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Not only was he operating a KickasssTorrents Facebook page, but was doing so with a personal email address.
How personal? It was a ‘@me.com’ address, which is owned by Apple (and is the forerunner to @icloud.com). The account was used to make iTunes purchases from two IP addresses — both of which also accessed a Facebook account promoting KickassTorrents.
His email was discovered when authorities sent Facebook a warrant for information having to do with the site’s page. For example, Facebook handed over IP-address logs from the KAT fanpage to the U.S. authorities. From there, the U.S. Government turned to Apple. They were then able to cross-reference this with an IP-address Vaulin used for an iTunes transaction.
“Records provided by Apple showed that [email protected]
conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 188.8.131.52 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook Account,” Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan said. His IP addresses linked to KAT’s Facebook page was also used to access Vaulin’s Coinbase account, suggesting that the Bitcoin wallet also assisted in the investigation.
By handing over user data to the government, Apple and Facebook were acting within the legal limits, and probably there was nothing about the government’s requests that raised any red flags. It is just a normal routine.
The fact that Vaulin was using a single, personal email address for so many features and services is absurd. To just have one single email linked to something as personal as your Apple ID, which is directly applicable to you is just unbelievably unwise. This is likely going to seal his fate.
While KickassTorrents itself is dead, a clone of the file-sharing site has already appeared online, which may shut down shortly. Whether KickassTorrents or Vaulin will make a Pirate Bay-style comeback, only time will tell.