[ISN] Man Charged with Passing Chip Design Information

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Wed Mar 02 2005 - 09:24:35 PST


By Adam Tanner
Mar 1, 2005 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A Taiwanese citizen living in California
took computer chip design information from a San Francisco-area firm
and e-mailed it to a potential rival in Taiwan, U.S. authorities
charged on Monday.

The U.S. Attorney for Northern California alleged that Shin-Guo Tsai,
35, took data sheets from Volterra Semiconductor Corp. and sent them
over the Internet to a potential competitor on Christmas Day, 2004.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Tsai, who has
permanent resident status in the United States, on Sunday night on
charges of transporting stolen property abroad, a crime that could
bring a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, according to a
spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of

Tsai is in custody until a hearing later this week, spokesman Luke
Macaulay said in a statement.

Tsai worked for Volterra, which completed an initial public offering
last year, from July 2002 until Feb. 15, 2005, when he announced he
was returning to Taiwan to marry.

The complaint, filed in U.S. federal court in San Jose, California,
also alleged that Tsai had been in contact with the chairman of CMSC
Inc., a Taiwanese start-up company that it said was involved in the
same business as Volterra.

It added that Tsai admitted to FBI agents last week that he had sent
proprietary information to CMSC.

The chairman of CMSC did not respond to an e-mail on Monday seeking

The criminal complaint quoted Volterra's vice president of design
engineering David Lidsky as saying the transmitted information about
the firm's 1100-series products "related to the design of
high-performance analog and mixed-signal power management

Experts say theft and espionage is a headache for many Silicon Valley
technology firms, although many do not turn to authorities when they
discover it.

"This is becoming more and more of a problem," said La Rae Quy, a
former counterintelligence officer who now serves as the FBI
spokeswoman. "We're working with companies to alleviate their concerns
about coming forward."

"This is the reaction with many companies: it is cheaper to lose the
technology than it is to face negative media attention or adverse
stock reaction."

Fremont, California-based Volterra, which designs low-voltage power
supply chips, did come forward in this case however, she said.

Bellua Cyber Security Asia 2005 -

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.3 : Wed Mar 02 2005 - 11:51:14 PST