An Ottawa man has been charged after a nearly two-year investigation into multiple ransomware attacks on targets in Canada and the US.

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

Police say they determined that one person was responsible for multiple ransomware attacks affecting businesses, government agencies and private individuals across Canada, as well as cyber-related crimes in the US.

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Matthew Filbert, 31, of Ottawa has been charged with fraud, unauthorized use of a computer and possession of a device to obtain unauthorized use of a computer system or to cause mischief, police said on Tuesday.

Filbert has also been charged in the US, a . According to federal indictment Closed on Tuesday.

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The indictment alleges that Philbert conspired with others to damage a computer, “and in the course of that conspiracy damaged a computer belonging to the State of Alaska in April 2018.”

He is facing one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in relation to a computer and one count of fraud and related activity in relation to a computer.

In the Canadian investigation, OPP says they confiscated evidence including desktop and laptop computers, a tablet, several hard drives and cell phones, a bitcoin seed phrase and blank cards with magnetic stripes.

Police said that the accused is being kept in custody till further court appearance.

“Cyber ​​criminals are opportunists and will target any business or individual they identify as vulnerable,” OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox said in a news release. activities.”

Along with the FBI investigation, the RCMP and Europol helped OPP with the 23-month investigation.

OPP says it has seen a 140 percent increase in cybercrime cases since 2019.