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TSMC says a number of fab tools infected by computer virus
06 August 2018, 03:26 | Casey Mitchell
iPhone chip maker TSMC fights virus at factories
A computer virus halted several Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing factories on Friday night, dealing the company one of its most severe disruptions as it ramps up chipmaking for Apple's next iPhones.
"TSMC expects this incident to cause shipment delays and additional costs", said the world's top foundry service provider in an update today about the impact of virus infection that it first reported on Saturday.
"TSMC has contained the problem and found a solution, and recovery of the tools is in progress", it said in a statement. It says confidential information was not compromised. Apple designs the processors that go into its devices, but it uses TSMC as its exclusive partner for producing the chips. We estimate the impact to third-quarter revenue to be about three percent, and impact to gross margin to be about one percentage point.
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"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. The company didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for further comment.
A bellwether for the chip industry as well as an early indicator of iPhone demand, it heads into its busiest quarters grappling with waning enthusiasm for the high-powered chips used to mine digital currencies.
"The company is confident shipments delayed in third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter 2018, and maintains its forecast of high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 in U.S. dollars given on July 19, 2018", it added.
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According toBloomberg, the virus originated from a mistake made during software installation that then spread throughout TSMC's network.
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.
TSMC's chief financial officer Lora Ho told Bloomberg that the chipmaker has been attacked by viruses in the past, but never has malware affected the company's production lines.
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