The Ontario Provincial Police or OPP announced a Canadian man who was accused of coordinating ransomware and other cyber attacks on people, businesses, and several government agencies. The suspect has allegedly sent malicious emails with the virus attached to it.
Ontario Provincial Police Arrests Man
Matthew Philbert, the 31-year-old man, has been charged with unauthorized use of computers and fraud. The US State of Alaska has also charged Philbert with fraud. He was arrested on Nov. 30, and he remains in police custody, waiting for his court date.
The OPP stated that the arrest was made by investigating Philbert for two years. The investigation involved Europol, the FBI, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Currently, the list of the targets of the cyberattacks has not been revealed. The OPP wants to avoid compromising the court proceedings.
However, it is said that Matthew Philbert coordinated the cyber attacks using emails with attachments containing, according to BBC News.
Also Read: REvil Hacker Hides Out in Siberia, Wanted by the FBI for Ransomware but Remains Uncaught
In January, another man in Canada was arrested for carrying out cyberattacks connected to the notorious Netwalker gang.
This counts as the second arrest of a ransomware hacker in the country. The arrests highlight Canada’s fight against cyber attacks.
Many of these ransomware groups run remotely, and it is still not known who is the mastermind of it all. While most evidence points to Russia being the headquarters for several ransomware gangs, there are still gangs from the other parts of the world that have not been discovered yet.
The suspects in Canada are now being investigated, and they are set to face trial to find out if they are guilty, according to Reuters.
In November, Canada’s healthcare was attacked by a cybercriminal, becoming the worst ransomware case in Canadian history.
Winning the War on Ransomware
In the past decade, ransomware has become inescapable. All kinds of businesses and government agencies have been targeted, according to The Verge.
According to the report presented by the US Treasury, over half a billion dollars were shelled out as payment for ransomware attacks, and this was in the first half of the year alone.
Law enforcement has had issues in handling the situation for years, with numerous groups operating with no fear of repercussions.
In 2021, law enforcement decided to change its tactics. The Department of Justice created a task force to prioritize the investigation, disruption, and prosecution of ransomware and digital extortion activity.
The task force is set to help share information between the government departments and work with foreign agencies. It has made impressive prosecutions in the months since its creation, but there is still a long way to go.
One of the most notable wins for the task force was recorded back in June. The Department of Justice stated that the task force handled the case of a person who was the mastermind behind the malware Trickbot, which exposed a system to a ransomware attack.
Just days after the Trickbot case, the task force announced that it seized $2.3 million of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline.
In October, the task force arrested a couple members of the notorious REvil hacking group who were behind several ransomware attacks. The task force seized $6 million of ransomware payments.
Still, the massive volume of attacks means that a couple of arrests may not make that much of a difference.
The threat of law enforcement is needed to scare hackers, and experts say that the ransomware scheme is too lucrative for hackers to give up.
Related Article: REvil Ransomware Group that Threatened Apple ‘Mysteriously’ Deleted Documents and Extortion Threats
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Written by Sophie Webster
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