MS "Illwill" Hacker Gets Two Years

On Friday, the "illwill" hacker who illegally sold Microsoft’s source code for its Windows operating system for under $50 got what he had coming to him: two years in federal prison.

Twenty-nine year-old William Genovese, Jr. pleaded guilty in 2005 to a count of unlawful distribution of trade secrets for posting the source code of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 and Windows 4.0 on his website and putting it up for sale, Reuters reports.

In February of 2004, Genovese sold the source code for $40 to Microsoft officials who were investigating reports that the code was up for sale on the man’s site.

Genovese’s plea agreement entailed a sentence between 10 and 30 months.

"I screwed up," Genovese told the court.

He has 12 prior criminal convictions, including a number of computer crimes and at least one sexual abuse conviction.

"Mr. Genovese is a predator who has morphed through various phases of criminal activity and in the last few years has descended into the world of the Internet and is well on his way to being a cyber predator," said U.S. District Judge William Pauley.  The judge noted that Genovese criminal history is the most disturbing he has encountered in his seven years as a justice.

The sentencing comes just after Microsoft released its source code to the European Union in response to allegations that the company had not done enough in response to the European Commission’s antitrust ruling.  For more on the issue, read Microsoft to License Windows Source Code and EU Commish Surprised By Microsoft Code Offer.

-Al Sacco 

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