Professor’s computer allegedly hacked by student

UPDATE: Story changed to match print version on 4/7 at 11:30 a.m.

An El Camino student allegedly hacked into a professor’s computer in an attempt to access personal files on Feb. 29.

The professor, technology instructor Patricia Vacca, said she was in the middle of teaching a class when someone remotely took control of her computer and tried to upload her personal files to the cloud.

Vacca said she was able to halt the hacking process, and recognized a photo of one of her students when looking through the computer’s files.

Vacca reported the issue to Dean of Business, Virginia Rapp, as well as Student Development Director Greg Toya. She was also assisted by Network Services Supervisor Claudio Vilchis.

Both Toya and Vilchis were contacted for interview, but were unable to comment without approval from the Community Relations office.

The case is under investigation by the El Camino Police Department, and Sgt. Dal Toruno said charges could be brought forward soon.

“We have a person of interest that we’re looking into, and we’re discussing possible charges with the district attorney,” Toruno said.

Toruno said the DA is busy with other cases so it has delayed the process.

As of March 29, however, the DA’s office still had not processed the case.

Cyber crimes are included in California state law.

California Penal Code 502 says that anyone who “Knowingly accesses and without permission alters, damages, deletes, destroys, or otherwise uses any data, computer, computer system, or computer network in order to either (A) devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive, or extort, or (B) wrongfully control or obtain money, property, or data,” can be charged with a felony.

More information on this to come.