Latest WannaCry Attack on Chip Producer Estimated to Cost $170 Million

August 9, 2018


A WannaCry ransomware attack has been informed by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. The malware infection has crippled some of the business’s production plants which have paused chip making in some of the business’s industrial units.

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is the world’s biggest chip producer, supplying its products to Nvidia, Apple, AMD, Qualcomm, and several other key producers. The attack has had a substantial effect on production and is projected to lead to a 2% decline in Q3 income and will cost the company an approximated $170 million.

The attack was widespread as WannaCry has worm-like capabilities. After installing on an appliance it is capable to search the network for other weak computers and spread. However, in this instance, the malware infection didn’t encrypt any hard drives. In its place, it stopped the business’s systems causing them to repeatedly reboot.

WannaCry ransomware is supposed to have been generated by hackers in North Korea. The ransomware was released in May 2017 and infected roughly 300,000 appliances in 150 countries before a kill switch was recognized that stopped the ransomware from running. Safety scientist Marcus Hutchins found the ransomware tests to decide if a particular domain is live. If it’s, the ransomware does not run. Hutchins bought and hosted the domain and deactivated the attacks.

The fact that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. suffered a widespread WannaCry attack indicates that the affected systems were not linked to the internet. As the domain is still live, the malware would not have run.

An inquiry into the attack verified this was not the work of a hacker. The firm issued a proclamation saying, “Data integrity and secret information was not undermined.” The company has accepted responsibility for the infection ascribing it to carelessness. The company uses the Windows 7 operating system in its facilities and connected a new software tool without first testing it for malware. Had that check happened, the infection would have been prevented.

WannaCry abuses a weakness in Windows server message block protocol. A patch to fix the weakness was released by Microsoft in March 2017. If the patch is applied, businesses are resistant to WannaCry attacks. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. had failed to fit the patch on specific systems.

“This virus infected fab tools and automated materials handling methods, and connected computer systems, which used Windows 7 without repaired software for their tool automation interface,” the firm said in a statement regarding the attack. “It caused affected tools to become unworkable and made certain automated materials handling systems incapable to work normally.”