Man Pleads Guilty to Using “USB Killer” to Destroy Dozens of Computers

A couple years ago, I wrote about the USB Killer, a device that will destroy a computer in a few seconds by repeatedly charging and discharging its capacitors when plugged into a USB port. The device is intended to test surge protection, but I also think it is an interesting possibility to quickly destroy a computer that may be seized by a potential adversary.

Vishwanath Akuthota, 27, thought it would be a good idea to take one of the devices and use it to destroy 66 computers at The College of St. Rose, where he was a student. Not only did Akuthota use the device to destroy the computers, but according to a DOJ press release detailing his plea agreement, he also

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.

. . .

When he is sentenced on August 12, 2019 by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino, Akuthota faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years. 

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