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TSMC partner breached by LockBit ransomware gang

A cyber attack against Chinese systems integrator Kinmax led to the theft of TSMC proprietary data, which LockBit threatened to publish unless TSMC paid a $70 million ransom.

A partner of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, better known as TSMC, was hit by a data breach that resulted in the leak of TSMC proprietary data.

Reports of data belonging to TSMC, one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers on the planet, being involved in a compromise emerged Thursday when LockBit published TSMC's name on its data leak site. The cybercrime gang, infamous for its prolific role in the ransomware ecosystem, demanded a $70 million ransom of TSMC for its data and threatened to leak data, including "points of entry into the network and passwords and logins."

A spokesperson for TSMC told TechTarget Editorial in an email that Kinmax Technology, a Chinese systems integrator and one of TSMC's hardware suppliers, experienced a security incident that led to the theft of proprietary TSMC data "pertinent to server initial setup and configuration." The incident did not include the theft of TSMC customer information and did not affect TSMC business operations, the spokesperson said.

"After the incident, TSMC has immediately terminated its data exchange with this supplier in accordance with the Company's security protocols and standard operating procedures," a statement from the spokesperson read. "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."

The spokesperson also shared a news release from Kinnmax regarding the incident; similar information is available on Kinnmax's website.

The Kinnmax's statement read as follows:

In the morning of June 29, 2023, the company discovered that our internal specific testing environment was attacked, and some information was leaked. The leaked content mainly consisted of system installation preparation that the Company provided to our customers as default configurations. 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.

Alexander Culafi is a writer, journalist and podcaster based in Boston.

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