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CWE-1312: Missing Protection for Mirrored Regions in On-Chip Fabric Firewall

Weakness ID: 1312
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The firewall in an on-chip fabric protects the main addressed region, but it does not protect any mirrored memory or memory-mapped-IO (MMIO) regions.
+ Extended Description

Few fabrics mirror memory and address ranges, where mirrored regions contain copies of the original data. This redundancy is used to achieve fault tolerance. Whatever protections the fabric firewall implements for the original region should also apply to the mirrored regions. If not, an attacker could bypass existing read/write protections by reading from/writing to the mirrored regions to leak or corrupt the original 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)
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.284Improper Access Control
+ Relevant to the view "Hardware Design" (CWE-1194)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1203Peripherals, On-chip Fabric, and Interface/IO Problems
PeerOfBaseBase - 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.1251Mirrored Regions with Different Values
+ 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.

Access Control

Technical Impact: Modify Memory; Read Memory; Bypass Protection Mechanism

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

A memory-controller IP block is connected to the on-chip fabric in a System on Chip (SoC). The memory controller is configured to divide the memory into four parts: one original and three mirrored regions inside the memory. The upper two bits of the address indicate which region is being addressed. 00 indicates the original region and 01, 10, and 11 are used to address the mirrored regions. All four regions operate in a lock-step manner and are always synchronized. The firewall in the on-chip fabric is programmed to protect the assets in the memory.

The firewall only protects the original range but not the mirrored regions.

The attacker (as an unprivileged user) sends a write transaction to the mirrored region. The mirrored region has an address with the upper two bits set to “10” and the remaining bits of the address pointing to an asset. The firewall does not block this write transaction. Once the write is successful, contents in the protected-memory region are also updated. Thus, the attacker can bypass existing, memory protections.

Firewall should protect mirrored regions.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

The fabric firewall should apply same protections as original region to the mirrored regions

Phase: Implementation

The fabric firewall should apply same protections as original region to the mirrored regions
+ Detection Methods

Manual Dynamic Analysis

Using an external debugger, send write transactions to mirrored regions to test if original, write-protected regions are modified. Similarly, send read transactions to mirrored regions to test if the original, read-protected signals can be read.

Effectiveness: High

+ References
[REF-1134] Taku Izumi, Fujitsu Limited. "Address Range Memory Mirroring". 2016. <>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2020-06-01Arun Kanuparthi, Hareesh Khattri, Parbati K. MannaIntel Corporation
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Page Last Updated: March 15, 2021