Former Microsoft employee jailed for Windows 8 leak

Written by David Hing

June 16, 2014 // 12:54 p.m.

Tags: #leak #microsoft #privacy #windows-8

A former Microsoft employee has been sentenced to three months in jail for leaking a build of Windows 8 to a French blogger.

Alex Kibkalo originally faced a 10 year stint in prison for stealing trade secrets but managed to reach a deal with federal prosecutors for a greatly reduced sentence accompanied by a $100 fine.

In reality, the sentence is even less than three months as it will not run from the date of the judgment but will instead be counted from when he was arrested back in March, as Kibkalo has been held in custody since then. This means he will actually be released some time next week, but it is reported that he will then be deported to his home country, Russia.

Kibkalo leaked pre-release information concerning Windows 8 RT along with a copy of the Activation Server Software Development Kit before the operating system's 2012 release. This particular leak piqued the interest of the media and privacy groups thanks to the unusual methods that Microsoft employed to gather evidence of the breach, as the company sifted through the receiving blogger’s Hotmail account and Live messenger chat logs to do so.

Following backlash from privacy advocates, Microsoft reworked its privacy policy back in March to promise that user data would not be gathered in this way again, even in the case of a leak of its intellectual property. Microsoft also promised not to use documents, photos and email content to target ads to users, likely a jab at Google’s current practises.

Windows 8 was released in late 2012 with its first major patch arriving in 2013 in the form of WIndows 8.1 which aimed to try and placate complains about various features of the new operating system, including the absence of the start button.

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