TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Man Sentenced for Stealing Microsoft Code

Man Sentenced for Stealing Microsoft Code

Associated Press News Wire (
Sat, 28 Jan 2006 22:02:52 -0600

A Connecticut man known on the Internet as 'illwill' was sentenced to
two years in prison Friday for stealing the source code to Microsoft
Corp.'s Windows operating software, among the company's most prized

William Genovese Jr., 29, of Meriden, Conn., was sentenced by U.S.
District Judge William H. Pauley, who called Genovese 'a predator who
has morphed through various phases of criminal activity in the last
few years.'

Genovese pleaded guilty in August to charges related to the sale and
attempted sale of the source code for Microsoft's Windows 2000 and
Windows NT 4.0. The code had previously been obtained by other people
and unlawfully distributed over the Internet, prosecutors said.

Source code is the blueprint in which software developers write
computer programs. With a software program's source code, someone can
replicate the program. Industry experts expressed concern that hackers
reviewing the Microsoft software code could discover new ways to
attack computers running some versions of Windows.

Prosecutors said in an indictment in February 2004 that Genovese
posted a message on his Web site offering the code for sale on the
same day that Microsoft learned significant portions of its source
code were stolen.

Genovese was arrested when an investigator for an online security
company hired by Microsoft and an undercover FBI agent downloaded the
stolen source code from his Web site after sending him electronic
payments for it.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., had previously shared parts of its
source code with some companies, U.S. agencies, foreign governments
and universities under tight restrictions that prevented them from
making it publicly available.

A Microsoft spokesman said last year that the company was confident
the Windows blueprints weren't stolen from its own computer network.

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press.

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