Unknown subject hacked into French Zoom class and threatened to blow up campus upon student return to campus

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Image provided by VCCCD photo archive.

By Madina Safdari

On Thursday, April 30 at approximately 1:15 p.m. an unknown subject joined a French M02 Zoom call and threatened to blow up the school and displayed various explicit images. Two students from the class reported the incident and campus police have determined it is not a credible threat.

Campus Police Lieutenant Andy Huisenga stated the investigation is open, pending new information.

According to the original report, an unidentified young male entered the meeting wearing a white surgical mask. He displayed pornographic images on the screen and threatened to blow up campus when school returned. The subject then left the Zoom meeting, French Professor Adriana Tufenkjian was confused by what had occurred.

Image provided by VCCCD photo archive.
Image provided by VCCCD photo archive.

Huisenga explained that because campus is closed and the subject did not name Moorpark College specifically, or any other school, the threat is not considered credible at the moment.

“The good news is that we have no one on campus right now. The tough part is that it’s really hard to track something like this when people hack into systems and stuff like that,” Huisenga said.

First year student Anjelka Stipanovich was in the Zoom class when the incident occurred and felt appalled by the behavior.

“I didn’t know teenagers could be so disgusting. They were saying the grossest things and they were having fun with it,” Stipanovich said. “I was so disappointed because we have a few elderly people in the class and I was just so sad that they had to hear that.”

According to Stipanovich, she noticed about five unidentified people enter the Zoom call cursing. They all had their cameras off except the one previously described as wearing a white mask.

Collectively, Stipanovich and a few of her classmates tried leaving and re-entering the Zoom call, hoping the subjects would leave, which all but one eventually did. Stipanovich stated that one of the offenders stayed until the end of the Zoom meeting, remained respectful, spoke with the other students and said he lived in Texas.

Huisenga noted that the Zoom meeting did not have any security features enabled, like a passcode or waiting room, which made it difficult for the Moorpark College Information Technology department to trace the subject.

Though it’s difficult to describe what typical protocol is for threats of this type, Huisenga stated that if this incident occurred while school was in session, it would be handled differently. For instance, meetings would be held with the school executive council, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would be contacted and decisions would be made to evacuate and lockdown the campus.

Moving forward Huisenga advises professors to take more precautions towards securing their Zoom meetings by setting passwords, waiting rooms and being mindful of who joins meetings.

“All those safety settings help avoid this. Unfortunately, like I said, it’s a learning curve and with this class there were no safety settings put on. Anyone with very little knowledge of computers could have got right into that class,” Huisenga said.

At the moment, officers are still on campus and continue to patrol the premises while Moorpark College is closed due to COVID-19.