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Ex-Microsoft employee arrested for stealing Windows 8 trade secrets

21 Mar 2014

A former Microsoft employee has been arrested for allegedly stealing Windows 8 trade secrets, while working for the tech giant in Russia.

Alex Kibkalo was taken in by police earlier this week, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, accused of passing on confidential information to a tech blogger in France.

A story which is fast gaining traction across the world, the Russian national is also thought to have bragged about breaking into the Redmond campus to uncover confidential data, believed to be related to Windows 8 code.

“Having spent seven years working for Microsoft, Kibkalo is alleged to have leaked Windows 8 code to a French technology blogger in mid-2012, prior to the software’s release,” the report claims.

“Kibkalo was apparently angry over a poor performance review.”

According to his official LinkedIn page, Kibkalo began working in Microsoft’s Russian division in 2005, as an architect based in Moscow.

Working with major Russian and foreign customers such as The Bank of Savings, Central Bank, Alfa Bank, Federal Taxation Service, The State Duma, Kibkalo worked closely on infrastructure security and server virtualisation projects.

Kibkalo also participated in major events like Windows Server Launch as a speaker and organisation of IT infrastructure of such events.

“Writing the court, a Seattle-based FBI special agent said Microsoft brought its concerns to him in July, nearly a year after corporate investigators suspected Kibkalo had leaked parts of Windows 8,” the report continues.

“He is said to have admitted to passing the information to the blogger – unidentified in charging papers – after a meeting in an online forum.

“Kibkalo, a Russian national who worked there and in Lebanon for Microsoft, also alleged to have stolen Microsoft’s “Activation Server Software Development Kit,” a propriety system used to prevent the unauthorized copying of Microsoft programs.

“Speaking with the FBI, a Microsoft manager said the software development kit “could help a hacker trying to reverse engineer the code” used to protect against software piracy, according to charging papers.”

Allegedly encouraging the unidentified French blogger to share the secrets online, Kibkalo is rumoured to have finally admitted leaking unreleased Windows programs including screenshots of Windows 8 - which were unveiled on the blogger’s website.

In early September 2012, the news website claims the blogger sent the stolen software development kit code to a Microsoft employee requesting verification, a move which apparently kickstarted an investigation into Kibkalo’s action.

With the code confirmed to be authentic, Microsoft launched its own internal investigation, linking Kibkalo’s Hotmail account and implicating him in the crime.

As a result, the report claims instant messages between the pair were uncovered, which included conversations such as the one below:

“I would leak enterprise today probably,” Kibkalo told the blogger during an Aug. 2, 2012 exchange, according to charging papers.

“Hmm,” the blogger replied. “Are you sure you want to do that? Lol.”

Told the leak would be “pretty illegal,” Kibkalo is alleged to have responded “I know :)”

Arrested in Seattle on Wednesday, Kibkalo is charged with theft of trade secrets.

To read the original report by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer click here

Have you ever worked with Alex Kibkalo? If so, tell us your experiences in the comments below

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