Ottawa man charged after two-year investigation into international ransomware attacks | Top stories

Ottawa man charged after two-year investigation into international ransomware attacks

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Ottawa man charged following nearly two-year investigation into multiple ransomware attacks against targets in Canada and the United States

The cybercrime investigation began when the Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted the Ontario Provincial Police in January 2020 about ransomware attacks based in Canada.

Police said they determined that one person was responsible for numerous ransomware attacks affecting businesses, government agencies and individuals across Canada, as well as cybercrime-related offenses in the United States.

Police said on Tuesday Matthew Philbert, 31, of Ottawa, had been charged with fraud, unauthorized use of a computer and possession of a device to obtain unauthorized use of a computer system or to commit mischief.

Philbert has also been indicted in the United States, according to a federal indictment released on Tuesday.

The indictment alleges that Philbert conspired with others to damage computers, “and during that conspiracy damaged a computer owned by the state of Alaska in April 2018”.

He is facing one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related computer activities, and one count of fraud and related computer activities.

In the Canadian investigation, the Ontario Provincial Police said they seized evidence including desktops and laptops, a tablet, several hard drives and cellphones, a Bitcoin seed phrase and blank cards with stripes. magnetic.

The accused is being held in custody pending a further court appearance, police said.

“Cybercriminals are opportunistic and will target any business or person they identify as vulnerable,” OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox said in a press release. “The OPP continues to demonstrate its ability to collaborate transparently on integrated police investigations to combat cybercrime and activities.”

Along with the FBI investigation, the RCMP and Europol assisted the OPP in their 23-month investigation.

The OPP says it has seen a 140% increase in reported cybercrime offenses since 2019.


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