One of the most visited websites on the internet - Kickass Torrents (KAT), is down and out. Its founder and operator, a 30 year old Ukranian, Artem Vaulin, has been arrested in Poland on Wednesday and is facing extradition to the United States. And what exposed KAT to the authorities was a minor slip.
What is Kickass torrents (KAT)?
The website first surfaced in 2008 and gained massive audience almost instantly. It was considered a heaven for illegally sharing movies, video games, TV shows and music. The bust came as a massive blow to the online torrent community, where millions of people share copyright material without paying for it. It hosted material worth more than $1 billion.
How the authorities nabbed Kickass Torrents owner.
Jared Der-Yeghiayan, a special agent with the US Department of Homeland Security, was into the probe for quite a few years now. He is the same person who had some years ago busted the online drug marketplace owner Ross Ulbricht. So the mix of old school technique and crackerjack forensic work resulted in the nab.
The loophole that authories banked on was that KAT made money by weaving advertisements around the pirated content. An undercover agent from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) emailed KAT asking for the details if he wanted to place an ad, for a study program. He was directed to transfer money in a Latvian account, which had received 28,411,357 Euros in deposits from August 2015 and March 2016. This gave the cops their first lead into the case.
A detailed forensic survey of the servers revealed domain names, access logs, files and user accounts. The dots were connected by technological giants, #Apple, Facebook and Google. When cops traced the IP address which was used to make purchases from i-tunes, it was the same with which the Facebook page was logged on to. By tracking down his email from this IP, they were able to find test-run emails, copyright takedown requests, bug reports from KAT websites, which was evidence enough against Vaulin. Call it karma, but the kingpin of illegal downloads gets caught when he purchases something legally.
The last nail in the coffin was to link the #Bank and donation accounts and shell companies to the main Latvian account, and boom! You have the greatest pirate nailed, after years of investigation and hard-work.
With KAT down other torrent sites are on high alert
Vaulin had been pretty good at moving the site through proxy servers located in different countries around the world and keeping it online.
With his arrest in Poland it is now clear to all other copyright infringement websites that you can run and hide but you really can’t escape justice. With new technological breakthroughs like blockchain technology, it is becoming even more difficult.
Online piracy is cruel as it sucks revenue out of media publishing companies. Thousands of artists and businesses, whose livelihood is dependent on the revenue, lose their money.
Kickass Torrents story serves a lesson for everybody
After reading this, may be you begin to understand how every little bit of information about you including everything you have ever done online can be tracked and compiled to build up a profile about you. A law enforcement agency doing it is quite understandable, but a $2.5 trillion cyber crime industry is having access to it too. That is something to be afraid of. Therefore, exercising a lot of caution before putting everything on the internet is the best bet. #Advertising