Virus hits contract chipmaker TSMC's operations - Security

Virus hits contract chipmaker TSMC's operations - Security

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, which makes chips for the iPhone and other devices, is recovering from a debilitating computer virus but warned of delayed shipments and reduced revenue because of the impact on its factories. As of 14:00 Taiwan time, about 80% of the company's impacted tools have been recovered, and the company expects full recovery on August 6, ' a TSMC spokesperson explains in a brief statement on the issue made late yesterday.

Denying a hacking attack, the chipmaker attributed this virus outbreak to misoperation during the software installation process for a new tool, which caused a virus to spread once the tool was connected to the company's computer network.

It is not thought yet that the attack will delay the much-expected iPhone 9, thought to be under construction now before an expected reveal in September, but the news came as TSMC ups production in anticipation of the launch from its biggest customer.

A virus attack on TSMC, which provides one of the most critical iPhone and iPad components, the processor, took out the Taiwanese company, affecting overall production. After the virus got onto some of the factory computers, some of its fabrication tools had become infected.

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Contracts with Apple account for 21 percent of TMSC's production.

Digitimes notes that at Fab 15 TSMC is ramping up 7nm chip output to fulfill orders from mainly Apple, although other companies including AMD, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Xilinx, and various ASIC developers.

In a statement, TMSC said it estimated third quarter revenue would fall 3 percent because of the incident and gross margin would fall by 1 percent. Analysts are still calling for more clarity on the situation, however, considering TSMC's description of the incident to be too vague even with data integrity supposedly intact.

According to the source report, TSMC started to close down several of its factories on Friday night.

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