On Internet Competition aka Pirates

Following the updates on this subject, we came to know that the social network Facebook and the iPhone-maker Apple were a helping hand in the arrest of Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of KickAss Torrents.

A special agent named Jared Der-Yeghiayan, who works for the US Department of Homeland Security, was investing his efforts to catch the man behind the operations of KAT. Jared managed to lift the curtains off the hosts of the seven domains of the KAT family: kat.cr, kickasstorrents.com, kickass.to, kat.ph, kastatic.com, thekat.tv, and kickass.cr.

He used the reverse DNS lookup method to obtain the IP address of all the domains which led him to two of the domains hosted on the US soil, the prime ground for the US Police to catch the Vaulin.

Using the website WHOIS, Jared harvested the contact details of the registrant of these domains. The domain name kickasstorrents.biz was registered against the name of Artem Vaulin of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The bitter Apple for Tirm

From WHOIS, Jared got the email address of Vaulin which he was able to match with an Apple email account. Vaulin was using the same account to his KAT-related operations. Now the funnier part comes. The data provided by Apple on July 31, 2015, disclosed that the same Apple account was used to make iTunes purchases.

The IP address logs were analyzed to conclude that the same IP was used to operate the KAT’s Facebook page, for which the data was provided by Facebook. It’s quite ironical to hear that the founder of the world’s largest pirated content hosting website was arrested by tracking the legal purchases by him. This time, the security agencies nailed it.

Apple and Facebook, plus Homeland security. It’s almost as interesting as Department of Justice and the IRS, or FBI and Hillary Rodamn Clinton.

As with Waco 2 and SWAT killings, they generally have to go after people who don’t have political allies. In order to cut down on the “competition” for the powers that be. Once that competition has been cut down and power has been consolidated, something like Venezuela happens. It makes perfect sense to me that the tech companies that used lack of regulation to make it big, are using government regulations to get rid of the competition. This also includes various stories about Google handing the US gov, the encryption keys to encrypted data or emails.

This story is also a solid example of how not to cover your tracks online. Or, alternatively, it’s a story about the power of open source data mining.

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