Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-1266: Improper Scrubbing of Sensitive Data from Decommissioned Device

Weakness ID: 1266
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product does not properly provide a capability for the product administrator to remove sensitive data at the time the product is decommissioned. A scrubbing capability could be missing, insufficient, or incorrect.
+ Extended Description

When a product is decommissioned - i.e., taken out of service - best practices or regulatory requirements may require the administrator to remove or overwrite sensitive data first, i.e. "scrubbing." Improper scrubbing of sensitive data from a decommissioned device leaves that data vulnerable to acquisition by a malicious actor. Sensitive data may include, but is not limited to, device/manufacturer proprietary information, user/device credentials, network configurations, and other forms of sensitive data.

+ 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.404Improper Resource Shutdown or Release
+ Relevant to the view "Hardware Design" (CWE-1194)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1195Manufacturing and Life Cycle Management Concerns
+ 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

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Functionality to completely scrub data from a product at the conclusion of its lifecycle should be part of the design phase. Trying to add this function on top of an existing architecture could lead to incomplete removal of sensitive information/data.

Phase: Policy

The manufacturer should describe the location(s) where sensitive data is stored and the policies and procedures for its removal. This information may be conveyed, for example, in an Administrators Guide or a Statement of Volatility.

Phase: Implementation

If the capability to wipe sensitive data isn't built-in, the manufacturer may need to provide a utility to scrub sensitive data from storage if that data is located in a place which is non-accessible by the administrator. One example of this could be when sensitive data is stored on an EEPROM for which there is no user/admin interface provided by the system.

+ Notes


This entry is still under development and will continue to see updates and content improvements.
+ References
[REF-1080] Christopher Tarnovsky. "Security Failures in Secure Devices". <>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2020-05-28Paul A. WortmanWells Fargo
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Related_Attack_Patterns
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Page Last Updated: March 15, 2021