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Ex-Microsoft employee arrested for leaking trade secrets

Secrets leaked to blogger who sold information online

Ex-Microsoft employee arrested for leaking trade secrets
Kibkalo uploaded exclusive software including pre-release software updates of Windows 8 RT and ARM devices

Former Microsoft employee, Alex Kibkalo has been arrested for leaking confidential company documents and information to an unnamed technology blogger in France, according to online reports.

Russian National Kibkalo was based in Lebanon and worked for Microsoft for seven years as a senior architect and most recently served as a director of product management in 5nine Software (according to his LinkedIn profile). He was arrested on Wednesday, according to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Online reports say that according to a complaint filed on 17 March in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, Kibkalo was found by Microsoft to have elicited assistance from an acquaintance in Washginton state to set up a virtual machine on a server to help distribute the data and products.

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

According to Microsoft's investigation, in July and August 2012, Kibkalo uploaded proprietary software including pre-release software updates of Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, as well as the Microsoft Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK) to a computer in Washington and subsequently to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account.

A Microsoft spokesman said in an emailed statement to Reuters: "We take protection of our intellectual property very seriously, including co-operating with law-enforcement agencies who are investigating potential criminal actions by our employees or others".

The court documents reportedly said that during interviews, the blogger admitted to posting information on Twitter and his websites and selling Windows Server activation keys on eBay.

Kibkalo was caught after the blogger emailed Microsoft to confirm the authenticity of the leaked Windows 8 code. Investigators at the firm then reportedly looked through the blogger’s Hotmail account and instant messenger chats to identify the source of the leak, and found an email from Kibaklo.

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