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TSMC fab plants attacked with viruses, disrupting production

TSMC fab plants attacked with viruses, disrupting production

The Taiwan-based company said that 80 per cent of the fabrication tools affected had now been restored, with a complete recovery expected today, but warned that shipments could be delayed due to the attack. It says confidential information was not compromised.

The virus struck late on Friday night and led to the closure of several TSMC factories, and some of these are still not operational.

The cause of the issues was a computer virus which wasn't introduced by a hacker, said TSMC.

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.

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. "TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measures", TSMC said. Apple Inc. did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The company said it was confident shipments delayed in the third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter 2018, and maintained its forecast of high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 in USA dollars given on July 19, 2018. 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 Qualcomm, which provides processors for many devices running Android software, gives TSMC about 6 percent of its revenues, it diversifies production so that some chips are built by competitors like Samsung.

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

"Long-term, TSMC's trustworthy image is somewhat tainted but it is hard to quantify the effect now", Li said.

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