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Indian student charged with using ‘USB killer device’ to destroy dozens of computers in NY college

An Indian student has been arrested after being charged with intentionally causing damage to over 50 protected computers owned by a college in New York state capital Albany, officials said on Wednesday.

Vishwanath Akuthota, 26 was arrested on February 22 in North Carolina after being charged with intentionally causing damage to protected computers owned by The College of Saint Rose in Albany, US Attorney Grant Jaquith said.

According to a criminal complaint, on February 14, Akuthota entered numerous locations around the Saint Rose campus and inserted a device into more than 50 computers used by students. The device, which resembles a normal USB memory stick, sends a rapid series of power surges into a computer’s electrical hardware, rendering it inoperable. The damage exceeds USD 50,000.

Akuthota, an Indian citizen, is residing in the US on a student visa. He appeared in the federal court in Raleigh, North Carolina, where a US Magistrate Judge ordered him detained and transported to the Northern District of New York.

The charge filed against Akuthota carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to USD 250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

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