Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co or TSMC, the world’s leading SoC (System On a Chip) maker to some of the biggest smartphone companies, suffered a crippling virus attack. The attack forced emergency shutdown at TSMC factories, and may have temporarily impacted silicon wafer production. The company battled against the attack, but confirmed it is winning. According to latest reports, TSMC has been able to largely contain spread the virus, believed to be a form of ransomware. Also, it is taking due precautions to prevent re-occurrence of such attacks.
Silicon chips maker TSMC recently confirmed that a one of its fabrication plants suffered virus infections on August 3rd. The virus attack halted technical operations and eventually succeeded in disrupting production. The company has assured that the virus attack was not an intentional hack or targeted security breach. Instead, it was more of an inadvertent virus infection. The company had earlier refrained from offering details about the virus or how the infection managed to find its path on TSMC’s factory computers.
TSMC Suffered An Attack Of The WannaCry Virus:
Evidently after an internal investigation, TSMC confirmed that a few of its computers running Windows 7 OS suffered from an attack of the WannaCry Ransomware Virus. The company officially admitted on Monday that it temporarily halted a few of the semiconductor fabrication plants after a “computer virus” got into its systems.
Incidentally, Windows 7 Operating System has protection from the WannaCry Virus and its variants. Microsoft has released a relevant a security patch for the security vulnerabilities. But apparently, the virus caused systems disruption after making its way onto unpatched Windows 7 machines. Incidentally, the virus managed to infect some computers that were running critical systems on the silicon wafer production line.
— The Hacker News (@TheHackersNews) August 7, 2018
The chipmaker has confirmed that the computers became infected after a supplier conducted a routine update process. Apparently the vendord installed some software on the Windows 7 computers. The software being installed was already infected with the Ransomware Virus. Shockingly, after infecting the computers, the virus quickly managed to spread to TSMC facilities located in Tainan, Hsinchu and Taichung.
TSMC Has Faced Virus Infection And Successfully Protected Its Computers Before:
TSMC’s Chief Financial Officer, Lora Ho, mentioned, “TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines.” This essentially means TSMC has suffered virus attacks in the past, but has successfully safeguarded its mission critical computers.
It is quite likely that the company’s maintains strictest of segregations. The company must keep office computers separate from those used for critical operations on the factory floor. But the virus still managed to gain entry into these very computers. This is probably because TSMC failed to scan the software that the supplier was installing. Speaking about the mishap, TSMC CEO CC Wei said, “We are surprised and shocked. We have installed tens of thousands of tools before, and this is the first time this happened.”
To ensure such attacks do not occur in the future, TSMC is developing a new mechanism, added Wei. “We now realize it is not possible for humans not to make mistakes, so now we are inventing a new mechanism that will go online soon. The mechanism doesn’t require human intervention.”
— 🚶🏻Curtis S. Chin (@CurtisSChin) August 8, 2018
Will Smartphone Companies Delay Launching Their Next-Gen Smartphones Due To TSMC Virus Attack?
TSMC is one of the world’s leading chipset makers. Companies including Apple, AMD, Qualcomm, and Nvidia are just some of its premier customers. The WannaCry Virus forced only a few hours of shutdown of TSMC production facilities. Fortunately, the company has successfully arrested the infection.
The company assured it had contained the infection by 80 percent by the end of last week. TSMC is confident of resuming normal operations by completely eliminating the WannaCry Ransomware Virus from all of its systems. Owing to TSMC’s timely intervention, analysts are confident that none of the customers will miss the delivery of the chips currently under production at the company.