CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software & Hardware Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-1282: Assumed-Immutable Data is Stored in Writable Memory

Weakness ID: 1282
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Immutable data, such as a first-stage bootloader, device identifiers, and "write-once" configuration settings are stored in writable memory that can be re-programmed or updated in the field.
+ Extended Description

Security services such as secure boot, authentication of code and data, and device attestation all require assets such as the first stage bootloader, public keys, golden hash digests, etc. which are implicitly trusted. Storing these assets in read-only memory (ROM), fuses, or one-time programmable (OTP) memory provides strong integrity guarantees and provides a root of trust for securing the rest of the system. Security is lost if assets assumed to be immutable can be modified.

+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the weaknesses and high level categories that are related to this weakness. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as PeerOf and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar weaknesses that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Research Concepts" (CWE-1000)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.668Exposure of Resource to Wrong Sphere
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.471Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID)
+ Relevant to the view "Hardware Design" (CWE-1194)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1202Memory and Storage Issues
+ Modes Of Introduction

The different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.

PhaseNote
ImplementationKeys, code, configuration settings, and other data should be programmed in write-once or read-only memory instead of writable memory.
+ Applicable Platforms
The listings below show possible areas for which the given weakness could appear. These may be for specific named Languages, Operating Systems, Architectures, Paradigms, Technologies, or a class of such platforms. The platform is listed along with how frequently the given weakness appears for that instance.

Languages

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Operating Systems

Class: OS-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Architectures

Class: Architecture-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Technology-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the weakness. The Scope identifies the application security area that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in exploiting this weakness. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a weakness will be exploited to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity

Technical Impact: Varies by Context

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Cryptographic hash functions are commonly used to create unique fixed-length digests used to ensure the integrity of code and keys. A golden digest is stored on the device and compared to the digest computed from the data to be verified. If the digests match, the data has not been maliciously modified. If an attacker can modify the golden digest they then have the ability to store arbitrary data that passes the verification check. Hash digests used to verify public keys and early stage boot code should be immutable, with the strongest protection offered by hardware immutability.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

All immutable code or data should be programmed into ROM or write-once memory.
+ Notes

Maintenance

This entry is still in under development and will continue to see updates and content improvements, especially as it relates to CWE-1233.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2020-05-15Nicole FernTortuga Logic
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Modes_of_Introduction, Name
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2020-08-20Assumed-Immutable Data Stored in Writable Memory
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Page Last Updated: August 20, 2020