MS Source Code Seller Gets Two Years

A Connecticut man convicted of selling stolen portions of Microsoft's source code for its Windows operating system was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal Judge on Friday. William Genovese Jr., 29, pleaded guilty in August to the crime after being charged in February 2004.

An undercover FBI agent and a paid Microsoft investigator were able to successfully purchase and download the source from Genovese's Web site. Genovese, who went by the alias "illwill," was selling code for Windows 2000 and NT 4.0, but was likely not the person who originally obtained it.

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Unauthorized users that have access to source code could pose a problem for Microsoft. By having copies of the internals of an operating system, a hacker could write new viruses and malware to exploit vulnerabilities within that code.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley cited Genovese's history of criminal activity, which included 12 prior convictions including three computer crimes and a sexual abuse charge, when handing down his ruling. Before his plea agreement, Genovese could have received up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

After his two years are up, Genovese will be supervised for three years. He must also register as a sex offender and install software on his computer that will track his activity. Genovese simply told the court, "I screwed up."

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