[Image Source: Wikipedia]
Notoriously infamous torrenting site ‘KickassTorrents’ was recently shut down by the U.S. government.
The website was a commonly used file sharing network that enabled millions of people to virtually steal illegal copies of various files including movies, games, and more. The website is one of the most popular illegal file sharing hubs on the internet. However, the alleged owner of the site now resides behind bars, and seven of the websites domains have also been taken down.
The website remained active for many years because the owner could not be found.
The alleged owner Artem Vaulin remained a large, carefully avoiding being tracked. Although, his evasive techniques did not hide him incognito for good. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security initially discovered multiple IP addresses revealing information about Vaulin, sites a criminal complaint.
The 48-page criminal complaint was issued to the United States district court back in 2008 against Artem Vaulin siting he willingly infringed upon intellectual commercial properties. The papers then go into detail about the accusations and illegal transactions taking place on the site. According to officials, the website is the 69th most visited website on the internet.
Eventually, the trail led investigators to a Canadian ISP, which ended up providing authorities with critical information regarding Vaulin, including an Apple email account. The account, under “firstname.lastname@example.org” , is reported to have been used for multiple transactions on the iTunes store, a mistake that proved condemning for Vaulin. Further investigation revealed the account was linked to two other IP addresses; both attributed to activity on a Facebook account containing critical information regarding KickassTorrents.
Later, authorities uncovered sensitive emails containing information about the maintenance and activities on the site.
The criminal complaint says officials were able to track down an address in Ukraine, however, it does not make mention of how they tracked him in Poland. Nonetheless, Vaulin’s long history of criminal activity was cut short, and now the U.S. is attempting to extradite and charge him under the U.S. criminal code.
The charges laid against him include infringement and money laundering.
The complaint linked Vaulin to a bank account that reportedly received over US$31 million in funds over a 6-month time frame. Vaulin created a shroud by fronting the money through a Ukrainian company called Cryptoneat. The employers are also believed to have contributed illegal work on the site.
KickassTorents and Crypotneat have yet to respond to the incident. However, a mirror site is already calling for Vaulin to be released. The site links to a petition on change.org calling all internet users to step up against the arrest of Vaulin to fight for ‘internet freedom’
“This morning the founder of [KickassTorrents] was arrested in Poland. It is another attack on freedom of rights of internet users globally. We think it’s our duty not to stand aside but to fight back supporting our rights”
The website states.
However, it is highly unlikely he will be released due to the multitude of charges across many nations.
[Image Source: Edited/Wikipedia]