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August 5, 2018

Unknown virus halts factories that make iPhone chips

by John_A

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of semiconductors and processors has been forced to halt operations due to a computer virus that has affected several of its factories. According to Bloomberg, a computer virus disrupted production at several factories owned by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. on Friday evening.

Many of the details surrounding the virus remain unclear. No individual or organization has taken credit for the attack though TSMC representatives have said that the virus was not introduced by a hacker. As of right now, TSMC has not stated rather this virus was a form of ransomware or something else so details are scarce. TSMC has said that the virus affected several of their fabrication tools though the problem has been contained. Some of the affected factories have resumed operations, but several will remain closed until at least Sunday afternoon.

During a phone call with Bloomberg, a TSMC representative acknowledged that the company had been hit by viruses before, but never one quite this bad.

“TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines,” TSM Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho told Bloomberg.

Regardless of the details behind the attack, it clearly comes at a bad time for TSMC. The company is currently the sole producer of the processors that power Apple’s iPhones and it was in the midst of ramping up for the launch of the company’s latest smartphones. Currently, we don’t know what impact, if any, this virus will have on the production of the new iPhone or TSMC in general. During the course of her conversation with Bloomberg, Ho declined to give any specifics regarding the financial impact of this attack — though she did say that the company would release a statement on Monday once they had completed its assessment.

Aside from this issue, both Apple and TSMC are having a good year with Apple boasting a market value in excess of $1 trillion. For its part, TSMC, is predicting strong growth in the latter half of this year thanks in large part to its work with Apple on the iPhone.

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