Apple Helped FBI Identify Alleged Owner of World's Largest Torrent Site

kickasstorrents_500x500U.S. authorities have arrested the alleged owner of the world's largest torrent site after Apple shared personal details linked to an iTunes transaction that enabled federal investigators to locate their suspect.

According to TorrentFreak, Ukranian-born Artem Vaulin was arrested yesterday in Poland on suspicion of running KickassTorrents (KAT), which recently surpassed The Pirate Bay as the go-to site for unofficial copies of movies, TV shows, and music.

The U.S. Justice Department has requested 30-year-old Vaulin's extradition on charges of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. The key piece of evidence that led authorities to Vaulin appeared to come when Apple handed over his personal details after investigators matched an IP address used to log in to the KAT Facebook page with one linked to an iTunes purchase.

Filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago, the criminal complaint reads: "Records provided by Apple showed that tirm@me.com conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 109.86.226.203 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook."

According to the complaint, KAT operates in 28 languages and offered movies still in cinemas, as well as other content, earning significant revenue from advertising throughout the site. Investigators also reportedly posed as an advertiser to the site, which revealed a bank account associated with it.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates KAT's value to be over $54 million, with annual advertising revenue in the range of $12.5 million to $22.3 million. KAT reportedly helped distribute over $1 billion in pirated files, according to assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell, who commented on the case.

"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," said Caldwell. "His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice."

In addition to Vaulin's extradition, the criminal complaint has also ordered the seizure of a bank account associated with the site, as well as the seizure of several KAT domain names. TorrentFreak reports that while the main KAT domain appears to be down, various proxies still lead to working versions of the site.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

haruhiko Avatar
70 months ago
Apple values its customers' right to privacy and will not hand over personal details to the FBI and will contest it in court.... (unless you dare to compete with iTunes)

(j/k)
Score: 97 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vmachiel Avatar
70 months ago
The world is on fire, and the FBI is chasing torrent users...
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
load97 Avatar
70 months ago
Apple values its customers' right to privacy and will not hand over personal details to the FBI and will contest it in court.... (unless you dare to compete with iTunes)

(j/k)
I was thinking the same thing. WTF Apple? Sad, real sad. Let the terrorist go, but not the copyright infringer...
Score: 61 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
70 months ago
What happened to that whole "Privacy" buzz You've been banging on about Apple?
Basic knowledge of the matter would help here.

Apple has ALWAYS helped investigations, when requested. But what Apple can't do is crack an encrypted iPhone (see: FBI case).

But who cares about truth, and logic, when there's such fine material for good old trolling?
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fitshaced Avatar
70 months ago
Bad Apple
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Oirectine Avatar
70 months ago
Embarrassed to say so, but it was one of my favorite and most used sites. :-/
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iphone holiday

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:58 am PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2021 sales have now carried over into Cyber Monday as well. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like iPhone SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...
airpods family holiday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:04 am PST by
Black Friday 2021 deals are still going strong into Cyber Monday, and in this article we're tracking the best deals across Apple's AirPods lineup. Throughout the week we've been sharing the best sales for Apple devices like iPhone, Mac, and iPad, so be sure to follow us on Twitter for all of the latest Black Friday sales Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When...
apple mixed reality headset mockup feature purple

Kuo: Apple AR Headset Coming in Late 2022 With Mac-Level Computing Power

Thursday November 25, 2021 8:32 pm PST by
Apple's long-rumored augmented reality (AR) headset project is set to bear its first fruit late next year with the launch of the first device carrying a pair of processors to support its high-end capabilities, according to a new research report from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. According to Kuo, the higher-end main processor is said to be similar to the M1 chip Apple...
apple watch cellular holiday

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:55 am PST by
The Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, and for Black Friday 2021 we're tracking a few solid offers on numerous models of the Apple Watch. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on the new Apple Watch 7, but the best money-saving discounts will be found on older models like the Apple Watch Series 3 and SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:48 am PST by
Although Black Friday sales began as early as October in 2021, the shopping holiday is now officially underway and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad Pro and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a...
mac family holiday

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:29 am PST by
Our Black Friday 2021 coverage continues with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac mini today. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Huge List of Black Friday Deals on iPhone and Mac Cases, Cables, Accessories and Software

Friday November 26, 2021 5:09 am PST by
Black Friday is in full swing today, and in this article we're highlighting some of the best deals that you can find online among popular third-party accessory makers like Twelve South, Nomad, Satechi, and many more. Visit our Black Friday Roundup for a deeper dive into the best sales going on today. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
apple black friday shopping event 2021

Apple's Black Friday Promotion Now Underway in the U.S. and More Countries

Friday November 26, 2021 12:07 am PST by
Apple's annual four-day Black Friday through Cyber Monday shopping event is now underway in the United States and select other countries, with customers able to receive a free Apple gift card with the purchase of select products through November 29. Participating countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany,...