Ex-Microsoft worker arrested for passing Windows 8 trade secrets to blogger

20 Mar 2014

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A former senior software architect at Microsoft has been arrested and charged over allegedly stealing Windows 8 trade secrets and passing them along to a tech blogger in France.

Former senior architect Alex Kibkalo, apparently because he was unhappy with a recent performance review, is accused of passing the secrets that included vital details about Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, as well as a server SDK that could have allowed hackers to reverse engineer-critical code.

Kibkalo is alleged to have leaked vital Windows 8 code to an unnamed blogger in 2012 prior to the release of the software.

Microsoft had noticed something was amiss when screenshots started appearing in tech blogs across the world revealing details of the upcoming release.

According to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, corporate investigators contacted an FBI agent to investigate the situation.

It was discovered that as well as the Windows 8 data, Kibkalo is alleged to have stolen Microsoft’s Activation Server Software Development Kit.

Access to this would help a hacker reverse engineer code used to defend Microsoft’s software against piracy.

Bragging

It is claimed Kibkalo sent the SDK to the blogger and encouraged the blogger to share the code online.

When the blogger approached a Microsoft executive to validate the code, alarm bells went off.

Despite the blogger claiming to be based in Quebec, Canada, an investigation back through the blogger’s Hotmail account determined the blogger’s location, as well as messages implicating Kibkalo as the person behind the Windows 8 leaks and the SDK theft.

Not only that, but the messages between Kibkalo and the blogger also revealed Kibkalo allegedly bragging about the breach, claiming to have previously leaked portions of Windows 7 prior to its release and preparing to release Enterprise SDK.

Kibkalo also is believed to have described to the blogger how he infiltrated Building 9 on Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus and attempted to copy a server.

He was charged at a district court in Seattle yesterday.

Trade secrets image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com