ALBANY – A College of St. Rose graduate has been arrested for allegedly using an electronic device to destroy more than 50 computers on campus earlier this month, federal prosecutors said.
Vishwanath Akuthota, 26, of Albany, was arrested Friday in North Carolina on a warrant charging him with intentionally causing damage to protected computers.
Akuthota allegedly entered numerous locations around the Saint Rose campus Feb. 14 and used a device known as a “USB killer” to destroy the machines. The device resembles a normal USB stick, but sends a rapid series of power surges into the computer, destroying its components.
Akuthota is a citizen of India. He’s in the United States on a student visa.
According to the complaint filed against Akuthota, the investigation began as the college’s assistant director of security contacted the Albany Police Department after a man entered the locations and appeared to insert the device, leaving the computers inoperable.
Employees provided law enforcement with video surveillance showing a man wearing a red sweatshirt, blue jeans, black sneakers and a gray backpack inserting the device into the computers. Law enforcement then identified Akuthota from the images and college employees confirmed the ID, according to the complaint.
Akuthota appeared in federal court in North Carolina and was ordered transported to Albany.
If convicted, Akuthota would face up to 10 years in prison.
The case is being investigated by the Albany Police Department and the FBI. It’s being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers.
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