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TSMC says variant of WannaCry forced factory shutdown

CHIPMAKER TSMC has said that the virus that forced it to shut down its factories was a variant of WannaCry.

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co), one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers which counts Apple, AMD, Qualcomm and Nvidia among its customers, admitted on Monday that it was forced to close down its semiconductor fabrication plants after a “computer virus” got into its systems. 

“TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines,” chief financial officer Lora Ho told Bloomberg News.

Since, however, the company has confirmed that the “virus” in question was a variant of WannaCry, which caused disruption after making its way onto unpatched Windows 7 machines running critical systems.

TSMC says the virus was introduced when a supplier installed infected software without a virus scan. It then spread, affecting facilities in Tainan, Hsinchu and Taichung.

“We are surprised and shocked,” TSMC CEO CC Wei said. “We have installed tens of thousands of tools before, and this is the first time this happened.”

“We now realize it is not possible for humans not to make mistakes, so now we are inventing a new mechanism that will go online soon. The mechanism doesn’t require human intervention,” he added.

It’s not clear how many lost days of production the virus has caused TSMC, nor the implication it will have on Apple given that TSMC is the sole manufacturer of its custom chips. With new iPhones expected in the autumn and TSMC likely working on a new chip, likely the 7nm A12, shutting down factories temporarily could mean delays for the next wave of iPhones.

However, analysts don’t expect production of the next A-series chips, or of any of Apple’s other forthcoming new devices, to be affected.

Production of AMD’s forthcoming 7nm CPUs, in which production will be split between GlobalFoundries and TSMC, also isn’t likely to be affected. µ

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Source : Inquirer

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