Business Insider Edition

One of Apple’s key chip manufacturers was hit with a virus that targets Windows computers

Kif Leswing , Business Insider US
 Aug 07, 2018, 01:37 PM


  • Apple supplier TSMC was hit by a virus over the weekend.
  • TSMC makes the processors that are currently used in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 to Apple's specifications. 
  • The incident could delay shipments of TSMC-made chips, the chipmaker said in a statement over the weekend. 


TSMC, the largest chip contract manufacturer in the world, expects to be fully recovered on Monday from a virus outbreak that broke out on Friday evening. 

The company said that 80% of the company's "impacted tools" had been fixed on Sunday. The virus was a version of WannaCry, according to Bloomberg, a ransomware attack that targeted computers running Microsoft Windows and threatened to delete files unless the attackers were paid in Bitcoin. 

The virus got into TSMC systems through a supplier that accidentally installed the malware without scanning for viruses, according to the report

Although TSMC isn't a household name, there's a good chance that you may be reading this story on a device that uses a processor the Taiwan company manufactured.

TSMC is one of Apple's key partners to build its chips. Apple designs its A-series processors, the chips used in the iPhone and iPad, and TSMC actually makes what Apple came up with. Apple has other processor fabrication suppliers but TSMC does the majority of the work at the moment, and manufactures all of the current generation A11 chips, which are found in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. 

Although TSMC does a lot of work for Apple, it also fabricates chips for lots of other companies, "most of" whom have been notified. It said on Sunday that it would delay shipments of chips to some customers, which would decrease third quarter revenue by 3%.

TSMC is "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 US dollars given on July 19, 2018," it said in a statement. 

The hack underscores how Apple's suppliers have become targets themselves. In an SEC filing last year, it listed confidential information leaking from its suppliers as a risk factor facing the company

WannaCry was developed by North Korea, according to the US government

TSMC said no confidential information was stolen in its Sunday statement.

Here's how the chipmaker described how it got hacked: 

"This virus outbreak occurred due to misoperation during the software installation process for a new tool, which caused a virus to spread once the tool was connected to the Company’s computer network. Data integrity and confidential information was not compromised. TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measures."

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