Canadian Man Faces Charges in Canada, U.S. for Ransomware Attacks


A Canadian national is facing cybercrime-related charges in the United States and Canada, with authorities saying that he was involved in ransomware attacks.

Matthew Philbert, 31, of Ottawa, Ontario, was arrested on November 30 by Ontario Provincial Police and he remains in custody. Laptops, tablets, storage units, and blank cards were seized from the suspect.

In a joint press briefing on Tuesday, representatives of the FBI and Canadian police said Philbert conspired with others to attack businesses, government agencies and private individuals in the U.S. and Canada.

The attacks typically started with a malicious email that delivered malware designed to give the attacker complete access to the victim’s computer, investigators said.

The U.S. Justice Department said Philbert has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, and one count of fraud and related activity in connection with computers.

The man has been charged in Alaska, where he allegedly targeted and damaged systems belonging to the state in April 2018. The indictment says the attack could have “caused the modification, impairment, and potential modification and impairment of the medical examination, diagnosis, treatment and care of 1 or more individuals.”

This suggests that the target was Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services. The government organization was also targeted this year, but that attack has been linked to state-sponsored hackers.

Related: Canadian Teen Arrested Over Theft of $36 Million in Cryptocurrency

Related: Canadian Pleads Guilty to Hacking Yahoo

Related: Canadian Hacker Arrested for Spying Through Webcams

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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