Virus hits contract chipmaker TSMC's operations - Security

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A computer virus infected the fabrication tools and computers at TSMC's factories that are likely producing Apple's next-generation iPhone processors.

Shares of TSMC fell as much as 1.21 percent to TUS$244.0, compared to a 0.1 percent drop for the benchmark index. It's 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. The company said it expects the issue to cause revenue and shipping to fall in the third quarter, but was confident the company would recover its losses in the fourth. TSMC says no confidential information was compromised in the virus attack and most customers have been notified. It's also the world's largest maker of made-to-order chips, which involves manufacturing products designed by companies like Qualcomm (QCOM) and Nvidia (NVDA). To the big questions concerning the financial impact of the virus attack, and the production impact, the TSMC representative was reticent to answer.

In the meantime, the exact implications of the incident for Apple are unknown. Currently, we don't know what impact, if any, this virus will have on the production of the new iPhone or on TSMC in general. That helped the market look past a reduced revenue outlook.

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A bellwether for the chip industry as well as an early indicator of iPhone demand, TSMC heads into its busiest quarters grappling with waning enthusiasm for the high-powered chips used to mine digital currencies.

It attributed the incident to "misoperation during the software installation process for a new tool" without elaborating further.

Or it could be some form of corporate sabotage by another chip manufacturer or an enemy of Apple, with someone sneaking into TSMC's factory systems and slipping in the virus; think James Bond but duller and less casually misogynistic.

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