Chip maker TSMC will lose millions for not patching its computers

Taiwanese chip-making giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), whose customers include Apple, Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, and Broadcom, was hit with a WannaCry infection last weekend that knocked out production for a few days and will cost the firm millions of dollars.

Most chip companies are fabless, meaning they don’t make their own chips. It’s a massively expensive process, as Intel has learned. Most, like the aforementioned firms, simply design the chips and farm out the manufacturing process, and TSMC is by far the biggest player in that field.

CEO C.C. Wei told Bloomberg that TSMC wasn’t targeted by a hacker; it was an infected production tool provided by an unidentified vendor that was brought into the company. The company is overhauling its procedures after encountering a virus more complex than initially thought, he said.

The infection struck on Friday, Aug., 3, and affected a number of unpatched Windows 7 computer systems and fab tools over two days. TSMC said it was all back to normal by Monday, Aug. 6. TSMC did not say it was WannaCry, aka WannaCrypt, in its updates, but reportedly blamed WannaCry in follow-up conference calls with the press.