Virus shuts down key iPhone chip supplier

TSMC expects to have all its factories back to normal by Monday but exact impact on supplies for new iPhone models is not yet known

A virus on Friday evening nearly shut down TSMC production, Bloomberg reports, with 80% of the fabrication tools having been affected.

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.

Digitimes notes that at Fab 15 TSMC is ramping up 7nm chip output to fulfill orders from mainly Apple, although other companies including AMD, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Xilinx, and various ASIC developers.

On Saturday, several factories of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. "TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measures", it said. Once in the system, the virus used the company's computer network to spread and infect multiple fabs and tools.

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Still, TSMC's statement that the virus will affect shipments comes at a sensitive time for Apple, which is TSMC's largest customer and accounts for more than 21 percent of its revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on whether the computer virus impacted its weekend production.

It has said that any shipment delays resulting from the virus will be made up in the fourth quarter of the year, though they could still have some tangible impact on both confidence and TSMC's bottom line. She didn't reveal just how much financial disruption the attack has caused on the company, but did add that the firm would reduce third quarter revenue by 3 percent, equal to $255 million, from its previous guidance. Apple is, without a doubt, TSMC's most prized contract, as TSMC fought off Samsung to win exclusivity for iPhone chips.

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

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