The secrets included Windows 8 code that was apparently sent to a technology blogger from France – before the company released the product to the public. In addition, the now ex-employee allegedly stole Microsoft’s “Activation Server Software Development Kit” – which could be used to help out in hacking. There was speculation as well that the man also claimed he leaked much of Windows 7 before its release by the company.
In response, federal authorities arrested Alex Kibkalo, who was charged with theft of trade secrets. He was identified as a software architect who had worked for Microsoft for seven years.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer suggested the act may be in response to Kibkalo’s getting a bad review from his employer.
In a statement from Microsoft, the company said the employee provided “stolen IP, including code relating to our activation process, to a third party.”
One controversial step that Microsoft took during its extensive inquiry was actually searching the blogger’s Hotmail account to come up with the identity of the person who leaked the trade secrets.
“As part of the investigation, we took the step of a limited review of this third party's Microsoft operated accounts,” Microsoft said in a statement. “While Microsoft's terms of service make clear our permission for this type of review, this happens only in the most exceptional circumstances. We apply a rigorous process before reviewing such content. In this case, there was a thorough review by a legal team separate from the investigating team and strong evidence of a criminal act that met a standard comparable to that required to obtain a legal order to search other sites. In fact, as noted above, such a court order was issued in other aspects of the investigation.”Then, emails were seen that were sent by Kibkalo to the blogger from France, news reports said.