Microsoft Allegedly Searched A Blogger's Email When It Learned Of Windows 8 Leaks

Steve Ballmer OxfordSaïd Business School, University of OxfordFormer Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Microsoft authorised a search of a blogger’s Hotmail account after it learned that the blogger was receiving leaks from an employee, according to an indictment filed in federal court.

In the case, former Microsoft staffer Alex Kibkalo is accused of using various Microsoft accounts to send propietary code and software to the blogger relating to an upcoming release of Windows 8, the indictment says.

The blogger is not named.

The events happened in September 2012. At the time an unnamed “source” contacted Microsoft to say they had received some information from a blogger with a reputation for leaking Microsoft software releases ahead of the official launch dates. The indictment says:

Only after Microsoft and its private security company, Trustworthy Computer Investigations (TWCI), finished its probe of the blogger’s Microsoft accounts did they contact the FBI, the indictment says. The inside of the blogger’s Hotmail appears to be the key to the case:

Microsoft declined comment when asked about the Hotmail issue but gave Business Insider this statement on the case as a whole:

We take protection of our intellectual property very seriously, including cooperating with law enforcement agencies who are investigating potential criminal actions by our employees or others.

Kibkalo, who was based in Lebanon, is now believed to live in Russia.

Microsoft’s terms of service generally prohibit people from using Hotmail and Microsoft services in ways that are “unauthorised”:

You may not use the Services in any manner that could damage, disable, overburden, or impair any Microsoft server, or the network(s) connected to any Microsoft server, or interfere with any other party’s use and enjoyment of any Services. You may not attempt to gain unauthorised access to any Services, other accounts, computer systems or networks connected to any Microsoft server or to any of the Services, through hacking, password mining or any other means. You may not obtain or attempt to obtain any materials or information through any means not intentionally made available through the Services.

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