TSMC says virus that shut down its plants is a WannaCry variant

TSMC says virus that shut down its plants is a WannaCry variant

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the electronics parts maker that is the sole supplier for chipset for Apple's iPhone, shut down manufacturing plants on Friday night after several of its factories were hit by a computer virus.

TSMC is the exclusive provider of the A12 chips that will power all of this year's iPhones and new iPad Pros.

"TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines", said TSMC CFO Lora Ho to Bloomberg.

No confidential information was compromised, the company said.

TSMC is the world's largest dedicated and independent semiconductor manufacturer, which means that when something goes wrong at the company, a lot of products are potentially impacted.

The cause of the issues was a computer virus which wasn't introduced by a hacker, said TSMC. The Company is confident shipments delayed in third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter 2018, and maintains its forecast of high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 in United States dollars given on July 19, 2018.

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He said he believed the virus was had not been created specifically to target TSMC and the company was not asked by anyone to pay a ransom. The impact on Apple's iPhone production schedule is also not known, although TSMC expects the incident "to cause shipment delays and additional costs".

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

While Qualcomm, which provides processors for many devices running Android software, gives TSMC about 6 percent of its revenues, it diversifies production so that some chips are built by competitors like Samsung.

Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a report on Sunday that technology group Apple was one of the customers affected but a swift recovery in the fourth quarter should minimise the impact.

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

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