Angry with Performance Review, Microsoft Employee Steals and Shares Trade Secrets

Angry with Performance Review, Microsoft Employee Steals and Shares Trade Secrets

The Seattle PI is reporting that Alex Kibkalo, ex-Microsoft architect (according to his LinkedIn profile), is facing criminal charges for stealing and leaking early Windows 8 code to a French tech blogger. Windows 8 formally released to the public on October 26, 2012, Kibkalo delivered the stolen code in mid-2012.

In addition to the Windows 8 code, it is also alleged that Kibkalo stole Microsoft's "Activation Server Software Development Kit" which is a propriety system designed to deter criminals from making unauthorized copies of Microsoft applications. This bit of code can be used to reverse engineer applications by a hacker. The kit was used by the French blogger to make unauthorized copies of Windows 8 with the intent of cracking protections in Microsoft products.

But, this was not the first incident for Kibkalo. He also bragged about leaking large portions of Windows 7 program files before its release and admitted to delivering internal memos and documents.

Kibkalo's reason? He was angry with a performance review.

This was an angry, angry man, apparently. There's no indication about when he received the poor performance review that sent him over the edge, but it seems Kibkalo must've retained his anger for 4 years or so, since Windows 7 released in July of 2009. Like a bad spy movie from the 1980's, Kibkalo, who is a Russian national, at one point broke into Building 9 on Microsoft's Redmond campus to copy software from protected servers.

Ironically, prior to his arrest, Kibkalo was working for a security software company, 5Nine Software, Inc., that specializes security and management for Windows Server and Hyper-V. I'm sure this report is of interest to his current employer, however two members of the company's executive team also have ties to Russia, receiving degrees from institutions in Moscow. As part of the investigation and fact gathering, I'm sure the 5Nine has been queried already by the FBI investigators.

Interestingly, Kibkalo left Microsoft in September of 2012 after working there since 2005. The last reported criminal incident was recorded at the beginning of September 2012. One has to wonder if he left on his own accord because he felt he would get caught, or if Microsoft and investigators have actually been working on this case for the last 2 years. Kibkalo left Microsoft in 2012 to freelance and didn't acquire another real job (with 5Nine) until August of 2013. This seems to indicate he attempted to lay low for a while and when he believed the coast was clear he sought another private sector job, but who knows for sure.

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