Early in August, a malware has infected systems at several Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) factories, the plants where Apple produces its devices.
TSMC is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of chips for tech giants, including Apple and Qualcomm Inc.
Now the company shared further details on the attack and confirmed that its systems were infected with a variant of the infamous WannaCry ransomware that hit 200,000 computers across 150 countries in a matter of hours in May 2017.
WannaCry took advantage of a tool named “Eternal Blue”, originally created by the NSA, which exploited a vulnerability present inside the earlier versions of Microsoft Windows. This tool was soon stolen by a hacking group named “Shadow Brokers” which leaked it to the world in April 2017.
The infection caused one of the most severe disruptions suffered by TSMC as it ramps up chipmaking for Apple Inc.’s next iPhones.
The company contained the problem, but some of the affected plants shut down an entire day of production.
It has been estimated that the overall impact on the revenue of TSMC would be approx $256 million.
Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho confirmed that the infection would have some impact on TSMC’s 2018 profit, but declining to elaborate on further details.
According to the manufacturer, it wasn’t a targeted attack, instead, the systems were infected “when a supplier installed tainted software without a virus scan” to TSMC’s network.
The malware rapidly spread within the company network and infected more than 10,000 machines in some of the company’s production plants, including Tainan, Hsinchu, and Taichung.
“We are surprised and shocked,” TSMC Chief Executive Officer C. C. Wei said, “We have installed tens of thousands of tools before, and this is the first time this happened.”
TSMC confirmed that customers data were not compromised during the attack, it warned customers that shipment delays are expected.