Canadian arrested over ransomware attacks in US

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A 31-year-old Ottawa man has been arrested on suspicion of mounting ransomware attacks in the United States and Canada after a joint probe that took almost two years, police said.

Matthew Philbert is allegedly responsible for numerous ransomware attacks affecting businesses, government agencies and private individuals throughout Canada as well as cyber-related offenses in the United States, the Ontario Provincial Police said.

Philbert was detained after a 23-month joint probe between Canadian police forces and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which reached out to Canada in early 2020 for help with ransomware attacks.

He has been charged with fraud, mischief and unauthorised access of computer systems.

In Anchorage, the US attorney’s office said Philbert had damaged a computer in Alaska in April 2018.

He faces one US count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of fraud.

Canada’s signals intelligence agency said on Monday that global ransomware attacks increased by 151 percent in the first half of 2021 compared with 2020.

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