IPhone chip maker TSMC fights virus at factories

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company TSMC

TSMC is the main manufacturer of processors for Apple's iPhones and iPads

Over the weekend the Company disclosed that a computer virus was affecting part of its production and that it is expected to impact 3% of its third-quarter 2018 revenues.

A company that makes semiconductors for Apple iPhones says it is recovering from a virus outbreak but expects the incident to delay shipments and raise costs.

The degree of infection varied by fab. TSMC said it found a solution and has now contained the virus, and has also restored 80 percent of the company's affected tools.

"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 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. This is the first time a virus had ever brought down a TSMC facility, recalling the WannaCry cyberattacks of 2017 that forced corporations around the world to suspend operations as they rooted out the ransomware.

"Data integrity and confidential information were not compromised". No individual or organization has taken credit for the attack though TSMC representatives have said that the virus was not introduced by a hacker.

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Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The chip manufacturer didn't specify what it was producing when this problem occurred, but given the timing it was nearly certainly the Apple A12.

The outbreak occurred during the software installation, and the virus was able to spread once the tool was connected to the company's computer network, TSMC said.

It is not clear at this time which factories were hit but there is a real possibility that the new iPhone due in late September could be affected by the closedown as these factories manufacture the main processor for the iPhone.

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