If you try to visit a KickassTorrents domain name you will probably be greeted by a blank webpage or image from the FBI that claims “This domain has been seized.” KickassTorrents domain names, including kat.cr have been seized by feds and the alleged owner, a 30 year old Ukranian man named Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland on July 20th. Other KickassTorrents like kat.tv are expected to be seized by Verisign.
The United States Federal Government arrested the alleged owner of KickassTorrents in Poland and charged the man with criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. Furthermore, a federal courthouse in Chicago also ordered the seizure of several KickassTorrents domain names, including kat.cr and kickass.to.
KickassTorrents happens to be the world’s largest torrenting website after the fall (and slight rise) of ThePirateBay. KickassTorrents websites have millions of unique visitors stopping by their websites to download torrents, read blogs, and have discussions every day. However, this new blockade on the popular torrenting website suspends immediate hope of a return for the popular torrenting website in the near future.
Another thing to be weary about is that the federal government might now have information about their users and uploaders. The complaint mentions private messages that were sent through KickassTorrents. This suggests that authorities have obtain access to a large amount of data.
Regular users of the website are unlikely to be targeted by the government for any purpose. However, big-time uploaders might have something to fear. The information gathered can possibly be used in future investigations against large uploaders.
Feds posed as advertisers
The complaint filed in the district court against KickassTorrents and owner Vaulin reveals that the federal government posed as an advertiser which allowed them to obtain access to KAT’s bank account.
Apple gave feds personal information
The complaint also discloses that Apple gave the federal government personal details of Vaulin after the feds cross-referenced an IP-address used for an iTunes transaction with an IP-address that was used to login to KAT’s Facebook account.
“Records provided by Apple showed that firstname.lastname@example.org conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 126.96.36.199 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook,” the complaint states.
On this matter, Assistant Attorney General Caldwell comment that “KickassTorrents helped to distribute over $1 billion in pirated files” and that “Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials.”
Caldwell also added that “In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”
Could there be a comeback for KickassTorrents in store? The future is not clear at this moment.