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Indian Pleads Guilty of Destroying 59 University Computers Using USB Killer Thumb Drive: Report

Indian Pleads Guilty of Destroying 59 University Computers Using USB Killer Thumb Drive: Report

Photo Credit: USB Kill

USB Killer v3 thumb drive (used for representational purposes)

  • 27-year old Indian man destroys several computers of a New York college
  • He has been sentenced to 10-year prison, $250,000 fine
  • He used a USB Killer thumb drive to destroy 59 computers

An Indian national has pleaded guilty of destroying 59 computers at a New York college by using a thumb drive named USB Killer. This drive is reported to be easily available online, and is listed on Amazon for purchase. The device enabled 27-year old Vishwanath Akuthota to damage equipment worth $51,109, (roughly Rs. 35,46,700) along with $7,362 (roughly Rs. 5,10,900) in employee time for investigating and replacing destroyed hardware. He has agreed to pay the money, and has been sentenced to 10 years of prison as well.

ZDNet was the first to report on this issue, and based on the court documents obtained by the publication, it has come to light that the incident took place on February 14. Akuthota reportedly filmed himself while destroying the computers. In the recording, the suspect was seen saying, “I'm going to kill this guy,”, and once he was done with the process, he was seen saying things like, “it's dead” and “it's gone. Boom.” The reason for this crime isn't known as of yet.

The weaponised thumb drive USB Killer is easily available online, and it is also used for legal functions. The device works by rapidly charging the thumb drive by using a USB power supply, and then discharging all of the current back into the USB slot, effectively frying the internals of a computer it is attached to. Akuthota is said to have fried 59 computers, seven computer monitors, and computer-enhanced podiums that had open USB slots. All of the equipment was owned by College of St. Rose, in New York.

The report says that Akuthota faces 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 (roughly Rs. 17,349,100), and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years.


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Further reading: USB Killer
Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com. More
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