Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, yesterday said that it has fully recovered from a computer virus that struck the company on Friday evening last week.
Projected costs arising from the incident have been lowered to 2 percent of this quarter’s revenue, down from a previous forecast of 3 percent on Sunday, TSMC told a news conference at the Taiwan Stock Exchange in Taipei.
Gross margin would fall by 1 percentage point due to the cost of remedying the disruption to production, the company said.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
TSMC had previously forecast revenue of US$8.45 billion to US$8.55 billion for the third quarter, meaning losses would range from US$169 million to US$171 million, while gross margin is expected to be between 47 and 49 percent this quarter, down from its earlier guidance of 48 to 50 percent.
TSMC confirmed that the virus, which affected its fab tools, was a variant of the WannaCry ransomware worm.
TSMC said the incident occurred when new equipment was installed and connected to the company’s private network without first being scanned in an isolated system and cleared of viruses.
The WannaCry worm, which is known for its ability to spread rapidly, infected other fab tools at other plants via the company’s private network, TSMC said.
The advanced 7-nanometer fabs took the longest to recover from the virus, it said.
“The incident was caused entirely by a failure to follow protocol,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) said, denying rumors it was a targeted cyberattack, the work of an internal agent or an act of sabotage via a USB drive.
Wei said the company has not received any ransom demands and none of its data were encrypted by the virus.
“We are in the process of revamping our security protocols, which would remove the possibility of such an error recurring,” Wei said, adding that the new system would be hardwired to block unverified nodes from connecting to the company’s private network.
“We do not expect these security upgrades to greatly affect operating expenses,” Wei said.
It is difficult to ensure that all of the company’s Windows 7 machines have been updated with the latest security patches, as the process requires collaboration with equipment suppliers and can only be performed during downtime, he said.
Wei declined to identify the fab tool that was initially affected, or its supplier, and whether TSMC would pursue legal recourse.
“We have installed tens of thousands of fab tools,” Wei said, adding that it is not normal for tools that have come straight out of the box to carry viruses.
“Our sole priority right now is to maintain clear communication with customers,” Wei said.
TSMC would not be exposed to breach of contract penalties from delayed shipments, chief financial officer Lora Ho (何麗梅) said.
Insurers only offer protection products for losses resulting from theft of customers’ personal data, a situation that does not apply to the TSMC incident, Ho said.
TSMC shares yesterday dipped 0.61 percent to NT$245.5 in Taipei trading.
This time was supposed to be different. The memorychip sector, famous for its boom-and-bust cycles, had changed its ways. A combination of more disciplined management and new markets for its products — including 5G technology and cloud services — would ensure that companies delivered more predictable earnings. Yet, less than a year after memory companies made such pronouncements, the US$160 billion industry is suffering one of its worst routs ever. There is a glut of the chips sitting in warehouses, customers are cutting orders and product prices have plunged. “The chip industry thought that suppliers were going to have better control,” said
Enimmune Corp (安特羅生技) has obtained marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its EnVAX-A71 vaccine for enterovirus 71 (EV-71), becoming the nation’s first enterovirus vaccine completely made in Taiwan, it said yesterday. After spending 13 years and NT$1.5 billion (US$49.77 million) on the research and development of the vaccine, Enimmune plans to start manufacturing and marketing it by the end of March, the company said in a statement, without disclosing customer order figures. “It is possible that the vaccine would not be included in a national vaccination program initially, and consumers would need to pay for it themselves,” parent
Hon Hai Technology Group (鴻海科技集團), also known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團) internationally, yesterday said it was confident that its performance would improve in the second half of this year. Investment plans related to electric vehicles (EVs) in different parts of the world are expected to gradually start coming to fruition, Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) told reporters after leading a new year’s prayer at the company’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城). Major challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war continue to affect the global economy. However, Liu said that he expects a turnaround in
‘BLUE OCEAN HIGHWAY’: The private cost of dredging is the main obstacle to having potentially thousands of new marine tourists make port calls, a marina operator said A company executive is betting big on marina development in Taiwan, as the government aims to boost the number of dedicated recreational yacht berths to 1,600 from 1,138 by 2025. Taiwan could make its dream of having thousands of sailboats and yachts make port calls in the country a reality by speeding up the construction of new marina berths, ARGO Yacht Club (亞果遊艇會) president Ho Yu-lin (侯佑霖) said. ARGO operates three marinas, in Kaohsiung, Penghu County and Tainan’s Anping District (安平). The 12-hectare Tainan Anping Yacht City is a members-only yacht club providing an array of amenities including restaurants and a hotel resort