Product Released in Non-Release Configuration

The product released to market is released in pre-production or manufacturing configuration.


Products in the pre-production or manufacturing stages are configured to have many debug hooks and debug capabilities, including but not limited to:

Ability to override/bypass various cryptographic checks (including authentication, authorization, and integrity)

Ability to read/write/modify/dump internal state (including registers and memory)

Ability to change system configurations

Ability to run hidden or private commands that are not allowed during production (as they expose IP).

The above is by no means an exhaustive list, but it alludes to the greater capability and the greater state of vulnerability of a product during it's preproduction or manufacturing state.

Complexity increases when multiple parties are involved in executing the tests before the final production version. For example, a chipmaker might fabricate a chip and run its own preproduction tests, following which the chip would be delivered to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), who would now run a second set of different preproduction tests on the same chip. Only after both of these sets of activities are complete, can the overall manufacturing phase be called "complete" and have the "Manufacturing Complete" fuse blown. However, if the OEM forgets to blow the Manufacturing Complete fuse, then the system remains in the manufacturing stage, rendering the system both exposed and vulnerable.


The following examples help to illustrate the nature of this weakness and describe methods or techniques which can be used to mitigate the risk.

Note that the examples here are by no means exhaustive and any given weakness may have many subtle varieties, each of which may require different detection methods or runtime controls.

Example One

This example shows what happens when a preproduction system is made available for production.

Suppose the chipmaker has a way of scanning all the internal memory (containing chipmaker-level secrets) during the manufacturing phase, and the way the chipmaker or the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) marks the end of the manufacturing phase is by blowing a Manufacturing Complete fuse. Now, suppose that whoever blows the Manufacturing Complete fuse inadvertently forgets to execute the step to blow the fuse.

An attacker will now be able to scan all the internal memory (containing chipmaker-level secrets).

Blow the Manufacturing Complete fuse.

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Protection Mechanism Failure

Weaknesses in this category are related to protection mechanism failure.

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.

Weaknesses Introduced During Implementation

This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during implementation.

Weakness Base Elements

This view (slice) displays only weakness base elements.

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