Former IBM software engineer Jiaqiang Xu allegedly stole and leaked IBM proprietary source code
An ex-IBM software engineer has been arrested and charged with stealing source code and attempting to sell it to rival companies.
Twenty-nine year-old Jiaqiang Xu, who worked at IBM as a systems software developer from November 2010 to July 2014, was charged with one count of theft of a trade secret in a federal court in New York.
The arrest happened on Monday as an undercover police officer met Xu at a hotel in New York, where he was secretly recorded as claiming he used the source code to create software that he could sell to others.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement: “Theft of trade secrets of the type alleged against Xu drains the lifeblood of innovation and competition, and is rightly a serious federal crime.”
According to Xu’s LinkedIn profile, he studied Computer Science at the University of Delaware from 2007 to 2009. Before that, Xu studied at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
According to a complaint filed with the courts, the FBI started hearing reports of a Chinese national having access to IBM source code in 2014.
It was then when an undercover law enforcement agent posed as an data storage investor contacted Xu.
In October, IBM revealed it will allow the Chinese Government to view the source code of some of its products, in a bid to improve relations between the US technology company and Beijing.
The Wall Street Journal claims the source code will be viewed in a “secure room”. IBM is now the first major Western technology company to allow the Chinese government this level of access.
Officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will scrutinise IBM’s source codes in a “controlled space” that means the officials cannot take any source code away with them. However, which products’ source code is being viewed is not yet known.