Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Virus attack shuts down factories of iPhone's sole chipmaker

TSMC faced a virus attack Saturday TSMC faced a virus attack Saturday
Kayla Schwartz | 06 August, 2018, 21:28

A virus on Friday evening nearly shut down TSMC production, Bloomberg reports, with 80% of the fabrication tools having been affected. It's also planning new iPad and Apple Watch models, devices that have historically also used chips produced by TSMC.

"TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines", chief financial officer Lora Ho told Bloomberg News.

"Data integrity and confidential information were not compromised". TSMC is best known outside of PC enthusiast circles as the iPhone chip manufacturer but many readers here will know it for its key role in the production of advanced performance PC components sold by the likes of AMD, Nvidia and their partners.

It added that it has "taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measures".

The virus struck late on Friday night and led to the closure of several TSMC factories, and some of these are still not operational. Once the virus tool went online, it spread throughout TSMC's computer network, affecting other systems.

"Since TSMC indicated the delayed shipment from this incident will be recovered in the following quarter, we think there will be no meaningful impact on Apple's new coming iPhone", explains Fubon Research, predicting a delay of 1.5 million to 1.7 million next-generation A12 chips.

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Digitimes is reporting the announcement by TSMC that the virus infection is estimated to impact its third quarter revenue to the tune of 3%.

TSMC spent the weekend scrambling to get its operations back to normal.

"If the most advanced 7nm process products suffer a major impact, then concern could arise over a potential launch delay for next-gen iPhones", SMBC Nikko analysts wrote on Monday.

It said the attack had featured a "mutation" of the Wannacry ransomware.

The company says that the virus was introduced when a supplier installed infected software - which was provided by a vendor - without a virus scan.

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