LockBit gang demands a $70 million ransom to the semiconductor manufacturing giant TSMC

The LockBit ransomware gang claims to have hacked Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

The LockBit ransomware group this week claimed to have hacked the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and $70 million ransom.

TSMC is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of chips for tech giants, including Apple and Qualcomm Inc.

As reported by BleepingComputer, on Wednesday, a Lockbit affiliate known as Bassterlord announced the hack of TSMC via Twitter and shared screenshots with information related to the company as a proof of the attack.

The ransomware group claims to have stolen a huge amount of sensitive information from the company and threatens to publish it in the case of payment refusal. The group also plans to publish information that can allow a threat actor to access the company’s infrastructure.

“In the case of payment refusal, also will be published points of entry into the network and passwords and logins company.” reads the announcement published by Lockbit operators on their leak site.

The group initially gave seven days to the TSMC to pay the ransom, but later it postponed the deadline to August 6.

A TSMC denied it was breached by Lockbit, but rather it confirmed that the group has breached one of the company’s IT hardware suppliers, Kinmax Technology.

“TSMC has recently been aware that one of our IT hardware suppliers experienced a cybersecurity incident which led to the leak of information pertinent to server initial setup and configuration,” reads a statement shared by the company.

“Upon review, this incident has not affected TSMC’s business operations, nor did it compromise any TSMC’s customer information.”

TSMC pointed out that it will not work with the hacked supplier until the situation will be solved.

“After the incident, TSMC has immediately terminated its data exchange with this concerned supplier in accordance with the Company’s security protocols and standard operating procedures.  TSMC remains committed to enhancing the security awareness among its suppliers and making sure they comply with security standards. This cybersecurity incident is currently under investigation that involves a law enforcement agency.” continues the statement.

Taiwanese Kinmax Technology also provides services to other prominent companies, including Cisco, Citrix, HPE, Microsoft, and Nvidia. 

Kinmax discovered the security breach on June 29, it also added that the incident impacted a testing environment.

“The leaked content mainly consisted of system installation preparation that the Company provided to our customers as default configurations,” Kinmax explained. “We would like to express our sincere apologies to the affected customers, as the leaked information contained their names which may have caused some inconvenience. The company has thoroughly investigated this incident and implemented enhanced security measures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.”

In August 2018, a malware infected systems at several Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) factories, the plants where Apple was producing its devices. The company confirmed that its systems were infected with a variant of the infamous WannaCry ransomware that hit 200,000 computers across 150 countries in a matter of hours in May 2017.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, ransomware)

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