Taiwan's TSMC shares drop over 1.2 percent after computer virus outbreak

Gerald Bowen
August 6, 2018

What isn't known is exactly what TSMC was targeted by or which factories were hit with the company having manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, mainland China and the U.S. The company said it expects the issue to cause revenue and shipping to fall in the third quarter, but was confident the company would recover its losses in the fourth.

TSMC said the virus outbreak occured on the evening of August 3, which affected a number of computer systems and fab tools in Taiwan. TSMC says no confidential information was compromised in the virus attack and most customers have been notified.

"Long-term, TSMC's trustworthy image is somewhat tainted but it is hard to quantify the effect now", Li said.

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As of 2 pm Taiwan time, about 80% of the company's impacted tools had been recovered, TSMC said, adding it expects full recovery on August 6. The iPhone maker last week surpassed a market value of US$1 trillion, largely on the strength of sales for its pioneering smartphone. At this point in time, the details of the virus are scarce but the shutdowns prevailed as TSMC ramped up its chip production for the 2018 iPhone models. It's also the world's largest maker of made-to-order chips, which involves manufacturing products designed by companies like Qualcomm (QCOM) and Nvidia (NVDA). Currently, we don't know what impact, if any, this virus will have on the production of the new iPhone or on TSMC in general.

Denying a hacking attack, the chipmaker attributed this virus outbreak to misoperation during the software installation process for a new tool, which caused a virus to spread once the tool was connected to the company's computer network. An Apple spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

"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.

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