back to article Microsoft frisked blogger's Hotmail inbox, IM chat to hunt Windows 8 leaker, court told

An ex-Microsoft worker faces criminal prosecution in the US over allegations he leaked work-in-progress Windows 8 software to a French blogger. Russian national Alex Kibkalo was arrested in Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday, charged with the theft of trade secrets, and held in custody without bail. Kibkalo, who worked for …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Silviu C.

    And that dude used to be a software architect at MS!? Wow, MS really does hire anybody these days. From the summary it looks like they both got caught because they were dumb.

    1. BillG
      Facepalm

      It constantly amazes me the dumb things people do using the company's email.

    2. MalcolmTucker

      Well, Microsoft head argurer, Brad Smith, was recently featured in "American Lawyer" Magazine. Too bad it wasn't "Above The Law". He had an article about driving a Ferrari and his son wanted to own one. Anyways, it seems that Eddie Cue at Apple reads the same magazine, and is going to beat him to the punch. Eddie put a competitor on the dashboard of the vehicle Brad Smith's son wants. It's just too bad the dental insurer Apple selected can't get it quite right.

      Anyways, it's comforting to know that Brad Smith will screw you harder and longer than Durward Bruce Sewell. Brad Smith will also place people, like Pamela Smith, in positions where he'll ask for narrative to help his case. Brad Smith will at least call you in the morning and ask how it was. To compare, Sewell is in it for the stock options money.

      But the funny thing about Microsoft, and this is from the perspective of someone whom knows too much from spending time online. Talking about things normally shared around the water cooler, happens often, and even online. In one situation, I was discussing the idea with a friend-- Perhaps Steve Jobs (when he was alive). I suggested, that a large Washington-state company, a state who used to sell apples, desired to purchase a larger iPhone-like device. However, Microsoft just couldn't get it right. Today, that's called an iPad. Maybe Microsoft has heard about it.

      More importantly, it can be frustrating to work for Brad and Bill at Microsoft. Still, Brad Smith seems to not understand technology, and competitive non-compete agreements in the digital age.

      Indeed, I had to wait a year to tell Steve Jobs about the technology needed, and prototype platforms. I was offered a job but couldn't accept because of the NDA which also covers patents and intellectual property. So I just decided to share the concept device with someone who could do it right. Google does it right. Just look up Johnny Chung Lee, the inventor of the Microsoft Kinekt. Likely, the Marketing firm of Waggener Edstrom found him, and Johnny went to work at Google after sucking the idea out of his head.

      Often, it's usually Microsoft employees, or outside marketing companies such as this Waggener Edstrom, or the Blue-Badge employee who took the real good idea of a product and move up the ladder. If they can claim it as their idea, and bring to market, Microsoft will create an ad budget, which Steve Ballmer enjoys. Often, its these outside third party companies that call Brad Smith to sue former employees.

      I imagine this "hacker" developed the specification or documents which the R&D teams in India developed. That is subject to disclosure and review.

      Still, these marketing folks, like Pam Edstrom and Melissa Waggoner enjoy the art of the gab about a product they say their PR firm found, or possible leaks. They are the ones that whine to people like Brad Smith and Pamela Passman, to bring people to King County Court.

      This is the only court in the land that will say a NDA is more valuable than being a positive influence in society, or working to create new ideas. Still, It's just too bad Microsoft culture is one where it's more valuable to claim someone else's ideas than providing a paycheck. Microsoft culture is one which incents the employee's ability to force others to unemployment options, and increase taxpayer-funded welfare spending programs.

      1. AndyS

        I'm struggling. Can you give me a TL:DR?

      2. Gav
        WTF?

        Eh?

        I have no idea what you are talking about, or how it is in any way relevant.

        Either this is someone's idea of satire, or it's just a long series of names being dropped. If the former - it's impenetrable, if the latter - it's not credible.

      3. wikkity

        Is this some beta version auto trolling software being tested? If so it needs some work.

  2. Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III

    He stole Windows 8 RT - he should be jailed for not finishing the job and burning the code

    1. Don Jefe

      Maybe that was his original plan, but a weird kind of 'reverse Stockholm syndrome' prevented him from delivering the killing blow?

  3. dorsetknob
    WTF?

    Unreleased versions of Windows Live Messenger ""bring it on""

    Quote

    "Confidential data allegedly uploaded by Kibkalo to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account between July and August 2012 included pre-release software updates of Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, Microsoft's Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK), and unreleased versions of Windows Live Messenger, according to Microsoft's subsequent investigation."

    unquote

    Perhaps Microsuck might release this unreleased versions of unreleased versions of Windows Live MessengerMessenger to either work in tandem or replace skype

    because Skype is total crap

    I cannot use skype on my pc as it says my password is incorrect (please reset)

    yet same password works fine on android phone.

    the messenger software was very good and i used it all the time now its skype only i don't bother to use it anymore

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unreleased versions of Windows Live Messenger ""bring it on""

      Perhaps Microsuck might release this unreleased versions of unreleased versions ...

      They purposely release shitty software, and keep the good versions to themselves.

      Why provide the good tools to your competitors?

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Unreleased versions of Windows Live Messenger ""bring it on""

        I find skype to be excellent. Saves me a packet talking to family living abroad.

  4. hardboiledphil

    Held without bail for copying some window$ tat?

    Am I missing something here? That sounds a bit extreme.

    What was he going to do - go back and copy some more if he was bailed.....?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mmmm let me see.

      Russian national arrested in the US? Flight risk?

      Sheez...some people ,usually the 'tards that write M$, Winbloze, Window$, (is it still 1998), see the words Microsoft and / or Windows and the rest of the text becomes a blur.

      1. Don Jefe

        Flight risk? If our 'security' measures can't prevent a foreigner, awaiting trial, from fleeing the country I've got a great fucking idea for solving our budget woes.

        The first step will be to shitcan about 90% of the 'security' personnel we've hired since 2001 and send the senior management team from all the agencies involved to Freedom Resort and Waterpark, located near beautiful Guantanamo Bay. There they enjoy the same open air dog kennels enjoyed by so many others. During their stay they will attend daily informational seminars with complimentary water based exercise activities and intense educational activities that will help the guests identify fraud, and possibly treason, should the choose to leave Freedom Resort.

        1. Gav

          I think there is a very effective measure that can prevent someone awaiting trail not fleeing.

          It's called not granting bail. It is quite common and straight-forward.

      2. Tom 13

        Russian national arrested in the US? Flight risk?

        Putin is doing his best Hitler/Stalin impression on the world stage and you think a Russian national who is safely ensconced in the US is a flight risk?

        Heck a clever prosecutor looking for a quick confession might threaten to deport him if he doesn't confess immediately. With a carrot of once convicted he'll have a 7 year sentence at a minimum security club fed facility.

  5. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Win 8 trade secrets

    Secrets such as "How to spend millions of dollars developing an operating system nobody wants or likes"?

    1. Charles Manning

      Re: Win 8 trade secrets

      s/millions/billions/

      That's the bit that gets stock holders pissy.

      Pretty much all OS expenditure since XP has lead to products that customers want less than XP. Surely $10-20bn of expenditure* should actually improve product desirabliity.

      (*) Based on Vista being around $6bn .

    2. midcapwarrior

      Re: Win 8 trade secrets

      "Secrets such as "How to spend millions of dollars developing an operating system nobody wants or likes"?"

      as opposed to giving away millions of hours to developing an operating system nobody wants or uses.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. asdf Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Win 8 trade secrets

          >as opposed to giving away millions of hours to developing an operating system nobody wants or uses.

          curl -s -I www.theregister.co.uk | grep Server

          Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Debian) mod_apreq2-20090110/2.8.0 mod_perl/2.0.4 Perl/v5.10.1

          You sir are a fail. Its a good think a certain nameless freetard OS exists to give you a forum to spout your ignorance huh?

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Win 8 trade secrets

            as opposed to giving away millions of hours to developing an operating system nobody wants or uses

            I thought he was talking about all the nameless Microserfs mercilessly squeezed like sweat shop boys to give their Pocari Sweat to build Windows RT?

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Andus McCoatover

      Re: Win 8 trade secrets

      ...nobody wants or likes...

      Hasta la Vista, baby...

  6. Chris Miller
    Holmes

    What sort of idiot company allows people to access Hotmail from their workplace? Oh, wait ...

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      And in addition to above statement

      What sort of idiot uses the companies "own" email system to send out company confidential system from their workplace.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Couple people have where I work when they felt the axe was about to fall. No idea what they thought they were going to do with it, but they took it. All in marketing too, seems like they had the idea to use the info to market themselves....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All in marketing

          My experience is that all marketing/sales types grab a copy of the customer list to keep at home as soon as they think it is safe to do so. It's something they can offer their next employer:

          "Yeah, I have a list of all my previous customers with whom I've built a good relationship over the years. I should be able to convince them to switch suppliers..."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'in marketing too'

          I once sat a couple of desks away from the marketing department of an organisation you will have heard of.

          It was a guaranteed laugh a day at the level of ignorance, two if they were dealing with anything technical.

      2. eulampios
        Devil

        @ Chris Miller and Khaptain

        What sort of idiot employer and idiot employee are those?

        It's a Microsoft's employee and his employer. Who is a lesser idiot? Well, I am not sure.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: @ Chris Miller and Khaptain

          >>"It's a Microsoft's employee and his employer. Who is a lesser idiot? Well, I am not sure."

          And you're the one that pretended to be objective and neutral in a discussion about Windows vs. Linux security models with me. *sigh*

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What sort of idiot uses the companies "own" email system

        Well, I might. But only if I were certain it was linked to some other idiot in the company that I didn't like. And considering all the things besides the email account I'd need to check on, yeah DVD copy and an internet cafe would be far easier.

    2. Gav

      Wrong way around

      The owner of the Hotmail account was the blogger, not the Microsoft employee.

      Probably not a good idea to receive Microsoft secrets in a hotmail account, but the Microsoft employee wasn't "accessing" hotmail to send them.

  7. AJ MacLeod

    Pirate Windows 8?

    Don't think they need have worried there!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pirate Windows 8?

      They are probably happy at least one person is running Windows 8.

  8. Tom 38 Silver badge
    WTF?

    So many WTFs!

    Confidential data allegedly uploaded by Kibkalo to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account…

    …emails sent from a mail.ru account to a Hotmail address maintained by the blogger. The two allegedly chatted about the illicit exchange of information using MSN chat.

    How not to leak from your employer.

    Russian national Alex Kibkalo was arrested yesterday and ordered held without bail

    Kibkalo, who worked for the software giant in Lebanon and Russia

    Kibkalo, who was based in Lebanon at the time of the alleged leak

    The case is filed as US v. Kibkalo in the US District Court, Western District of Washington.

    TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: So many WTFs!

      world police how? He was arrested in Seattle for a crime against an American company. Not sure what you are getting at.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: So many WTFs!

        I think the question was why was he in Seattle? Did Microsoft "send him on training" to the US so he could be arrested someplace where they could find some cops that give a crap about MS "intellectual property"? Or maybe sent him an email saying he won a free cruse.

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: So many WTFs!

        world police how? He was arrested in Seattle for a crime against an American company. Not sure what you are getting at.

        He didn't commit the crimes in America. They are charging him in America. They are American crimes because the company is American. Hence, TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE - someone does something wrong somewhere else in the world, America involves itself.

        Missing from the story is how someone who works in Russia and Lebanon ended up arrested in Washington without extradition. Presumably MS asked him to fly over for a chat...

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: So many WTFs!

          "They are American crimes because the company is American."

          Actually, wouldn't the company he committed crimes against be an entity registered in Lebanon, presumably "Microsoft Lebanon"? That is a separate and distinct legal entity from "Microsoft USA". Or at least, so I am told by tax lawyers...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So many WTFs!

          Presumably MS asked him to fly over for a chat...

          What they should have done is used Skype, just to see how fucking abysmal it really is.

      3. Charles Manning

        Re: So many WTFs!

        But Obama is stealing all our bullets to make an EMP-proof cave for himself and all the other Lizard People.

        And don't forget PEAK oil!!!!!!!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So many WTFs!

        I would recommend that you watch the full (uncut) version of Team America World Police. The truth is out there, you'll see.

      5. This post has been deleted by its author

      6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: So many WTFs!

        He was arrested in Seattle for a crime against an American company.

        Holy damn! The poor company!!!

        Seriously, anyone not totally braindamaged by the sheeple-targeting/IP-defending media permashitstorm would realize that one could at best talk about an attack on the financial wellbeing of the shareholders of the company.

        Now.

        Defrauding shareholders is politically correct these days, so the accusation would have to be re-engineered into one about "irretrievably harming potential future tax revenues", which in the current climate can only be interpreted by a popular court as the most heinous crime of lèse-majesté, and thus we could go liberally medieval on the perp's arse, all in good conscience.

  9. RobHib
    Coat

    Interested eh?

    I'm surprised anyone would be interested.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Interested eh?

      "I'm surprised anyone would be interested."

      For some reason, most people are fascinated by train wrecks.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Interested eh?

        Especially french bloggers.

  10. Hans 1 Silver badge

    >The blogger implicated in the case reportedly admits blogging about the information he received as well as selling Windows Server activation keys on eBay.

    Selling activation keys on ebay ? ouch^10^10

    >Access to the software development kit could help a hacker trying to reverse-engineer the code used to protect against software piracy and thereby circumvent these controls, according to the charging papers.

    As if there were not enough keygen's for Microsoft software ...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disgruntled or sleeper agent?

  12. Peter2 Silver badge

    "the software giant, on its own initiative, peered into the Hotmail account and instant-messenger chatter"

    Host your email with us in our cloudy service, it's really secure and you can trust us not to go reading through anything on our systems that we might find interesting. Honest!

    1. Old Handle

      This is an important point. I appears that instead of getting a court order or anything (which presumably they could have done if this is now the subject of a criminal complaint) they simply took advantage of the fact that they owned the mail server and peeked away. That strikes me as very questionable, at least ethically, if not legally. I suppose there might be fine print in the ToS for this scenario.

      If this post mysteriously vanishes, it's probably because I tried to send it from a Windows PC.

      1. cyrus

        Re:

        Umm. Yes. When you use your employer's mail server (or one that they own), you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Not that any one any where using any mail server they do not personally own and run should expect any privacy whatsoever. Even then, it may not pan out that way.

        1. eulampios

          it's not only his employer's mail server

          it is also used by a few hundred other million people. Otherwise it would have been @microsoft.com, @redmond.com or @windows.com

          This news should be advertised much more. Think about all those squandered millions on the "don't get scroogled" campaign? Yeah,

          -- Google reads your emails on gmail, and if their scripts do it for them to serve you ads, our security stuff personally reads it on outlook/hotmail when we want to put you in jail! Still not willing to migrate from gmail to outlook?!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re:

          > Umm. Yes. When you use your employer's mail server (or one that they own), you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

          Umm. No. At least not without qualifying by jurisdiction.

          I suggest, for example, that you look up the relevant jurisprudence in Spain and find out how your employer (or anybody else, without a court order) cannot go looking through your email, even if it's the company's own servers.

          Even in the UK, not exactly known for being a champion of individual rights, your company is likely in trouble unless they have clearly and explicitly notified the employee that their use of company resources may be monitored (so I have been informed).

        3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Re:

          you have no reasonable expectation of privacy

          IN AMERICA!

          And other totalitarian venues.

      2. Vociferous

        > hey simply took advantage of the fact that they owned the mail server and peeked away

        That the system at all allows that is a horrible security and privacy flaw.

        > I suppose there might be fine print in the ToS for this scenario.

        ToS are not laws, not even in the US.

      3. Mikel

        It is all better now

        Microsoft has assured us that they promise to employ a former judge and outside counsel for the purpose of rubber-stamping their Hotmail snooping. So. No worries.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Peter2

      "Host your email with us in our cloudy service, it's really secure and you can trust us not to go reading through anything on our systems that we might find interesting. Honest!"

      Like Google doesn't???

      If you think you have ANY privacy using companies like MS and Google, you're deluded...

      1. bean520

        Re: @ Peter2

        "Like Google doesn't???"

        No but then Google hasn't made an advertising campaign about how it, unlike Google doesn't read your emails or collect your personal data. At least Google are upfront about it

      2. eulampios

        @ cornz 1

        the difference between Google and MSFT, as it now follows from it, is that Google throw ads at their customers, Microsoft throw their customers in jail.

        Yes, who'd have thunk that, scroogled vs. screwed:

        Hypocrisy (Frailty) -- thy name is Microsoft!

  13. bigtimehustler

    It is crazy he was using hotmail to do this, but it does raise a question. Was this his work hotmail account, or a personal hotmail account. If it was the latter he will probably have some good defence in that all of the evidence was obtained by illegal tapping of his communications...it matters little that microsoft run hotmail in much the same way it matters little that AT&T run phone communications but can not listen to your phone calls. So the devil in this one will be in the detail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > It is crazy he was using hotmail to do this,

      Except that if you actually read the article, he wasn't. He was using his mail.ru account, which is distinctly not Hotmail. It was the other bloke who was rather ill-advisedly using Hotmail and ended up dropping Ivan in the shit.

      With a bit of luck he can just deny that the @mail.ru address in question was his. Bonne chance to a US court trying to get access to mail.ru's logs.

  14. Arm

    Isn't it totally against Microsoft's privacy policy to search and read their users' Hotmail account? The blogger doesn't even work for Microsoft. How often does Microsoft read their users' email? Under what circumstances do they discard any presumption of privacy any do whatever they want with their users' data?

  15. Herby Silver badge

    Next time...

    Three words:

    Thumb drive. Mail.

    Please pay attention now!

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Next time...

      Probably this generation of "internet natives" does not even realize it is possible to transfer data with other methods than the Net! (or think the only other alternative is owls, quil and parchment, as in Harry Potter).

  16. Vociferous

    Microsoft can just read anyone's hotmail account?

    Isn't account hacking, I don't know, a tad illegal? And couldn't it, I'm just throwing ideas out here, conceivably hurt user confidence in the service?

    But hey, Microsoft OK'd that Microsoft could read his mail, so I guess that's all OK. Right?

    1. Fill

      Re: Microsoft can just read anyone's hotmail account?

      I was wondering that too. Did they need a warrant? The article implies they did not. I suppose the Terms of Service might have something stating that MS retains the right to look at your emails and your VMs.

      1. Fill

        Re: Microsoft can just read anyone's hotmail account?

        I'll answer my own question after reading their ToS:

        "Microsoft reserves the right to review materials posted to the Communication Services and to remove any materials in its sole discretion."

        They define Communication Services to include email, chat, forums, file storage, etc.

        1. bigtimehustler

          Re: Microsoft can just read anyone's hotmail account?

          Actually this really does not matter, people believe whats ToS say far too often, they do not trump law, especially so in some countries more than others. UK courts for example have time and time again said they make no different if they go against what the law says can be done. With regards to privacy and illegal wire tapping it is pretty much the same in the US. Now, as for the countries he is currently in, well I am not sure, but ultimately he is going to have to be tried in the US at some point if the extradition is accepted and so US law will apply. Meaning they can not access his private email address and just read it at their fancy regardless of what the ToS say.

  17. ReverendTed

    A lot of comments seem to suggest people think the Microsoft employee used his work e-mail account and that's what Microsoft searched. That'd be one thing, but it's worth clarifying that Microsoft searched the BLOGGER's Hotmail account.

    I'm surprised more isn't being made out of Microsoft's attacks on Google for privacy, going so far as to coin the term "Scroogled" for the way Gmail's automated systems parse e-mail content to deliver advertising. This sure puts that in perspective.

    1. Vociferous

      "Microsoft searched the BLOGGER's Hotmail account"

      Surely you jest? If that is the case, Microsoft is in deep dodo. That they own the service does NOT mean that they have the right to read users emails at will.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microscroogled?

    Deeply ironic that Microsoft is running this whole "Scroogled" campaign, slamming Google for abusing customer data.

    Then... Microsoft goes and pages through a journalist's private email on their little witch hunt.

    Can't we at least PRETEND there is privacy on the Internet?

  19. Grainge

    As punishment they should make him run Windows 8 on a laptop and make him wait until it stops freezing! He'll be there for years!

    Microsoft are the ones that should be charged, I had so many problems I ended up re installing Windows 7 and getting rid of Windows 8 altogether!

  20. Gil Grissum

    Is this bungling clown responsible for the Windows 8 train wreck? Human stupidity has stooped to a new low.

  21. Mikel

    Brilliant

    Let the whole world know you are snooping their Hotmail just to jail the one employee who got the info out before the other twenty. Spend six months paying astroturfers to pretend you were the wronged party and acted within the TOS, as if that makes it all better now. I can't wait to hear Frank Shaw's spin on this.

  22. Flyberius

    You poor wounded people.

    Point on the doll where the big mean microsoft hurt you.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: You poor wounded people.

      Here. Do you see this? It's my privacy. That's where Microsoft hurt me.

      Now, do you see this? No? That's where your integrity should have been.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dude

    You've been scroogled Microshafted!

  24. pacman7de
    Big Brother

    Following a tipoff from a source?

    'following a tipoff from a source: it's claimed the firm looked through its servers and uncovered evidence that Kibkalo had emailed the blogger's Microsoft-hosted Hotmail account to leak "proprietary and confidential trade secrets."`

    That's not what the blogger said, he states that he contacted Microsoft and asked them to confirm the legitimacy of the files, Microsoft then rifled through *his* Hotmail account, surely a violation of privacy.

    "If you're wondering how exactly the accused got caught, it's because the blogger contacted Microsoft in September 2012 to verify the Windows 8 code Kibkalo sent." link

  25. Ramazan

    Kibkalo is a ukrainian family nam, not Russian

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019