Friday, 21 March 2014

Ex-Microsoft worker accused of secret leaks

Seattle - FBI agents arrested a former Microsoft
employee on Wednesday on charges that he stole
trade secrets from the company and leaked them to
a blogger.

Federal prosecutors are accusing Alex A Kibkalo of
stealing trade secrets related to pre-release software
updates for Windows 8 and Microsoft's "Activation
Server Software Development Kit," and giving that
information to a tech blogger in France.

Kibkalo is a Russian national and former seven-year
Microsoft employee who worked as a software
architect in Lebanon, according to a complaint filed
on Monday in a US District Court in Western
Federal agents made the arrest on Wednesday
morning in Bellevue, where he apparently was
travelling. He lives in Russia,

The complaint says an internal investigation by
Microsoft concluded that in July and August 2012,
Kibkalo uploaded the proprietary software to a
computer in Redmond and then to his personal
SkyDrive account.
Kibkalo then allegedly provided the blogger with
links to the files on his account and encouraged the
blogger to share the software development kit with
those "who might be able to reverse engineer the
software and write 'fake activation server' code," the
complaint says.
Microsoft investigators interviewed Kibkalo in
September 2012, and Kibkalo admitted he had
provided confidential Microsoft products and
information to the blogger, including "internal
unreleased 'hotfixes' for Windows 8, 'code for the
PID generator' (a technical description of the SDK),
unreleased versions of Windows Live messenger and
documents and presentations about products," an
FBI agent said in the complaint.
The Windows 8 hotfixes were intended to update
and correct critical operating system flaws prior to
the release of the operating system.
The blogger to whom Kibkalo allegedly provided the
information is unnamed in the complaint but "was
known to those in the Microsoft blogging community
for posting screenshots of pre-release versions of the
Windows Operating System." That blogger
"deliberately hid his identity," the complaint says.
The blogger allegedly admitted in an interview to
"knowingly obtaining confidential and proprietary
Microsoft IP from Kibkalo, and selling Windows
Server activation keys on eBay." The complaint also
says computer files found in the blogger's home
showed the blogger trying to get Kibkalo to find pre-
release software, attempting to use Kibkalo's
corporate network access to get into Microsoft
servers, and discussing Kibkalo leaking data.
Microsoft issued a statement on Wednesday, saying:
"We take protection of our intellectual property very
seriously, including co-operating with law
enforcement agencies who are investigating
potential criminal actions by our employees or
Kibkalo could not be immediately reached for
comment.The Seattle Times

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