Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

IPhone chipmaker hit by major virus

IPhone chipmaker hit by major virus

TSMC said about 80% of affected machines were restored on August 5; the rest were expected to be up and running on August 6.

TSMC fabricates chip solutions for Apple and other mobile device vendors, and has reportedly kicked off its shipments for the forthcoming iPhones and other new smartphone models.

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"TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines", the company's chief financial officer, Lora Ho, told Bloomberg. It says confidential information was not compromised.

It is unclear who targeted TSMC, the world's biggest contract manufacturer of chips for companies including Apple and Qualcomm Inc. I can't imagine TSMC's partners are particularly happy but it does seem that things are to get back on track in the following quarter.

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"Certain factories returned to normal in a short period of time, and we expect the others will return to normal in one day", the company said in its Saturday (Aug 4) statement. The chipmaker estimated that third-quarter revenue would be cut by about 3 percent from a previously forecast $8.45 billion to $8.55 billion, while gross margin would slip by about 1 percentage point.

We should expect shipment delays and additional costs to be incurred in order for the company to send out scheduled orders. The details will be communicated with each customer individually over the next few days. 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. Once in the system, the virus used the company's computer network to spread and infect multiple fabs and tools.

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"Long-term, TSMC's trustworthy image is somewhat tainted but it is hard to quantify the effect now", Li said.

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