BoraMurdar

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Polish authorities arrested Artem Vaulin, 30, of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on charges of operating the world's largest torrent portal, Kickass Torrents (KAT).

Known as "trim," Vaulin is KAT's founder and main administrator. According to a criminal complaint filed today, Vaulin faces one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.

Authorities said that KAT had caused damages to copyright holders of over $1 billion and that they plan to request Vaulin's extradition.

KAT is currently down
In addition to Vaulin's arrest, authorities also seized bank accounts in Estonia and Latvia, servers located in Chicago, USA, and Canada, along with some of KAT's domains (kickasstorrents.com, kastatic.com, thekat.tv, kat.cr, kickass.cr, kickass.to, kat.ph).

Historically, the torrent portal had only operated via URLS such as kickasstorrents.com, kat.ph, kickass.to, kickass.so and kat.cr. At the time of writing the main domain, kat.cr, was down. The Dark Web version of the site was still up and running.

In the past years, KAT had been blocked in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, and Malaysia.

Officials used Apple email inbox to track Vaulin's actions
The criminal complaint also reveals that federal agents had gone undercover to gather information about KAT's mode of operation. Agents bought ads on the site to collect data about financial transactions and the site's staff.

These actions had revealed Vaulin's email address, trim@me.com, hosted by Apple. Investigators petitioned Apple for help, who provided a copy of his email inbox to authorities.

Using the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, US officials were also able to collect information about the site's operations from the bank accounts used to collect payments for ad slots.

An analysis of this account later revealed the presence of KAT's servers in Chicago, right in the US' backyard.

Vaulin ran KAT via a front company called Cryptoneat
Authorities also said that Vaulin allegedly operated the KAT portal using a Ukrainian-based front company called Cryptoneat.

At the time of Vaulin's arrest, KAT was the 69th most trafficked site on the Internet, a position that not even the infamous The Pirate Bay has ever reached. The site's estimated traffic was of around 50 million unique users per month.

You can read more details about Vaulin's charges and investigation in the criminal complaint filed today by the US Department of Justice.

Artem Vaulin DOJ FBI Complaint
 
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hjlbx

"These actions had revealed Vaulin's email address, trim@me.com, hosted by Apple. Investigators petitioned Apple for help, who provided a copy of his email inbox to authorities.

Using the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, US officials were also able to collect information about the site's operations from the bank accounts used to collect payments for ad slots."

And there you have it...
 
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hjlbx

In a way, this sucks. KAT was always more vigilant than its counterparts in taking down high-risk torrents like Game of Thrones. Playing it "safe" wasn't enough.
Of course it sucks. Lots of people relied on KAT for entertainment. Why should I pay anywhere from $5 to $15 U.S. to see a movie ? Most of the time the movies and other entertainment are lousy and a complete rip-off...

Same thing applied to Napster.
 
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Alkajak

Avoiding bad files and staying virus-free is all the same, whether it be torrenting or downloading software from a third-party website. Know where you're downloading from, who you're downloading from, and do your proper pre-scans and you're good.