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Windows 8 leaker gets three months, booted back to Russia

Bulk of jail time already served

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Alex Kibkalo, the former Microsoft worker who pleaded guilty in April to leaking company secrets, is likely headed back to his native Russia in a week or so, having been sentenced to serve a brief stint in prison.

According to court documents, Kibkalo was formally sentenced on Tuesday to a three-month prison term, per his plea agreement.

It was earlier reported that Kibkalo had also agreed to repay Microsoft $22,500 in damages, but no restitution was specified in the final judgment. Rather, US District Judge John Coughenour ticked a box indicating that "the defendant is financially unable and is unlikely to become able to pay a fine and, accordingly, the imposition of a fine is waived."

Kibkalo was arrested on March 19 and has remained incarcerated ever since, meaning he has already served most of his custodial sentence and is due to be released next week.

That doesn't mean he's free to come and go as he pleases, though. In fact, only the "go" part is allowed, as US authorities plan to deport him once his sentence is served.

A Russian national, Kibkalo worked for Microsoft for seven years in offices in Russia and Lebanon. After receiving a poor performance report, he reportedly became disgruntled and leaked prerelease Windows 8 software to an unnamed French blogger.

Unfortunately for Kibkalo, the blogger's chosen email service was Microsoft's own Hotmail. After being alerted to the leak, Redmond's so-called Trustworthy Computing Investigations department scoured the blogger's Hotmail inbox and MSN chat records to identify Kibkalo, a move that rankled privacy advocates and eventually led to Microsoft altering its Hotmail terms of service.

The FBI eventually arrested Kibkalo – who reportedly holds advanced degrees in economics and mathematics and can speak seven languages – in Seattle, where he was working at a local software company on a visa.

According to online newspaper Seattlepi.com, in a letter to the court following his sentencing, Kibkalo said he was "given good lessons" by the experience and plans to write a book about it upon his return to Russia. ®

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