With rumors abound and excitement rising in anticipation of the upcoming iPhone, disconcerting news has emerged that a virus has crippled several factories that manufacture major iPhone components.
The virus hit the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on Friday night, forcing the chipmaker to shut down several factories.
TSMC is the largest independent semiconductor foundry in the world and the exclusive manufacturer of the main processor for iPhones. It is unclear however whether the factories affected were the ones producing components for the iPhone. TSMC has said that it is working on solutions but also pointed out that the virus has infected a number of its fabrication tools and that the degree of infection varied from factory to factory.
The new iPhone is expected to be unveiled this fall. iPhone sales have played a huge part in Apple’s market value surpassing $1 trillion. So disruptions to the supply chain could prove extremely damaging for the company. With the release scheduled close to Christmas holidays, any shortage in supply will likely have a severe effect on sales.
The origins of the virus remain unknown, but we should point out that Taiwan suffers from plenty of cyber attacks. Most of those attacks originate from China, which remains vociferously hostile towards Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen. It has been reported that Taiwan’s government websites sustain 20 million cyber attacks a month, most of which originate from China.