Apple’s supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, announced recently that they have been hit with a “debilitating” computer virus. This virus has impacted many of its fabrication tools, though they claim that about 80% of the affected tools have been restored. However, they are now warning their customers that delayed shipments and reduced revenue can be expected.
TSMC had begun commercial production of chips manufactured using its advanced 7-nanometer process, which included Apple’s A12 processor for this year’s iPhones. As a result of this virus, the company now says that many customers can expect shipment delays, though they didn’t specify who exactly would be affected.
The good news is that no confidential information was compromised, so customers can breathe a sigh of relief. The virus was likely due to a “misoperation” during the software installation process for a new tool, which then spread through its computer network. An analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, Mark Li, said he believes all of TSMC’s 12-inch wafer fabrication plants had been infected.
“Long-term, TSMC’s trustworthy image is somewhat tainted but it is hard to quantify the effect now,” Li wrote in a research note Monday.”
TSMC has since provided more information in a statement, claiming that the 2017 WannaCry ransomware was to blame. The virus impacted facilities in Tainan, Hsinchu and Taichung, which include locations that produce Apple chips. TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said the following:
“We are surprised and shocked. We have installed tens of thousands of tools before, and this is the first time this happened.”