Former Microsoft employee arrested for allegedly stealing Windows 8 trade secrets

Former Microsoft employee arrested for allegedly stealing Windows 8 trade secrets

Summary: A former Microsoft employee has been charged with passing on Microsoft trade secrets involving Windows 8.

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Alex Kibkalo, a former senior architect at Microsoft who most recently served as a Director of Product Management in 5nine Software (according to his LinkedIn profile), has been arrested for allegedly stealing Windows-related trade secrets while working for Microsoft.

Kibkalo was arrested on Wednesday, according to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

According to a complaint filed on March 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Kibkalo -- a Russian national and former Microsoft employee based in Lebanon -- passed on trade secrets involving Windows 8 to an unnamed technology blogger in France.

Microsoft's own investigation found that Kibkalo "uploaded proprietary software including pre-release software updates for WIndows 8 RT and ARM devices, as well as the Microsoft Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK) to a computer in Redmond, Washington and subsequently to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account." Kibkalo is then said to have provided the blogger with links to the file on his account.

The unnamed blogger was "known to those in the Microsoft blogging community for posting screenshots of pre-release versions of the Windows Operating System," according to the complaint. This person also posted information to his own Web sites and on Twitter, according to the document. Kibkalo was found by Microsoft to have elicited assistance from an acquaintance in Washington State to set up a virtual machine on a server to help distribute the data and products, the complaint said.

Kibkalo worked for Microsoft for seven years, according to the complaint. It also notes that in 2012, Kibkalo received "a poor performance review and threatened to resign if the review was not amended," before he left the company.

The complaint claims that Kibkalo acknowledged leaking "confidential and proprietary Microsoft information, products and product-related information to the blogger."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Kibkalo joined 5nine Software in August 2013 as Director of Product Management for Security and Management products. His profile also claims he worked at Microsoft as an architect, most recently in the area of virtualization for banks and governments, starting in 2005.

Kibkalo has a bio page on Microsoft TechNet.

Update: My ZDNet colleague Ed Bott has more on the steps Microsoft took to track down Kibkalo. He also notes that Microsoft has committed to make some policy and transparency changes to its procedures involving investigation of information hosted in its own mail and other services.

Topics: Windows 8, Legal, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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163 comments
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  • I stole the

    blueprints of the Hindenberg.
    SunFire23
    • Re: I stole the blueprints of the Hindenberg....

      As with Windows 8 that was another disaster on epic scale.
      5735guy
      • Amazing

        !!!
        MarknWill
        • LOL

          I notice he just passed the info on...... I mean it wasn't like he was going to be able to make any actual money actually selling the secrets of Win8 was it.....
          The Central Scrutinizer
          • You laugh? msft needs to pay up

            It's not like Microsoft is making any actual money with the secrets of Win8 either. Microsoft should pay the guy for all the publicity. Microsoft is such a sorry ass company.
            StevenAbaby
          • You didn't pay attention

            He supposedly took something dealing with activation, which would have cost Microsoft money.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • True, and

            His comment already shows that staying in touch with reality is not his strong point.
            onefussyone
          • I mean he is Ababy...

            come on..
            ScanBack
          • Right on!

            You speak the truth! LOL! This world is nuts. So many millions of people, that pay good money to buy the worst small/medium computer OS -think of USDC p-System, OS2, Linux, and others- that was ever developed, makes you think about ordinary people's sanity! Of course most of the blame must be placed with the politicians and the corruption they represent. The order -directly or indirectly- to IT decision makers was "Go with Micro$oft, because ...". The reason was and is the kickbacks they receive(d) from the manufacturers/IT integrators/Commercial chains/other "advisors" who get higher profits from M$ products due to direct links with M$-Intel duo.
            spykor
          • OMG I heard the theif got away with

            the box of Children's Building Blocks from the Win8 team break room.
            Telexer
          • Trust

            There is one major aspect with this.

            In most jobs where there is R&D, and or marketing, or dealings with finances, there is the aspect of trust and confidentiality. For many types of jobs the employee is asked to take an oath of trust for his job.

            The key issue here is not what the value is. It is something what we refer to as trust and this is what is very important.

            When we see any professional such as a doctor, a lawyer, or even a priest, and we discuss something personal, these people are under an oath of trust for the type of job they are doing.

            When we come home from our job, even if we are not under a direct oath it is still very important we keep to ourselves the goings on where we work. Nothing more than trivial things should be discussed with anyone outside of the job. What happens at our job should stay at the job. It is the same thing as when we go to work at our job we don't discuss the intimate things that are done with our spouse. It's nobodies business.
            jerryg50
          • A friend who used to work at MS...

            ...tells me that to even know about the Surface before its release, you had to sign a confidentiality agreement.

            So far, standard.

            But you had to sign another confidentiality agreement before they would even let you see or know about that one.
            fairportfan
    • Or....

      Stealing trade secrets of Windows 8 is like stealing blueprints for the Vanguard TV3.
      Pollo Pazzo
      • You're really desperate aren't you?

        If you have something against Microsoft, that's perfectly fine with us, there's no problem with that.

        Spreading the same FUD three times in a row however, is just plain annoying.

        Honestly, take your comments elsewhere.

        They're tasteless and unfunny.
        ForeverCookie
        • Re: You're really desperate aren't you?

          A Taste of your own medicine.

          Pay Back for all the Anti-Apple crap you spew.
          5735guy
          • Anti-Apple crap?

            You mean praising Mac hardware and OS X, but disliking iOS?

            According to 5735guy's logic, supporting one part of a business and not liking another constitutes as fan-boy mudslinging.

            Oh well, whatever you say.

            I guess that when there's nothing to pick at, people will pull straws out of their rears to try and make a point.
            ForeverCookie
          • What a goof

            you need to check the posts again...what bone head.
            ScanBack
        • Windows 8 isn't successful

          Windows Vista had 15% marketshare in 2009 according to netmarketshare.com and Windows 8 combined with Windows 8.1 has less than that currently. I think Microsoft is a great company and tries very hard to make great products. Just because you don't like a particular product or think a particular product is bad or is unsuccessful doesn't you're against a company. A lot of Windows users who've been using Windows since the Windows 9x days don't like Windows 8 and that doesn't somehow mean they don't like Microsoft.
          Pollo Pazzo
          • wiredchicken

            "Just because you don't like a particular product"

            It's more than not liking (although it is part of it), it is a productivity liker.

            Microsoft has no right to build a Eco system that the world depends on, and then undo all of that so I can have a half functionality apps, half power box, cumbersome paper weight, when I need to get things done.

            There is no reason they couldn't have a metro on/OFF!!!!!! switch, for those of us that dare to live in a world that Facebook and cell phones don't twitter our lives.

            It's not that I hate Microsoft in fact it is because they HAD such a good thing then forced crap onto us is where the hate comes from. I want them to undo that and give us a REAL OS UI back, and if they want the mental illness that is metro they can give us an on OFF switch. Other wise Linux will become my main OS of choice and windows 7 will be VM and/or duel boot when it is finely obsolete.
            Michelle8999
          • So...

            Set your Win8 boxes to boot to desktop and pin your favorite apps to the task bar. That way you'll rarely have to see the start screen at all and can use Win8 just as you've always used Windows.

            Why is that so hard for some frothy h8ers to grok?
            bitcrazed