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Former Microsoft employee arrested and charged with leaking company information

A former Microsoft Corp. employee was arrested Wednesday for leaking confidential information regarding the Redmond-based tech company.

Alex Kibkalo was charged in U.S. District Court in Seattle with theft of trade secrets after he uploaded "proprietary software including pre-release software updates for Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, as well as the Microsoft Activation Software Development Kit (SDK) to a computer in Redmond…and subsequently to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account," according charging documents. Kibkalo, a Russian national who had been in Lebanon at the time, transmitted this information to a technology blogger in France in July and August 2012. The suspect encouraged the blogger, who remains unnamed in documents, to share the SDK — an internal product development kit used for product key validation and distributed for internal use only — with others "who might be able to reverse the software and write 'fake activation server' code," charging papers state.

Microsoft launched an internal investigation after the blogger sent the stolen information to a Microsoft employee on Sept. 3, 2012. "The blogger asked the (employee) to examine the contents of the code to help the blogger better understand its contents," charging documents state. The employee took the information to the former president of Microsoft's Windows Division.

Microsoft investigators interviewed Kibkalo on Sept. 24, 2012 and he admitted "he had provided confidential Microsoft products and information to the blogger and confirmed that he did so via his SkyDrive account and the computer in Redmond," according to court documents. Kibkalo admitted to stealing "hotfixes" for Windows 8, the SDK, unreleased versions of Windows Live messenger and documents and presentations about products, charging papers state.

The documents state that Kibkalo had been a seven-year Microsoft employee. In 2012, he had received a poor performance review and "threatened to resigned if the review was not amended," according to charging papers.

Microsoft's investigation also revealed instant messaging conversations between Kibkalo and the blogger discussing transferring data between themselves, Kibkalo leaking the information as well as discussions about how they might get caught.

"I would leak enterprise today probably," Kibkalo told the blogger on Aug. 2, 2012, according to charging papers.

"Hmm," the blogger said in response, "are you sure you want to do that? lol."

Charging documents also reveal a later conversation on Aug. 12, 2012, in which the blogger told Kibkalo leaking the information is "crossing a line you know pretty illegal."

In response, Kibkalo said, "I know :)" documents state.

Microsoft contacted the FBI in July 2013 with its investigators' results.

Kibkalo has been detained in a correction facility pending his trial.

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