Insufficient Technical Documentation

The product does not contain sufficient technical or engineering documentation (whether on paper or in electronic form) that contains descriptions of all the relevant software/hardware elements of the product, such as its usage, structure, architectural components, interfaces, design, implementation, configuration, operation, etc.


When technical documentation is limited or lacking, products are more difficult to maintain. This indirectly affects security by making it more difficult or time-consuming to find and/or fix vulnerabilities.

When using time-limited or labor-limited third-party/in-house security consulting services (such as threat modeling, vulnerability discovery, or pentesting), insufficient documentation can force those consultants to invest unnecessary time in learning how the product is organized, instead of focusing their expertise on finding the flaws or suggesting effective mitigations.

With respect to hardware design, the lack of a formal, final manufacturer reference can make it difficult or impossible to evaluate the final product, including post-manufacture verification. One cannot ensure that design functionality or operation is within acceptable tolerances, conforms to specifications, and is free from unexpected behavior. Hardware-related documentation may include engineering artifacts such as hardware description language (HDLs), netlists, Gerber files, Bills of Materials, EDA (Electronic Design Automation) tool files, etc.

See Also

ICS Supply Chain: Poorly Documented or Undocumented Features

Weaknesses in this category are related to the "Poorly Documented or Undocumented Features" category from the SEI ETF "Categories of Security Vulnerabilities in ICS" a...

Cross-Cutting Problems

Weaknesses in this category can arise in multiple areas of hardware design or can apply to a wide cross-section of components.

Manufacturing and Life Cycle Management Concerns

Weaknesses in this category are root-caused to defects that arise in the semiconductor-manufacturing process or during the life cycle and supply chain.

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.

Quality Weaknesses with Indirect Security Impacts

CWE identifiers in this view (slice) are quality issues that only indirectly make it easier to introduce a vulnerability and/or make the vulnerability more difficult t...

Weaknesses without Software Fault Patterns

CWE identifiers in this view are weaknesses that do not have associated Software Fault Patterns (SFPs), as covered by the CWE-888 view. As such, they represent gaps in...

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