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updated 9/20/2004 9:27:18 AM ET 2004-09-20T13:27:18

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in England in the theft of the proprietary software blueprints used by Cisco Systems Inc.'s networking equipment, police and the company confirmed.

The man, who was not identified and has not yet been formally charged, was arrested Sept. 3 in connection with the theft made public in May.  He has since been released on bail, and the investigation is continuing, Alan Crockford, a Scotland Yard spokesman, said Friday.

The man was arrested on suspicion of violating the Computer Misuse Act of 1990, Crockford said.  Other details of the investigation and arrest were not immediately available.

About 800 megabytes of the software blueprint, or source code, for Cisco's Internetwork Operating System appeared on a Russian Web site in May.  It was quickly removed at Cisco's request. The company said the theft was not the result of a software or service vulnerability.

Cisco confirmed at the time that the FBI was investigating the theft.

"We have and are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies on this matter, and we are encouraged that an arrest has been made," the company said in a statement Friday.  "We view the arrest as what will likely be many steps in this matter, and we will take every measure to protect vigorously our intellectual property."

The software breach is the second time this year a prominent technology company has faced an embarrassing disclosure of its source code.  In February, some pieces of Microsoft Corp.'s tightly guarded blueprints for some versions of Windows were circulating on the Internet.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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