Last week KickassTorrents (Kat.cr) was taken down and the federal authorities have finally arrested the alleged founder and operator of the most popular torrenting site in the world, KickassTorrents (Kat.cr), the US Justice Department announced on last Wednesday. The site is offline since last week after its alleged owner Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian national was apprehended in Poland, and the US government has requested his deportation.
In addition to the KAT’s domain names seizure, the Chicago court has also ordered the seizure of bank accounts related to the notorious pirate website, as well as servers located in Chicago, USA, and Canada. KickassTorrents has been blocked in many countries in the past including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, and Malaysia. Here’s what the U.S. Authorities stated in a press release issued by the Department of Justice:
“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “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.”
“Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions,” said U.S. Attorney Fardon. “Vaulin allegedly used the Internet to cause enormous harm to those artists. Our Cybercrimes Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago will continue to work with our law enforcement partners around the globe to identify, investigate and prosecute those who attempt to illegally profit from the innovation of others.”
“Artem Vaulin was allegedly running a worldwide digital piracy website that stole more than $1 billion in profits from the U.S. entertainment industry,” said Executive Associate Director Edge. “Protecting legitimate commerce is one of HSI’s highest priorities. With the cooperation of our law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively bring to justice those who enrich themselves by stealing the creative work of U.S. artists.”
“Investigating cyber-enabled schemes is a top priority for CI,” said Chief Weber. “Websites such as the one seized today brazenly facilitate all kinds of illegal commerce. Criminal Investigation is committed to thoroughly investigating financial crimes, regardless of the medium. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to unravel this and other complex financial transactions and money laundering schemes where individuals attempt to conceal the true source of their income and use the Internet to mask their true identity.”
How KAT owner caught ?
An IRS agent went undercover to buy and advertise on the notorious site for five days, at the price of $300 per day. This revealed Vaulin’s e-mail account, [email protected], hosted by Apple, who provided a copy of his email inbox to authorities after being requested for help. With the help of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), US officials were easily able to obtain information about the KAT’s operations from the bank accounts used to collect payments for advertisement slots.
|“Records provided by Apple showed that [email protected] conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 126.96.36.199 on or about July 31, 2015,” reads the complaint. “The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook.”|
After further analysis of this account later disclosed the presence of KAT’s servers in Chicago.
KAT’s new domain ?
While the official site iof KAT is still offline, mirrors and copies are being launched left and right, with some misleadingly claiming to be an “official” resurrection of KAT. Rumors are in air that KAT has resurrected with new domain, KAT.am
Many blogs are talking about the Kat.am. According to theverge a statement emailed to them from the creators of KAT.am claims the site is “hosted on multiple cloud servers to prevent blockade, and the hosting information is well hidden behind Cloudflare and the complete torrent database of KAT, including the comments, user information intact can be restored.”
When I browsed the Kat.am, I found that the site is very similar to Kat.cr in terms of looks but not in functionality. Latest torrents are being uploaded by many verified uploaders but when I tried to go to uploaders pages it redirected me to other page but not users. Also login page is not working. I asked one of staff members of KAT on skype on this matter but he’s also not 100 % sure about the Kat.am.
As you can see in the above image that Kat.am owner saying that they are trying to restore complete functionality of the site and also the owner requesting to sign petition in order to free Artem Vaulin. The Petition to Free Artem Vaulin will be delivered to: justice.gov.
We know that you can’t completely remove piracy sites from the internet, but you can discourage those who want to run them. This incident will reduce the piracy for some days or months but KAT will be back on track asap. If you want to know the alternatives for KAT, then Extratorrent and thepiratebay are the two best ones remaining. As more updates will come, I’ll let you know.
Update : Kat.am also down but its replacement https://kickass.cd/ has arrived !