CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

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ID

CWE-1384: Improper Handling of Physical or Environmental Conditions

Weakness ID: 1384
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product does not properly handle unexpected physical or environmental conditions that occur naturally or are artificially induced.
+ Extended Description

Hardware products are typically only guaranteed to behave correctly within certain physical limits or environmental conditions. Such products cannot necessarily control the physical or external conditions to which they are subjected. However, the inability to handle such conditions can undermine a product's security. For example, an unexpected physical or environmental condition may cause the flipping of a bit that is used for an authentication decision. This unexpected condition could occur naturally or be induced artificially by an adversary.

Physical or environmental conditions of concern are:

  • Atmospheric characteristics: extreme temperature ranges, etc.
  • Interference: electromagnetic interference (EMI), radio frequency interference (RFI), etc.
  • Assorted light sources: white light, ultra-violet light (UV), lasers, infrared (IR), etc.
  • Power variances: under-voltages, over-voltages, under-current, over-current, etc.
  • Clock variances: glitching, overclocking, clock stretching, etc.
  • Component aging and degradation
  • Materials manipulation: focused ion beams (FIB), etc.
  • Exposure to radiation: x-rays, cosmic radiation, etc.
+ Relationships
Section HelpThis 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)
NatureTypeIDName
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.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1247Improper Protection Against Voltage and Clock Glitches
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1261Improper Handling of Single Event Upsets
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1332Improper Handling of Faults that Lead to Instruction Skips
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1351Improper Handling of Hardware Behavior in Exceptionally Cold Environments
Section HelpThis 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 "Hardware Design" (CWE-1194)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1388Physical Access Issues and Concerns
+ Modes Of Introduction
Section HelpThe 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.
PhaseNote
Architecture and DesignThe product's design might not consider checking and handling extreme conditions.
ManufacturingFor hardware manufacturing, sub-par components might be chosen that are not able to handle the expected environmental conditions.
+ Applicable Platforms
Section HelpThis 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.

Technologies

Class: System on Chip (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences
Section HelpThis 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.
ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability

Technical Impact: Varies by Context; Unexpected State

Consequences of this weakness are highly dependent on the role of affected components within the larger product.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Requirements

In requirements, be specific about expectations for how the product will perform when it exceeds physical and environmental boundary conditions, e.g., by shutting down.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Where possible, include independent components that can detect excess environmental conditions and have the capability to shut down the product.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Where possible, use shielding or other materials that can increase the adversary's workload and reduce the likelihood of being able to successfully trigger a security-related failure.
+ Memberships
Section HelpThis MemberOf Relationships table shows additional CWE Categories and Views that reference this weakness as a member. This information is often useful in understanding where a weakness fits within the context of external information sources.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1365ICS Communications: Unreliability
+ References
[REF-1248] Securing Energy Infrastructure Executive Task Force (SEI ETF). "Categories of Security Vulnerabilities in ICS". ICS Communications / 2. Unreliability. 2022-03-09. <https://inl.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/SEI-ETF-NCSV-TPT-Categories-of-Security-Vulnerabilities-ICS-v1_03-09-22.pdf>.
[REF-1255] Sergei P. Skorobogatov. "Semi-invasive attacks – A new approach to hardware security analysis". 2005-04. <https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-630.pdf>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2022-04-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Contributions
Contribution DateContributorOrganization
2022-05-13Members of the Hardware CWE Special Interest Group
Provided feedback on descriptions
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2022-06-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships, Type
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2022-06-28Improper Handling of Extreme Physical Environment Conditions
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Page Last Updated: June 28, 2022