Apple chip supplier TSMC hit by computer virus

Apple chip supplier TSMC was hit by a computer virus over the weekend, Bloomberg reports, resulting in a severe disruption to its operations right in the midst of its annual iPhone production ramp-up. According to a statement from the company, a number of its fabrication tools had been infected, although it added that the virus wasn’t the result of a deliberate hacking attack, with a more recent report by V3 (via 9to5Mac) revealing that the shutdown was actually the result of an outbreak of the North Korean WannaCry virus resulting from “unpatched Windows 7 systems running critical processes in its fabrication facilities.” The company notes that it was able to contain the outbreak and bring it under control, but stated that the incident will still cause delays to some shipments and negatively impact its third-quarter results.

As 9to5Mac notes, Microsoft had actually issued patches for Windows 7 against the WannaCry virus even before the main attack occurred in early 2017, and followed up with emergency patches within a few days, and TSMC therefore “had absolutely no excuse” for leaving its systems unpatched and vulnerable for over a year, especially when dealing for production-critical systems. While the three-day shutdown will likely have some impact on the upcoming iPhone launch, analysts speaking with Reuters suggested that it should be minimal because “the upstream supply chain usually prepares for these incidents and manufactures surplus chipsets during the initial ramp-up stage.”

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