CWE-1239: Improper Zeroization of Hardware Register
The hardware product does not properly clear sensitive information from built-in registers when the user of the hardware block changes.
Hardware logic operates on data stored in registers local to the hardware block. Most hardware IPs, including cryptographic accelerators, rely on registers to buffer I/O, store intermediate values, and interface with software. The result of this is that sensitive information, such as passwords or encryption keys, can exist in locations not transparent to the user of the hardware logic. When a different entity obtains access to the IP due to a change in operating mode or conditions, the new entity can extract information belonging to the previous user if no mechanisms are in place to clear register contents. It is important to clear information stored in the hardware if a physical attack on the product is detected, or if the user of the hardware block changes. The process of clearing register contents in a hardware IP is referred to as zeroization in standards for cryptographic hardware modules such as FIPS-140-2 [REF-267].
This table 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)
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.
This listing shows 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.
Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)
Class: OS-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)
Class: Architecture-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)
Class: System on Chip (Undetermined Prevalence)
This table 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.
Suppose a hardware IP for implementing an encryption routine works as expected, but it leaves the intermediate results in some registers that can be accessed. Exactly why this access happens is immaterial - it might be unintentional or intentional, where the designer wanted a "quick fix" for something.
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