, which supplies chips for technology companies including
said Monday it has fully eliminated an infection of its computer systems by a modified version of a virus that last year crippled hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.
TSMC said the incident will likely delay shipments and hurt revenue at the world’s largest made-to-order chip maker this quarter.
The company said the infection by the modified version of the WannaCry virus—the first time a virus has taken down TSMC’s production facilities—so far doesn’t appear to be an attack.
Unlike other WannaCry assaults, which encrypted hard drives, blocked users’ access and demanded a ransom, the virus that affected TSMC made some of the company’s systems crash or continually reboot, but didn’t issue any demands. No data was lost, TSMC said.
The company said the incident won’t affect customers beyond delayed shipments.
“We were not poisoned,” TSMC media manager
said Monday. “We ate something that was not cleaned properly.”
The outbreak originated from the installation of a new production tool at one of TSMC’s Taiwan facilities, the company said. The process for connecting such machines—which come with pre-installed vendor software—to the company’s network normally requires an isolation procedure, which would have caught and cleaned the virus, but that was erroneously not run on this occasion, TSMC said.
The company added that it has taken steps to strengthen security procedures after the incident.
The virus didn’t affect the accuracy, consistency and confidentiality of data in its systems, TSMC said. It shut manufacturing tools, but not the company’s primary computer system containing production information and customer data.
TSMC spent the weekend containing and wiping out the outbreak, which hit late Friday.
The company is the largest producer of processors made on the designs of some of the biggest technology companies. Apple and Qualcomm, the company’s largest customers, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.
“The company is working closely with customers on their wafer delivery schedule,” TSMC said, adding that the company is likely to have fully recovered from shipment delays by the fourth quarter.
“Fortunately, the recovery in the fourth quarter will keep the impact very limited,” said
tech analyst for Bernstein Research.
Still, lost shipments because of the outbreak could slice some 2%, or $171 million, from TSMC’s estimated revenue for the third quarter, the company said. TSMC said last month that third-quarter revenue will likely rise some 8% from the second quarter to about $8.5 billion.
Resilient demand for smartphones is likely to underpin the company’s gross margin, a measure of how much the company earns per dollar of sale. TSMC said that is likely to fall by 1 percentage point to about 48% for the quarter, largely on par with the second quarter’s 47.8%.
Revenue for the full year is expected to rise by “high single digits,” TSMC said. The company’s Taipei-listed shares closed largely flat on Monday.
Write to Chuin-Wei Yap at email@example.com