The FBI arrested the owner of the torrent website KickassTorrents, the world’s biggest torrenting site. Apple gave details of an iTunes purchase that enabled the agency to locate Artem Vaulin from Ukraine.
KickassTorrents (KAT) recently surpassed The Pirate Bay (TPB) as the world’s biggest torrenting website. The U.S. will seek Vaulin’s extradition after his arrest in Poland on July 20. The charges include two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
According to the complaint [PDF], the FBI pretended to be an advertiser which revealed a bank account associated with KAT. When Vaulin purchased something via iTunes, the FBI cross-referenced his IP address used for the purchase with an IP address used to log into a Facebook account.
The complaint reads:
“Records provided by Apple showed that email@example.com conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 220.127.116.11 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook.”
After the arrest, the court granted seizure of a bank account associated with KAT and additional domain names that Vaulin controlled. Assistant Attorney General Caldwell commented on the issue and said that KickassTorrents is responsible for distributing over 1 billion in pirated files.
“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.”
U.S. Navy: Pirates?
In the related and somewhat ironic news a German technology company recently accused the U.S. Navy of pirating “hundreds of thousands” of 3D virtual reality software and is seeking $600 million in damages.
The Navy wanted to use the software called BS Contact Geo. It has capabilities of converting geographical information into 3D virtual reality maps, using data from land surveys, satellite imagery or airborne laser scanning.
Bitmanagement gave the Navy 38 software licenses “for the purpose of testing, trial runs and integration into Navy systems.” The Navy tested the software and promised to purchase enough copies for their computers. Emails later showed the Navy installed the software on at least 558, 466 computers.
“Even as it negotiated with Bitmanagement over the proposed large-scale licensing of its product, the Navy was simultaneously copying and installing that software, without Bitmanagement’s advance knowledge or authorization, on a massive scale.”
This is not the first time either. In 2013 the Obama administration paid Apptricity $50 million for pirating the company’s logistics software. The U.S. Army used the software across the Middle East. After years of battles in court, both parties ultimately settled for the above sum.