act on February 14, 2019. He may face up to 10 years in prison and up to 3 years of supervision after his release.

He targeted 66 individual computers in the college as well as different computer-connected displays and podiums. Moreover, he recorded his act on his iPhone, saying “I’m going to kill this guy.” According to Time Union, he was also seen in the surveillance footage, wearing a red sweatshirt and carrying a gray backpack.

The total damage caused by Akuthota has been calculated to be $58,471, and he has agreed to repay the amount to the college.

He has been in police custody since his arrest on February 22, 2019, and the case was being investigated by the Albany Police Department (APD) and the FBI.

What is a USB Killer?
USB Killer is a tiny USB device which, when plugged into a computer, rapidly pumps ultra-high voltage power and damages the hardware components of the device. The device gathers this power by charging its capacitors from the USB power line. Read more about the USB Killer on Fossbytes.

The FBI’s affidavit doesn’t mention the motive behind this act. “This process ultimately renders the host electronic device inoperable by damaging the port, hard disk, and overall electrical system,” the affidavit mentioned regarding the working of USB Killer.

Akuthota is originally an Indian citizen who has been staying in the US on a student visa. He graduated from The College of Saint Rose in 2017 with a master’s degree in business. Reportedly, he also pursued a degree in computer information systems.

Also Read: Finally!!! You Can Remove USB Safely In Windows By Simply Pulling It Out
Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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