Was 'Canouna' the unnamed blogger involved in the Windows 8 leak probe?

Wednesday's arrest of Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee who was charged with leaking code from Windows 8 before its October 2012 launch didn't have much info concerning the person he allegedly communicated with in his scheme. Many believe that Kibkalo sent the code and information about the OS to a person who ran the now shut down WinUnleaked website.

The official report on Kibkalo's arrest says he sent the Windows 8 code, among other Microsoft content, to an unnamed French tech blogger. In the months leading up to the launch of Windows 8 in 2011 and 2012, WinUnleaked posted up a lot of pre-release screenshots and information about the OS, including version numbers. The site was run by a person known only as "Canouna".

In January 2013, WinUnleaked was taken down and its URL briefly redirected to Microsoft.com. "Canouna" himself also seemed to disappear from the Internet. We have contacted both Microsoft and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to see if they wish to confirm or deny that "Canouna" is in fact the person that Kibkalo allegedly contacted.

Alex Kibkalo's photo from his LinkedIn page.

Meanwhile, it's been revealed, via his LinkedIn page, that Kibkalo was hired by a company called 5nine Software in August 2013. It sells virtualization management software based on Microsoft Hyper-V. Neowin has attempted to contact 5nine Software by both phone and email to see if Kibkalo is still an employee of the company but we have yet to receive a response.

Recently, new screenshots and information about Windows 8.1 Update 1 have been posted by "WZor" on his website. In what may be pure coincidence but we have heavy suspicion Microsoft may be behind this, WZor.net is now shut down and his Twitter page is no longer active. It's possible that Microsoft is starting to crack down on these kinds of pre-release info leaks, although the company keeps leaking Update 1 on its own.

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Article said,
Recently, new screenshots and information about Windows 8.1 Update 1 have been posted by "WZor" on his website.
Recently? 2 whole months is eons in internet time!

"It's possible that Microsoft is starting to crack down on these kinds of pre-release info leaks, although the company keeps leaking Update 1 on its own."

Is it a leak if Microsoft itself release info about it's own product?

When you sign an employment agreement to keep the companies information private and then you leak said information, you prove you can't be trusted. I wouldn't hire this guy or trust him alone in my house. If he'll steal from anyone he will steal from you.

do you guys miss the days where microsoft would release betas and previews and you could just try them out and give feedback so when the OS shipped you'd be familiar with it and devs and OEMs had time to make it work right.

today, MSFT hides everything, ships things people are shocked by, is at war with enthusiasts who only do this out of love for windows, and basically hates its biggest fans: people who use preview windows leaks.

neonspark said,
do you guys miss the days where microsoft would release betas and previews and you could just try them out and give feedback so when the OS shipped you'd be familiar with it and devs and OEMs had time to make it work right.

today, MSFT hides everything, ships things people are shocked by, is at war with enthusiasts who only do this out of love for windows, and basically hates its biggest fans: people who use preview windows leaks.

Yes I do; I remember the good old times when we received Beta build of Windows 95.... by US mail. :-)

scumdogmillionaire said,
yeah, it was consumer preview. I don't remember what they called it. but you paid MS like 19.95 and you got access to what was essentially a late phase beta and RC.

Windows 8 RC, betas and consumer previews were all free...

the key generation algorithm was already revealed shortly after windows 8 was released. it isn't something special or new. you still cant activate with a generated key anyways.

greenwizard88 said,
Windows XP had a working keygen.

xp could even get activated by just removing some files and changing the hosts file in the beginning if I remember correctly >.>

And yet when Apple did this to 'Think Secret' many years ago all I heard from Neowin members was how this was 'crushing freedom' and 'Steve Jobs is a despotic dictator' yet when Microsoft does the exact same thing notice how there is either silence or support of such a move?

I would have just let him use Windows Vista RTM with 512 MBs for a month and move on. I am sure it would be more than capital punishment.

Steven P. said,
It's odd that WZOR's site and Twitter account went offline, he says it has nothing to do with it though.

May be he is just scared?

Steven P. said,
It's odd that WZOR's site and Twitter account went offline, he says it has nothing to do with it though.

that's what they all say when you have investigators standing behind you saying play along *lol*