WannaCry Ransomware Stalls Microchip Giant’s Operation

Major chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC)’s operations temporarily stalled last month due to what was first called “a piece of malware“.

The world’s biggest chip-making contractor’s computer systems and fabrication tools were said to have been taken over by a computer virus outbreak during software installation – significantly impacting their overall production and profits.

Some estimated their losses to be in the $225 million range.

After a few days of investigations, the piece of malware was discovered to be a variant of the ransomware strain WannaCry – responsible for affecting hundreds of thousands of users across the globe just last year.

On top of production delays and profit losses, the company was facing this month’s release of the newest iPhone models.

TSMC counts Apple as one of its larger clients as their iPhones and iPads use their chips. Aside from Apple, TSMC also counts Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, MediaTek, and Broadcom as clients.

TSMC admitted that the ransomware infection was a result of human error on their part

While TSMC did not name names in terms of which of their clients or products were directly targeted by the ransomware, they promised that no sensitive data was compromised or stolen.

The company’s chief executive officer, CC Wei, assured the public of the ransomware’s elimination from their systems and that no other complications from the issue emerged.

Wei added that the incident was not a targetted attack but was an error made by staff during their virus scans, admitting that it was “purely negligence” on their part.

“We regret this. There won’t be any more human errors,” he added. Going forward, the company plans on applying a more developed and automated antivirus process during production.

TSMC also confirmed they are “in close contact” with their customers to soften whatever blow comes their way as an effect of the ransomware issue.

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