ALBANY, NEW YORK - Vishwanath Akuthota, age 27, of Albany, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release, for intentionally damaging computer equipment owned by The College of St. Rose. Akuthota was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $58,471.
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).
In pleading guilty, 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 is a citizen of India, residing in the United States on a student visa. He has been in custody since he was arrested in North Carolina on February 22, 2019.
This case was investigated by the FBI and APD, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers.