Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-1258: Exposure of Sensitive System Information Due to Uncleared Debug Information

Weakness ID: 1258
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The hardware does not fully clear security-sensitive values, such as keys and intermediate values in cryptographic operations, when debug mode is entered.
+ Extended Description

Security sensitive values, keys, intermediate steps of cryptographic operations, etc. are stored in temporary registers in the hardware. If these values are not cleared when debug mode is entered they may be accessed by a debugger allowing sensitive information to be accessible by untrusted parties.

+ 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)
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.200Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
ChildOfBaseBase - 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.212Improper Removal of Sensitive Information Before Storage or Transfer
+ Relevant to the view "Hardware Design" (CWE-1194)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1207Debug and Test Problems
+ 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.

Architecture and Design
+ 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.


Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Operating Systems

Class: OS-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)


Class: Architecture-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)


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.


Technical Impact: Read Memory

Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

A cryptographic core in a System-On-a-Chip (SoC) is used for cryptographic acceleration and implements several cryptographic operations (e.g., computation of AES encryption and decryption, SHA-256, HMAC, etc.). The keys for these operations or the intermediate values are stored in registers internal to the cryptographic core. These internal registers are in the Memory Mapped Input Output (MMIO) space and are blocked from access by software and other untrusted agents on the SoC. These registers are accessible through the debug and test interface.

(bad code)
Example Language: Other 
In the above scenario, registers that store keys and intermediate values of cryptographic operations are not cleared when system enters debug mode. An untrusted actor running a debugger may read the contents of these registers and gain access to secret keys and other sensitive cryptographic information.
(good code)
Example Language: Other 
Whenever the chip enters debug mode, all registers containing security-sensitive data are be cleared rendering them unreadable.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Whenever debug mode is enabled, all registers containing sensitive assets must be cleared.

+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2020-02-12Arun Kanuparthi, Hareesh Khattri, Parbati Kumar Manna, Narasimha Kumar V MangipudiIntel Corporation
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2020-08-20Sensitive Information Uncleared During Hardware Debug Flows
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Page Last Updated: March 15, 2021