The chipmaker for Apple has warned shipments of the new iPhones could be delayed after its production line was hit by a computer virus.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which also produces the chips for other Apple devices, was forced to close down several of its factories over the weekend in order to recover from the virus outbreak that infected 80pc of its fabrication tools.
The sole maker of the iPhone’s main processor said that it had contained the problem and resumed production, but admitted the incidents would delay shipments of the new iPhones, which are due to launch in September.
TSMC pointed to a mistake that was made during the installation of a piece of software, which lead to the virus spreading through its factories networks.
It blamed a variant of the 2017 WannaCry ransomware for the shutdown. The WannaCry infected more than 200,000 users globally, encrypting files and demanding ransom payments.
The company predicted the incident would reduce revenue this quarter by 2 percent, down from an initial estimate of roughly 3 percent. It confirmed that no confidential information was compromised.
“Long-term, TSMC’s trustworthy image is somewhat tainted but it is hard to quantify the effect now,” Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, told Reuters.
A TSMC spokesmen added: “This virus outbreak occurred due 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.
“Data integrity and confidential information was not compromised. TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measure.”
KGI Securities claimed the upcoming iPhone launch was limited because “the upstream supply chain usually prepares for these incidents and manufactures surplus chipsets during the initial ramp-up stage”.