Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Stealing Trade Secrets


Former Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo was arrested Wednesday and accused of stealing Microsoft trade secrets, sharing those secrets with a French blogger, and bragging about his exploits.

Seattle-based FBI special agents investigating the matter allege Kibkalo, a seven-year Microsoft veteran who currently works for Boston-based 5nine Software, stole Microsoft trade secrets related to Windows 8 code and leaked the information to a French technology blogger in mid-2012 ahead of the software's official release.

Kibkalo is also accused of stealing Microsoft’s “Activation Server Software Development Kit,” a proprietary system used to prevent the unauthorized copying of Microsoft programs. In addition, law enforcement accuses Kibkalo of leaking large portions of Windows 7 prior to its release.

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Kibkalo, a Russian national who worked in Microsoft's Redmond headquarters and also the software giant's overseas Lebanon offices, was motivated to steal trade secrets because of poor performance reviews, according to a report by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Microsoft was aware of Kibkalo's activities early on and confirmed its suspicions after allegedly tracking his online activities via a Hotmail account under an assumed name.    

Investigators tracked down Kibkalo via correspondence with the unnamed French blogger. His actions came to light when the blogger tried to confirm Kibkalo's leaked code with a second Microsoft employee. Instead of confirming the legitimacy of the code, the second Microsoft employee, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, notified investigators within Microsoft.

Corporate investigators tracked down Kibkalo's Hotmail account (which was under a false name) and cross-referenced it with a public forum post regarding Windows 8 "hot fixes."  

Kibkalo has reportedly admitted to sharing the software, as well as a raft of Microsoft memos and documents. He faced a U.S. District Court later Wednesday for an initial hearing.

PUBLISHED MARCH 20, 2014