Veeco chief executive William J. Miller.

Veeco chief executive William J. Miller. Credit: Marketing Communications

Veeco Instruments Inc., a Plainview maker of equipment used to manufacture semiconductors, solid-state lighting and hard disk drives, Thursday disclosed that its computer systems were hacked.

The statement in a government filing said it suffered "an attack on its computer systems by what appears to be a highly sophisticated actor." 

The Securities and Exchange Commission filing did not specify when the intrusion happened, but said the attack "may have an adverse effect" on the company's financial condition. 

Veeco has alerted law enforcement and retained forensic experts to investigate the attack, the company said in the filing. Company officials declined to elaborate further. 

Steve C. Morgan, founder of Northport-based Cybersecurity Ventures, a provider of market data and publisher of Cybercrime Magazine, said the sparse details in the filing made it difficult to say if it was a case of cyber espionage targeting intellectual property or a hack by an employee, contractor or outside intruder.

He said the terms "highly sophisticated" could suggest the intrusion was done by a skilled cybercriminal or an organized or state-supported gang with financial resources.

"Without them divulging more, it's hard to know," he said.

Recent cyberattacks on Long Island include the takeover of the campaign website of Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, earlier this month, and the breach of the Town of Brookhaven website in June 2017 by a pro-ISIS group.

Thursday's disclosure came on the same day that Veeco posted what it called "mixed" results in the third quarter, the first earnings report under new chief executive William J. Miller.

Veeco shares fell 12.6 percent to close at $8.31 Thursday, after dipping as low as $6.61. Shares were trading at $17.45 a year ago. 

Revenue edged lower in the quarter ended Sept. 30 to $126.8 million from $129.3 million in the 2017 period. But the Plainview company's net loss narrowed to $9 million, or 19 cents per diluted share, from $23.7 million, or 51 cents per diluted share.

"Third quarter results were mixed with revenue coming in below our guided range due to broader market softness," Miller said in a statement.

Veeco makes equipment used to manufacture solid-state lighting, semiconductor devices and memory storage devices.

The company forecast fourth quarter revenue of $85 million to $105 million and a net loss of $26 million to $19 million.

On Oct. 1 Miller, a 16-year veteran at Veeco, succeeded John Peeler, who had served as CEO since 2007. Peeler remains at the company as executive chairman.

During that executive change, chief financial officer Sam Maheshwari also added the title of chief operating officer.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of former Veeco CEO John Peeler. 

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