Stung by a robbery at its European headquarters last April Fools Day, New South Wales, Australia-based personal computer memory board manufacturer Hypertec Pty Ltd has developed an anti-theft tagging system for its Hypertec Multi module memory chips. Development of the tagging system and services package known as Retrieve, was prompted partly by the plundering of half-a-million pounds worth of memory modules from its UK premises last year, and partly from requests from customers, the company claims. Retrieve enables users of Hypertec’s memory boards to log the identity of each chip, which the police can then trace in the event of theft. The system uses radio frequency identification technology which is embedded into each module with a unique personal identification number that renders the board useless if it is removed. This is accompanied by a scanner unit that can read off the PIN number and store it on the desktop – in a customized database for instance – supplying proof of ownership of the modules, should theft take place. The scanner connects to the desktop via the terminal communications program built into Windows 3.1 or HyperTerm in Windows 95, and so does not require proprietary software to work. According to the company, the system offers both a physical and visual deterrent against casual theft. The visual deterrent refers to the use of stickers on boards, machines, and windows of buildings occupied by Hypertec memory-based desktops, to discourage potential thieves. As part of the Retrieve services, Hypertec has insured all Retrieve-enabled boards and will replace stolen ones free of charge to existing customers; it also offers advice on memory upgrade. Retrieve will ship on February 3.