Apple Supplier TSMC Recovering From 'Debilitating' Computer Virus [Updated x2]

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is in recovery from a "debilitating" computer virus that hit many of its fabrication tools this past Friday evening. The company says that 80 percent of the affected tools have been restored, but it's now on a path to warn its customers -- potentially including Apple -- of delayed shipments and reduced revenue due to the virus (via Bloomberg).


    TSMC builds chips for Apple's iPhone, and in late July a report from DigiTimes stated that the supplier had begun commercial production of chips manufactured using its advanced 7-nanometer process, including Apple's A12 processor for the 2018 iPhones. Now TSMC says many of its customers can expect shipment delays, although it didn't specify which customers would be affected.

    The supplier says that "no confidential information" was compromised during the virus attack and as of Sunday most of its customers had been notified. TSMC believes the virus came from a "misoperation" during the software installation process for a new tool that then spread through its computer network, and one analyst thinks "all of TSMC's 12-inch wafer fabrication plants" were infected.
    Although it's unclear how the virus will end up affecting Apple and the trio of iPhones expected to be revealed next month, Apple is TSMC's largest customer and is said to account for more than 21 percent of TSMC's revenue. Apple chose TSMC to remain the exclusive supplier of the upcoming A12 processor for the new iPhones, following rumors from last year that suggested Samsung could be returning to iPhone chip production in 2018.

    Despite the fear over chip shipment delays, Apple is likely to have plans in place for any potential supply chain delays, as Bloomberg points out:
    Apple is expected to announce three iPhone models at an event in September: two OLED models measuring in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches and a 6.1-inch lower-cost LCD model. All three iPhones released in 2018 will support Face ID and edge-to-edge displays, with designs similar to last year's tenth-anniversary iPhone X. According to the latest supply chain analysis (which came prior to TSMC's virus attack), the OLED iPhones were predicted to have a typical September launch window while the LCD model could "possibly" be delayed to October.

    Update: TSMC provided more information in a statement Monday morning, placing blame for the virus attack on a variant of the 2017 WannaCry ransomware. The virus hit facilities in Tainan, Hsinchu and Taichung, including locations that produce Apple chips. According to TSMC CEO C.C. Wei, an "unidentified vendor" provided the company with the infected tool, ruling out the possibility of a hacker targeting TSMC.
    Update 2: Bloomberg updated its article, stating that TSMC "is expected to be able to fill orders on time for Apple Inc.," so there appears to be no delay in chip shipments for the 2018 iPhones.

    Article Link: Apple Supplier TSMC Recovering From 'Debilitating' Computer Virus [Updated x2]
  2. zombierunner macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2011
  3. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    An “Excuse” Thats out of of Apples control? How so?
  4. MedRed macrumors member


    Jun 9, 2007
  5. Return Zero macrumors 6502a

    Return Zero

    Oct 2, 2013
    Yikes... Let's hope they had some semblance of a business continuity plan in place for something like this. Who knows what the lead time on replacement equipment for this kind of stuff might be.
  6. Sasparilla macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2012
    Wait and see what effects come from this. I read elsewhere TMSC has been making the A12 CPU for quite a while at this point - so Apple should already have a bunch of the CPU's on hand for the new iPhones.
  7. wickawicka macrumors member


    Oct 26, 2014
    They don't have to replace anything.
  8. grad macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2014
    They should have used Windows. It has more and better antivirus programs :D
  9. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    /smashes stuxnet flash drive with hammer
    /burns debris... and hammer
    /blows up ashes with grenade
    /melts shrapnel in furnace
    /demolition building containing furnace
    /grinds rubble to dust
    /puts dust on rocket send to outer space
    /destroys rocket

    /whistles softly while stepping to mic

    "This is a terrible thing. If there's anything we can do to help, please let us know."
    -Samsung spokesman

    Just kidding:D Or am I?:eek:
  10. usersince86 macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2002
    Columbus, Ohio
    Yikes. Surprising, but not surprising. Evidently TSMC uses PCs (not Macs) -- which is probably true in nearly all manufacturing.
  11. Princejb134 macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2012
    Yup something always happens every year to Apple suppliers just to delay the product. Nothing new here
  12. newyorksole macrumors 68040

    Apr 2, 2008
    New York.
    This is one rumor that worries me :( , but I’m not TOO worried. I’m sure Apple has plans in place.
  13. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2015
    I hear ZTE has a custom A12 chip in its next phone.
  14. Return Zero macrumors 6502a

    Return Zero

    Oct 2, 2013
    How do you know? I hope this isn't the case, but they may need to swap out PLCs, relays, etc. depending on how intrusive/destructive the virus was.
  15. mokes macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2008
  16. H3LL5P4WN macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2010
    Pittsburgh PA
  17. Amacfa macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    The competition is crazy jealous with Apple they will do anything to slow them. SAD
  18. Aussi3 macrumors 6502


    Jun 3, 2012
    Facesticks on the App store
  19. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
  20. belvdr, Aug 6, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018

    belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    These SCADA networks need to be better protected. I've seen so many that are simply routeable subnets from the internal subnets.
    Article states it was from "misoperation" during software installation. How can you attribute this to a competitor doing something?
  21. mdnz macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Almost all big companies use PCs. So they're all vulnerable? I have a newflash for you: All servers Apple are using are also PCs.
  22. Beelzbub macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2012
    Oh I can here it now - "how do I know if my A12 processor was made before or after the TSMC virus" or "my iPhone A12 was made before the virus and my girlfriends was after the virus and my girlfriends iPhone runs hotter and crashes frequently" and "my pre virus A12 iPhone gets better battery life than mom's iPhone who got hers after the virus".
  23. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Your iPhone is throttled by virus. Reapplying the anti-viral paste on the CPU will cool it down.
  24. travelsheep macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2013
    The iPhone notch is too wide, a top chin would look a lot better. What's next ... zig zags?
  25. TheShadowKnows! macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2014
    National Capital Region
    Probably neither Windows nor Apple nor Linux.

    Manufacturing and Production automation relies totally on real time OSes. And these processes are networked together under SCADA networks ("Supervisory control and Data Acquisition".)

    On an aside the term "computer virus" is applied on the post under generic terms.
    My guess from past SCADA attacks, and more likely than not: a very specialized computer worm, that self-replicated across the SCADA network.

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