Apple chipmaker recovers after malware attack

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the electronics parts maker that is the sole supplier for chipset for Apple's iPhone, shut down manufacturing plants on Friday night after several of its factories were hit by a computer virus.

TSMC fabricates chip solutions for Apple and other mobile device vendors, and has reportedly kicked off its shipments for the forthcoming iPhones and other new smartphone models.

"TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines", said TSMC CFO Lora Ho to Bloomberg.

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.

The company did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on whether the computer virus impacted its weekend production. The company has restored output since then but said the incident would delay shipments, without specifying what customers will be affected.

A virus attack on TSMC, which provides one of the most critical iPhone and iPad components, the processor, took out the Taiwanese company, affecting overall production.

TSMC previously said about 10% of its revenues would be generated from its most-advanced 7nm process technology in the third quarter of 2018, and the proportion would reach 20% in the fourth quarter, with an over 20% in all of 2018. Later the same day it issued an update to say that "some factories back to normal, rest in another day". Once in the system, the virus used the company's computer network to spread and infect multiple fabs and tools. Chief Executive Officer C C Wei had said TSMC's sales will rise this year by a high single-digit percentage in U.S. dollar terms, down from an already reduced projection of about 10 percent.

Vanessa Coleman