Apple Supplier TSMC Crippled in Malware Attack

07/08/2018 14:40:22
Apple Supplier TSMC Crippled in Malware Attack:
Why Use Hindsight – When You Could Use Foresight

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company or TSMC, one of the world’s largest chip manufacturer for tech powerhouses like Apple and Qualcomm Inc. was hit by a crippling malware attack on Friday night (August 3, 2018) causing some of the most severe disruptions reported by the company since its inception. On Saturday the company reported, “Certain factories returned to normal in a short period of time, and we expect the others will return to normal in one day.”

The attack occurred Friday night immediately disabling machines used to manufacture chips and processors and causing the equipment to crash and reboot repeatedly. TSMC reports that the malware was a variant of the WannaCry virus which affected more than 300,000 computers in over 150 countries in 2016. According to TSMC the breach was caused by a “mis-operation during the software installation process” of some of their newer devices, when a technician neglected to isolate and verify the security of new machines before connecting them to the network. TSMC admits that the attack was not a cyberattack or hacker but an internal issue. While no personal or confidential production or customer data was affected, the delay in shipments of products could ultimately cost the company as much as $171 million in revenue.


While any security team worth their salt has set security system policy to recognize the signature of dangerous malware like WannaCry, malware variants like the one that hit TSMC are a clear and present danger to any business, no matter the size or industry. Creating a malware variant from existing malware is a relatively easy process and the variations are infinite (some estimates place new variant generation at 400,000 per day), making it almost impossible for legacy security systems, built to search and destroy known threats, to combat the issue. Jonathan Crowe, writer for Barkly Blog ,reports that 94% of organizations said they had security designed to prevent malware attack, like Firewall, while 84% reported they had security designed to prevent malware attack like antivirus. Even with all these precautions, 1 in 4 organizations suffered an attack in the last 12 months that circumvented all their security measures.


Sangfor Technologies Inc. has recently developed and released its newest sophisticated web of cloud-based, AI powered security elements including threat intelligence, deep learning, sandboxing, botnet detection and Engine Zero. Neural-X Threat Intelligence is compilation of vast amounts of organized, analysed and refined data that enables organizations to understand the most common and severe known & unknown risks as well as external threats. All of Sangfor’s many security products can be connected to the Neural-X TI platform providing up-to-date reputation services enabling more informed decision making.  The deep learning function utilizes AI to learn independently by observing and processing vast amounts of data, enabling more accurate & faster protection.


TSMC could have avoided disaster had it used Neural-X’s deep learning capabilities to break down cryptic domain names into vectors that are machine readable. In-depth analysis of vector association detects domain names used by malwares of similar families or variants. For additional protection, Engine Zero is an underlining malware detection engine built upon powerful AI technology and embedded in Sangfor’s network security solutions, end point solutions and Neural-X cloud platform.

Neural-X and Engine Zero are components of Sangfor’s award winning NGAF Firewall Platform which shipped over 17,000 NGAF products to customers in 2017 and is recognized by the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Malware variants are changing so fast they are obviously unrecognizable, even for powerful and capable organizations like TSMC. Sangfor wants to make your detection and security abilities broader, faster, stronger and above all, more proactive. For more information about how Sangfor NGAF Firewall Platform and Neural-X can stop crippling malware attacks by clicking here.

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