TSMC computer virus hit may delay Apple shipments, but impact limited

Computer chip in circuit board

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The virus hit the company's computer network late Friday and spread to machines used to make chips and processors, TSMC said in a statement Sunday. With new iPhones expected in the autumn and TSMC likely working on a new chip, likely the 7nm A12, shutting down factories temporarily could mean delays for the next wave of iPhones.

TSMC's chief financial officer Lora Ho told Bloomberg that the chipmaker has been attacked by viruses in the past, but never has malware affected the company's production lines.

The chip manufacturer has reassured that the attack was due to a "misoperation" when installing software for one of its new tools rather than a malicious attempt at the firm, leaving confidential information firmly secure.

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company - is one of the world's largest contract chipmakers and a major supplier for Apple.

The cause of the issues was a computer virus which wasn't introduced by a hacker, said TSMC. "TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measures", the company said.

KGI Securities said in a report on Monday that while some of TSMC's 12-inch wafer shipments will be delayed, the impact to the upcoming iPhone launch is limited because "the upstream supply chain usually prepares for these incidents and manufactures surplus chipsets during the initial ramp-up stage".

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The company noted that among the systems infected were a number of fabrication tools across multiple factories.

Of course, Bloomberg was most interested in the possible consequences to the production of Apple iPhone chips.

TSMC said that third-quarter shipments delays would be recovered next quarter.

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Chief Executive Officer C.C. Wei had said TSMC's sales will rise this year by a high single-digit percentage in United States dollar terms, down from an already reduced projection of about 10 per cent.

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