While TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, it is for the first time that such an attack has affected its production lines and halted the chip manufacturing process at the company's factories. While the problem had been contained and some of the factories had resumed production, work at several factories wasn't expected to resume until Sunday. Data integrity and confidential information was not compromised.
The chip manufacturer didn't specify what it was producing when this problem occurred, but given the timing it was nearly certainly the Apple A12.
KGI Securities said in a report on Monday that while some of TSMC's 12-inch wafer shipments will be delayed, the impact to the upcoming iPhone launch is limited because "the upstream supply chain usually prepares for these incidents and manufactures surplus chipsets during the initial ramp-up stage". We estimate the impact to third-quarter revenue to be about three percent, and impact to gross margin to be about one percentage point. In the past, the USA company has employed foundries owned by Samsung Electronics Co., its rival in global mobile devices. The company didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for further comment. That helped the market look past a reduced revenue outlook. The company said it was confident shipments delayed in the third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter 2018, and maintained its forecast of high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 in US dollars given on July 19, 2018.
A bellwether for the chip industry as well as an early indicator of iPhone demand, it heads into its busiest quarters grappling with waning enthusiasm for the high-powered chips used to mine digital currencies.
The outbreak occurred during the software installation, and the virus was able to spread once the tool was connected to the company's computer network, TSMC said.