Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-1272: Sensitive Information Uncleared Before Debug/Power State Transition

Weakness ID: 1272
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Sensitive information may leak as a result of a debug or power state transition when information access restrictions change as a result of the transition.
+ Extended Description

A device or system frequently employs many power and sleep states during its normal operation (e.g., normal power, additional power, low power, hibernate, deep sleep, etc.). A device also may be operating within a debug condition. State transitions can happen from one power or debug state to another. If there is information available in the previous state which should not be available in the next state and is not properly removed before the transition into the next state, sensitive information make leak from the system.

+ 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)
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.226Sensitive Information in Resource Not Removed Before Reuse
CanPrecedeClassClass - 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
+ 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.


VHDL (Undetermined Prevalence)

Verilog (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: Compiled (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.

Access Control

Technical Impact: Read Memory; Read Application Data

Sensitive information may be used to unlock additional capabilities of the device and take advantage of hidden functionalities which could could be used to compromise device security.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This example shows how an attacker can take advantage of an incorrect state transition.

(bad code)

Suppose a device is transitioning from state A to state B. During state A, it can read certain private keys from the hidden fuses that are only accessible in state A but not in state B. The device reads the keys, performs operations using those keys, then transitions to state B where those private keys should no longer be accessible.

However, during this transition, the device does not scrub the memory. After the transition to state B, even though the private keys are no longer accessible directly from the fuses in state B, they can be accessed indirectly by reading the memory which contains the private keys.

(good code)
For transition from state A to state B remove information which should not be available once the transition is complete.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

During state transitions, information not needed in the next state should be removed before the transition to the next state.
+ Functional Areas
  • Power
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2020-05-31Parbati Kumar Manna, Hareesh Khattri, Arun KanuparthiIntel Corporation
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Potential_Mitigations, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Functional_Areas
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2020-08-20Debug/Power State Transitions Leak Information
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Page Last Updated: March 15, 2021