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IT Engineer Stole Source Code to Verify Acquisition

Zhengquan Zhang admitted to installing malware on his employer's servers, which he did to research a potential acquisition.

Zhengquan Zhang, 31, of Santa Clara, Calif. has admitted to installing malware on the servers at his former employer, Wall Street securities firm KCG Holdings, Inc. The IT engineer was arrested and charged with stealing trade secrets earlier this month.

Zhang claims he had heard KCG might be acquired and was trying to verify if the report was true, Bleeping Computer reports. He feared he would lose his job if the company was bought. In fact, Virtu Financial agreed to buy KCG for nearly $1.4 billion on April 7.

Rumors of an acquisition do not explain why Zhang stole the company's source code, the report notes. Between March 2016 and March 2017, he took more than three million files of confidential data and computer code from his former employer, including code for algorithmic trading models and trading platforms.

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