Apple reportedly among affected 7nm clients in TSMC virus incident

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A company that makes semiconductors for Apple iPhones says it is recovering from a virus outbreak but expects the incident to delay shipments and raise costs. TSMC said about 80% of affected machines were restored on August 5; the rest were expected to be up and running on August 6.

TSMC is the exclusive provider of the A12 chips that will power all of this year's iPhones and new iPad Pros.

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.

While TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, it is for the first time that such an attack has affected its production lines and halted the chip manufacturing process at the company's factories. "TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measures", Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho said by phone Sunday.

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On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that a computer virus had caused so many issues at TSMC that several of its production facilities had to cease operations.

TSMC said the disruption is expected to knock 3% off its third-quarter revenue, which it had previously forecast would be in the range of $8.45 billion and $8.55 billion.

Details will be provided to each customer individually over the next few days, it said. After the virus got onto some of the factory computers, some of its fabrication tools had become infected. Analysts are still calling for more clarity on the situation, however, considering TSMC's description of the incident to be too vague even with data integrity supposedly intact.

While purely speculation until such time as TSMC comments, speculation points to the company getting hit, intentionally or unintentionally, by a ransomware attack.

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