Former Microsoft employee arrested for allegedly stealing Windows 8 trade secrets

A former Microsoft employee has been charged with passing on Microsoft trade secrets involving Windows 8.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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