Microsoft has taken an ex-employee to court after investigations by both internal and federal counterparts found software architect, Alex Kibkalo to be stealing and leaking trade secrets from Redmond. Arrested on Wednesday, it's alleged Kibkalo leaked Windows 7 program files, Windows 8 information and anti-software piracy systems.
According to a Microsoft executive, possible reasoning or motivation behind Kibkalo's actions include a poor performance review after spending seven years working for the company.
A Seattle-based FBI special agent reported that Microsoft brought its concerns to him back in July 2013, almost a year after corporate investigations suspected Kibkalo had leaked parts of Windows 8. He is said to have admitted to sharing information to a blogger after communications commenced on an online forum.
Kibkalo, a Russian national, is also alleged to have stolen Microsoft's "Activation Server Software Development Kit," a propriety system implemented to prevent the unauthorized copying of Microsoft software. Essentially, if allegations be true, Kibkalo has been leaking information to the public, as well as sensitive systems used to fight piracy.
The blogger in question who received information from Kibkalo went to a Microsoft employee to ask for verification, who went to a Microsoft executive instead. The code of the software development kit was then confirmed to be authentic, prompting the investigation to begin into communications between the blogger and his or her source.
Scanning through emails, Microsoft investigators located an email from Kibkalo, detailing Windows 8 hot fixes (the OS was still in development at this time). It's a serious finding and one which many companies fear when developing advanced products and attempting to innovate. Having trustworthy employees who are dedicated to not only their work but to the employer brand as well is important.
Kibkalo was set to appear in US District Court later on Wednesday for hearing. While we're always eager to learn about new technologies and products, there's no excuse for said practices to take place, including the theft of protection systems. We'll update when we learn more from the hearings.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.