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Microsoft Security

Windows Source Code Seller Arrested 275

Posted by samzenpus
from the stealing-is-futile dept.
prostoalex writes "New York Times says William O. Genovese Jr., 27, of Meriden, Conn. has been arrested by the Feds for selling source code for Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems. It's not perfectly clear whether Genovese was selling the portion of the code that was leaked earlier this year or if he had access to other portions of Windows source code. The timing, though, coincides, as the code leaked in February, the same month NYT claims the entrepreneur obtained the source code."
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Windows Source Code Seller Arrested

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  • United States (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scoria (264473) <slashmail@@@initialized...org> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:05AM (#10786423) Homepage
    It's not perfectly clear whether Genovese was selling the portion of the code that was leaked earlier this year

    It's not perfectly clear whether Genovese was selling [the code] at all. Innocent until proven guilty, despite what our current administration would have you believe.
    • Other than the snipe at the administration, which can be proven true since even the new ag has argued that we can hold people without access to lawyers, there is no reason to call an accurate statement flamebait.
    • More accurate (and perhaps more timeless)

      Innocent until proven guilty, despite what our newspaper editors or television reporters would have you believe.

      Sensational sells...

      • Re:United States (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Scoria (264473) <slashmail@@@initialized...org> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @10:00AM (#10786802) Homepage
        More accurate (and perhaps more timeless)

        Innocent until proven guilty, despite what our newspaper editors or television reporters would have you believe.

        Sensational sells...


        You make an excellent point; however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish government propaganda from that which is created by our popular media. Our "free press" no longer questions, and our independent media is often suppressed by the prodigious corporate entities.

        In fact, one might compare our popular media to an "objective review service" that publishes only corporate press releases. Everything else, such as excessive coverage of the Laci Peterson case, is merely a diversion. But, as your statement implies, it is much more profitable than practicing objective journalism.
        • Exactly. The innocent until proven guilty thing only works in the court and not the public opinion. To everyone but the jury, Peterson is a murderer, OJ is a murderer, Kobe is a rapist.

          If Peterson is found innocent, whether he did it or not, there will always be wispers about him. He will have trouble finding a job (if the book and movie sales don't support him for life). These public trials are a travesty of our legal system. It is completly unfair to those who are innocently accused.
      • The presumption of innocence is a restraint on the behavior of the federal government and 49 state governments, not on the media. If a newspaper editor wants to call someone guilty who hasn't been convicted, he's free to do so...if he's willing to risk losing a libel suit should the person be acquitted.

        rj
      • Re:United States (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zymurgyboy (532799)
        Something that's always fascinated me with regard to the "innocent until proven guilty" concept: You're innocent until you're tried, then you're either guilty or not guilty. It's a situation of "innocence lost" regardless of the outcome.
    • care to place a wager?
    • And if he was caught by selling it to an underover agent, was he still not selling it until proven guilty? Anyway that reference "every person must be presumed innocent until proven guilty" is in reference to the legal system not to the general public. Case in point, my brother in-law stole beer from me, he is guilty of it as I caught him doing it, the court of law will never find him guilty since I've not reported such an insignificant thing... I guess he is innocent for you eh?

      I guess that there are no
  • Too bad he didn't have the right compiler, all he got were thousands of thousands of code errors when trying to compile it.
  • by Awestruckin (824416) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:06AM (#10786427)
    ...is that the guy sold the source code printed on soft white double-ply. (unscented.)
  • If there's one thing worse than someone stealing source code and spreading it over the internet, its someone who didn't do the hard work of obtaining it that tries to profit from the actions of others. While I don't condone the original source theft, I hold far greater contempt for those that try and cash in on it.
  • linux code (Score:5, Funny)

    by Outsider_99 (761534) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:07AM (#10786435)
    I heard that people are now leaking the linux code all over the place ;)
  • Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Heem (448667) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:08AM (#10786438) Homepage Journal
    Wow, virtually my neighboor. Nothing interesting happens around here. I wonder where he was working and If I can have his job? haha.

    (yes, I'm looking for IT work in Connecticut)
  • by glh (14273) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:08AM (#10786439) Homepage Journal
    He tried to use Paypal to sell it, or he sold it for only $20?? Apparently, he doesn't place a high value on MS's source code...
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:08AM (#10786442)
    Commercially driven hackers?
    Business rivals? (alleged code copying)
    Open Source community? (alleged code stealing)
  • by Advocadus Diaboli (323784) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:10AM (#10786449)
    ... now lets hope that in the next step we extend the arrest to sellers of Windows binary code.
  • Disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quigonn (80360) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:12AM (#10786459) Homepage
    I find it disgusting that /. (and other news sites) publish the arrested person's full name. This person is not yet proven guilty, and still has a right for privacy and personal integrity - when a British newspaper published the names of convicted child molesters, lynch mobs formed to try to hunt down and kill those people. This should never happen, as it is totally against the concept of a modern constitutional state.
    • Re:Disgusting (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:14AM (#10786478) Homepage
      Despite what people think, there is no right to privacy or "personal integrity" in the US Constitution. Maybe there should be, but as now there isn't.

      • Re:Disgusting (Score:3, Informative)

        by ZB Mowrey (756269)
        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...{snip}

        This is generally construed... and has been promulgated by SCOTUS... as a right to privacy.

        • Re:Disgusting (Score:3, Informative)

          by NotoriousQ (457789)
          Publishing someone's name is not an unreasonable search and seizure of a person or his effects.

          What the amendment says is that it takes a warrant or probable cause to do a body search. This also means that airport security can not conduct random searches, because AFAIK that is not a good enough reason. So next time you are searched in the airport, just show them this article. They "must" let you go, but will probably not let you board (their prerogative).

          Unfortunately, I believe it is currently illegal t
      • Re:Disgusting (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lord_Slepnir (585350)
        It's covered in the 9th amendment

        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      • Re:Disgusting (Score:2, Insightful)

        by taxevader (612422)
        >

        Unless you are a woman making false accusations of rape to try and make a quick buck. Ask Kobe Bryant, whose name has been dragged through the mud while the accuser remains protected, even after the charge was dismissed.

      • Despite what people think, there is no right to privacy or "personal integrity" in the US Constitution. Maybe there should be, but as now there isn't.

        Just because it isn't in the constitution doesn't mean we don't have it. If, fo instance, the second ammendment were repealed, we'd still have the right to keep and bear arms - it just wouldn't be explicitly recognized.

        Do note that the 1st and 4th ammendment stronly imply a right to privacy and it has been upheld by the SCOTUS.

      • Re:Disgusting (Score:2, Insightful)

        by stinkpad (810024)
        Uh, wrong. This country (USA) was founded on the idea that rights are unalianable. (Granted by GOD, not man. see declaration of independence. ) The Constitution give the Federal Government certain LIMITED powers, and the first 8 of 10 amendments spell out clearly what the government MAY NOT DO. All rights NOT ENUMERATED are retained BY THE PEOPLE, and the STATES, repspectively. Read the 9th and 10th amendment. If the Federal Government needs additional powers, legally the constitution must be amended to
        • The right to presumed innocent is merely a legal standard. It's another way of saying that it's the people's buren to prove guilt. There is NOTHING in the Constitution that citizens or the press are to assume that someone is innocent. We're still free to believe anything we want.

    • > This should never happen, as it is totally against
      > the concept of a modern constitutional state.

      Get a grip to reality, we're talking about the US here.
    • Re:Disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jmcmunn (307798) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:20AM (#10786519)

      Why is this guy special? They can give your name and say you were the "alleged" murderer. Or you were "allegedly" invloved in some sort of crime.

      Lets think about it, the terrorist watch list is nothing more than some "alleged" terrorists for the most part. Not all of them have actually been found guilty of anything. Some have of course, but not all.

      So, no. You don't have to be proved guilty. He can of course sue the pants off everyone who ruins his reputation by filing a civil lawsuit or something if he turns out innocent and people have dragged him through the mud.

      But if they released his full name you can bet they are pretty sure about this one.
      • Re:Disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lord Byron II (671689) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:38AM (#10786608)
        But if they released his full name you can bet they are pretty sure about this one. But that attitude is precisely the problem. First, our system is about "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt", not "they are pretty sure" and second, that assumption is already tainting potential jurers in to believing the man is guilty long before the trial even begins.
        • our system is about "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt", not "they are pretty sure"

          Well shit, we better tell the police to stop arresting people unless they catch them in the act. How else are they supposed to know if someone's 100% guilty or not?

          that assumption is already tainting potential jurers in to believing the man is guilty long before the trial even begins.

          Have you ever served on a jury in the US? If you're familiar at all with the case from stories in the media, you're going to be removed fr
          • Re:Disgusting (Score:3, Informative)

            by Bas_Wijnen (523957)

            our system is about "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt", not "they are pretty sure"

            Well shit, we better tell the police to stop arresting people unless they catch them in the act. How else are they supposed to know if someone's 100% guilty or not?

            The police is allowed to arrest suspects. That has nothing to do with it. Your grantparent said:

            But if they released his full name you can bet they are pretty sure about this one.

            which implies that there is a difference between suspects depending on how

    • This should never happen, as it is totally against the concept of a modern constitutional state.

      Which, er, Britain isn't. No constitution, or at least not one that's written down. Secondly, the lynch mobs (as you call them) weren't actually trying to kill said child molesters - they were trying to drive them out of town. Which you can argue is equally reprehensible, and I would agree that it is, but that's a long way from lynch mobs trying to kill people.

      • but that's a long way from lynch mobs trying to kill people.
        The problem with lynch mobs is that they are stupid. Mobs don't have strategy, vision, goals, plans and the like. They might have intentions, but mostly they just have impulses. When a mob forms with the intention to attack a presumed child molestor (though a paediatrician will do just fine too), they might be provoked into beating him, into setting his house on fire and possibly even killing him.

        Any vigilantism is dangerous, but mob vigilantism
    • Re:Disgusting (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AndroidCat (229562)
      The name of a person charged with a criminal offence is a matter of public record. (Except when it's not released to protect minors involved in the case.) The time to get nervous is when names, charges and trials are kept secret.

      And I doubt too many people will be forming a lynch mob over Windows source code.

    • Re:Disgusting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blowdart (31458)
      How strange. It's perfectly within the "rights" (not that we have a written constitution that documents rights) of UK papers to print the names of those people who have been arrested and charged, except where they are under a certain age. This can, of course, cause problems, the most obvious ones being rape cases where the accuser keeps their anonymity even if is found the case has no merit or was malicious.

      I assume you will be leaving the UK to find this halcyon modern consitutional state.

    • when a British newspaper published the names of convicted child molesters, lynch mobs formed to try to hunt down and kill those people. This should never happen, as it is totally against the concept of a modern constitutional state.

      Well, that won't happen in this case, because nobody gives a shit about Windows source code.

    • While it may be tacky, it is part of *public* record if one is arrested. Regardless of eventual outcome.

      ( that is, unless you are minor )

      Would you rather have names hidden? All evidence of people being arrested and held a secret? Be careful what you wish for.
    • I agree, but the rules on that differ from country to country. In Holland it is like you say, only a name and a single letter as surname, untill the trial is over.
  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by methangel (191461) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:13AM (#10786468)
    All Mr. Genovese needed to do was state on the website that the fee was for the bandwidth/donation. Blatantly asking for money for something that is pirated is never a good idea. Especially with a large conglomerate like Microsoft.
    • by MouseR (3264)
      I think it's brilliant.

      If he fell the Feds nearing, then putting it up on eBay was the smartest thing to do.

      Now, he can plead insanity.

      Or at least moronity.
  • re: notice that... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Silvercloud (691706) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:14AM (#10786473)
    that just by possessing source code and attempting to sell it, Mr. Genovese is labeled a hacker, in the first line of the article no less. It's a shame that hackers are the continual blacksheep of the tech world...
    • It's sad, but get over it. There are tons of "niches" like that which have been molested by the medias and will never gain back their integrity in the eye of the public.
      For example, did you knew that real "skins" are in fact against racism, and try to fight the childish nazis who will go as far as commiting murders in their name ? Just like each time you'll hear a pirate on radio he'll label himself a hacker, they've labelled themselves skins because they think it makes them look cool.

      BTW: I learned thi
  • I wonder if he's related to this Genovese family [fbi.gov]?
  • by cbelt3 (741637) <cbelt@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:16AM (#10786488) Journal
    I'm very happy to hear that this dangerous criminal who was selling the tools necessary to manufacture Weapons of Mass Despair (Windows Software)to the public has been captured and will be properly punished.

    Now if we can just get the person or persons responsible for wasting so much of my productive time with their crappy code....

  • 10 LET BILL=10
    20 LET STEVE=9
    30 IF BILL>STEVE PRINT "HA HA STEVE IM COOL, LOVE BILL"
    40 GOTO 10
    • The worst part of it is this code isn't well optimized. I mean you'd hope they'd know enough to not bother to continually loop through the assignments in lines 10 and 20 when they never actually change.

      Just goes to show that if Windows were Open Source, this sort of bug could have been fixed long ago. It's probably existed since MS-DOS v1.0, and explains so very much.

      Yaz.

      • It's even worse than that. The IF statement will always evaluate to true, and if those variables aren't used anywhere else, they're not needed. I could rewrite that in a line:
        10 PRINT "HA HA STEVE IM COOL, LOVE BILL" : GOTO 10
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:19AM (#10786508) Homepage
    It's SO easy to get the code legitimately from Microsoft. All you have to do is form a huge country and threaten to convert over to Linux from Windows for security concerns. Ballmer will probably fly out himself with a copy of any source code you desire.

    Now isn't that easier than committing a felony?!

  • That's more than it's worth to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    His online profile lists William P. Genovese's profession as "hacking bum" and "getting arrested" among his likes.

    That is just what federal authorities did Tuesday, charging Genovese with unlawfully distributing a trade secret, a violation of the Economic Espionage Act, in connection with the alleged sale of a source code for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and the Windows 2000 operating systems.

    According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York, Genovese, 27, of 1001 Old Colony Road, Apt. 7-3, Meriden, used h
    • by mangu (126918)
      Microsoft's source code is copyrighted, ... Moreover, the source code is a trade secret of Microsoft.


      OK, make up your mind, which is it, a trade secret or a copyright? Because copyrighted works are intended to, eventually, become public domain, one cannot copyright a trade secret. Or, at least, that's more or less how it's written in the U.S. Constitution.

      • Wishful thinking (Score:2, Informative)

        by grouse (89280)
        You can copyright a trade secret. You can't patent a trade secret, because patenting something necessarily means it is published, and therefore no longer secret.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:29AM (#10786558)
    were the comments:

    // Did stuff here when drunk,
    // seems to work, don't change!

    // Obfusticate code and use really
    // old librarys, this should annoy
    // some Wine devs muhahaha

    // Struck a deal with Symantec to
    // leave this vunerability in, don't
    // change!
  • So now that the Windows source code is out in the open and a market price has been set...

    It was too much to ask for Windows to become FOSS, but at least now it's $20OSS :D
  • Reckless endangerment? Wanka, wanka, wanka . . .
  • SCO was his first customer ..
  • by Deacon Jones (572246) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:33AM (#10786583)
    In March 2003, he was convicted of eavesdropping

    *sigh* I wish they could convict my mother-in-law of this.

  • The Feds? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Since when FBI arrests people for copyright infringement or trade secrets violation, both of which are civil offences, not even criminal and certainly not a federal crime?
  • by Draoi (99421) * <<moc.cam> <ta> <thcoiard>> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:38AM (#10786607)
    illmob.org [illmog.org]

    Interesting stuff ... shopping at Ikea the day before his arrest, oblivious to the impending doom.

    • D'oh. Let's try that URL again; illmob.org [illmob.org]
    • one bad dude (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bani (467531)
      27 years old, connecticut.

      ok...

      http://illmob.org/staff.html

      that means it's "illwill", self-described "hacking bum". let's see what he claims to have written:

      http://illmob.org/releases.html

      quite a lot of malicious software he's written there... seems like selling stolen source code fits right in with his ethical standards and moral code.
  • by seniorcoder (586717) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:41AM (#10786622)
    Inside sources indicate there will be a fraud charge added: he was representing that this was the code of an operating system.
  • Obivously he didn't study the Microsoft TCP/IP stack implementation close enough to discover that his anonymity was not guaranteed when selling Windows source code over the Internet.

  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @09:58AM (#10786785)
    ...for distributing Microsoft Source Code.

    That is one of the biggest causes of viruses and technical failures around. He is just spreading it!
  • by 4of12 (97621) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @10:05AM (#10786839) Homepage Journal

    You can see where this is going.

    Recapping:

    If you thought it was difficult doing a thorough Theo code audit for security was a formidable task, even given the open source code, then imagine the difficulty of looking through all of the source and wondering if any of it infringes on anyone's claimed "Intellectual Property" [gnu.org]. There aren't any options to diff and grep to complete such a task, AFAICT. The other half of the comparison remains under lock and key, except to those with rights to the IP.

    Linus' policy of requiring signed patch contributions to the Linux source [kerneltrap.org] looks more and more like a good and proper defensive measure. I'd feel better if other high profile FOSS projects had systems of signing patches and an examinable web of trust between the major contributors. Go ahead and accept patches, but let each contributor sign them.

    The whole issue of IP indemnification reeks of a deliberate strategy to slow the growth of free and open source deployments by sowing doubt into the minds of decision makers considering use of FOSS for their business but must consider risk in their decision (and a limited amount of time and information on which to base a decision).

    Transparency should make FOSS less IP infringing quickly compared to closed source, where IP infringements can be compiled away from easy recognition by the IP owners.

  • China (Score:2, Troll)

    by truthsearch (249536)
    How about arresting Bill Gates for giving the source code to the Chinese government?

    One person's arrested by the US government for selling source code which isn't his. Another is given approval by the US government go give his code (the same code) to the Chinese government, who severely violates basic human rights and will likely become a rival superpower. The only thing keeping the Chinese animosity for the US and Japan at bay is the huge economical benefit they get from trade.

    I'm not saying the guy sh
  • Source code is text, a document like any other. How come the halloween documents and other internal memos can be printed, but source code cannot? Are we moving source code into a position more akin to blueprints?(Which incidently, need to be approved by planning officials before you put the building up)

    I wonder what this bodes for the whole source code is free speech? (which it bloody well is!!)
  • by DaneelGiskard (222145) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @10:12AM (#10786933) Homepage
    ...someone was arrested for selling shit! ...oh..wait..

  • If they'll let Gates have some alone time with the guy in the interrogation room. Big Bill and some of his goons can kneecap him and make sure he understands just how much trouble he's in...
  • Bubba: What're y'in for, kid?

    Genovese: Windows.

    Bubba: Breaking and entering?

    Genovese: No, they said I attempted to sell some of the Windows source code. And you?

    Bubba: Scouts, this time. Windows source code? You didn't really do that did ya? 'Cause man, that's sick.

    Genovese: Nah ... *gulp* ... nah, FBI framed me. What do yo mean, it's 'sick'?

    Bubba: Well, that stuff should be kept locked up. What if someone saw it and used it in Linux or ... one of the BSD's? I don't want to think about it.

    Gen


  • OK, William O. Genovese, you need to take a lesson from the drug dealers--don't sell to cops. Know your customers and work your way up to big time.

    Next time, don't try to sell that sh*t on eBay, you crack monkey!

  • This guy was not the original leaker. When discussing the SCO case on Slashdot, some posters claimed that once a trade secret is revealed it can no longer be enforced. This case proves otherwise.

    Note that I'm not expressing an opinion on the validity of SCO's claims, only the incorrect belief that revealed trade secrets become public domain.

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