Alex Kibkalo, who worked as a software architect for Microsoft from 2005 to 2012, was arrested in Seattle today on federal criminal charges for theft of Microsoft trade secrets, according to reports by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and ZDNet.
The Russian national, who worked for Microsoft in Russia and Lebanon, is accused of sending a French blogger parts of the Windows 8 source code, along with Microsoft’s Activation Server Software Development Kit, a key program that manages how Microsoft verifies that a user’s software isn’t pirated. A Microsoft engineer told the FBI, which investigated Kibkalo, that the SDK “could help a hacker trying to reverse engineer the code” that Microsoft uses to prevent software piracy.
Kibkalo allegedly started corresponding with the blogger, who was known for posting screenshots of Windows 8, after meeting him on a forum. The complaint alleges that he provided the blogger with updates for the prerelease version of Microsoft’s new operating system by uploading them to his personal SkyDrive account.
That, along with the blogger’s use of Hotmail, may have contributed to Kibkalo’s capture. Investigators from Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing division dug into the contents of an email account the blogger used to ask a Microsoft employee if the Activation Server SDK, and found an email from Kibkalo.
The hits don’t stop there, though. Over the course of his correspondence with the blogger, Kibkalo allegedly said that he had previously broken into Building 9 on Microsoft’s Redmond campus and attempted to copy the contents of a server.
According to the reports, Kibkalo received a poor performance review in mid-2012, and threatened to resign unless it was amended. In September of that year, investigators confronted Kibkalo over the leaks, which he allegedly admitted to.
Kibkalo is currently the Director of Project Management at 5nine Software, a Massachusetts-based company that builds security software for Windows Server and Hyper-V.