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Booth Bandit Burgles Cyras

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
6/8/2000

ATLANTA—-Call it “Supercomm-gate.” Cyras Systems Inc. http://www.cyras.com says that someone broke into its booth at the Supercomm trade show earlier this week and made off with internal components from its new add/drop multiplexer (see Cyras: The Next Cerent? ).

The vendor hints that the perpetrator may have been a competitor, looking to reverse engineer the product. “Lots of folks from other companies have been orbiting. I guess someone wants those ASICs pretty badly,” says Gary Clemenceau, director of corporate communications.

Other exhibitors say that’s unlikely. “I’ve never heard of anything like that. These days the most valuable technology is the software, anyway -- not the hardware” says Joe Bass, vice president and general manager of the optical networking group at Cisco Systems Inc.http://www.cisco.com.

In the meantime, the story about the Cyras caper has quickly generated a series of conspiracy theories on the show floor.

One exhibitor questions the evidence in the case. “Are you sure it’s not just a publicity stunt?” says an executive at an optical networking vendor, who spoke off the record.

“Maybe it was those guys from Atmosphere. At least then they'd have something to sell,” jokes another executive (see Atmosphere On The Block? ).

This isn’t the first time that the industrial espionage issue has cropped up at a trade show. In the early 90’s an exhibitor at a CeBIT show in Hanover Germany rigged a klaxon horn to its hub to prevent it being filched by a competitor. Another inferred that some Israeli vendors were being fed trade secrets about their US competitors by Mossad, the Israeli secret service. Nothing was ever proved.

Cyras provided Light Reading with photographic evidence of the caper. “Only the box labeled ‘sensitive electronic equipment’ was broken into,” says Clemenceau.

--Stephen Saunders, US Editor Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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