Windows Malware WannaCry Delays Manufacturing of the Next iPhone Processor

The world’s largest chip supplier admitted that the attack that brought production to a halt was caused by unpatched Windows 7 systems.
August 7, 2018, 3:26pm
An A8 iPhone chip. Image via Shutterstock

The company that makes the next-generation iPhone’s main processing chips suffered a malware attack on Thursday that brought production at several of its factories to a standstill.

Today, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) admitted that the attack was possible because of and an unpatched Windows 7 system, which was vulnerable to the infamous ransomware WannaCry while the company was installing a new tool. The infection happened when a supplier connected tainted software to TSMC’s network without a virus scan, according to Bloomberg.

TSMC is Apple’s exclusive supplier of the iPhone’s A-series chips. The attack, which cost the manufacturer $250 billion, could have been prevented, because it left its Windows 7 systems unpatched. The patch has been available for approximately a year.

The WannaCry virus started spreading in 2017, and has infected 200,000 computers across 150 countries. As a relatively old virus, you can easily protect against it by keeping your PC software updated, which TSMC apparently failed to do. Because there are so many systems still out there that are still not being properly patched, we can still see infrastructure like TSMC that’s vulnerable to the same attacks a year later.

In an official statement, TSMC said that the company expects the incident to “cause shipment delays and additional costs,” with third quarter revenue taking as three percent hit. But analysts say that the company was prepared for this kind of attack, and its customers might not see much of a difference in shipping delays or costs.

Still, any risk of of delay or drop in revenue is a serious fuck-up that could have been avoided had the world’s largest chip supplier just installed a Windows update.