Improper Access Control in Fabric Bridge

The product uses a fabric bridge for transactions between two Intellectual Property (IP) blocks, but the bridge does not properly perform the expected privilege, identity, or other access control checks between those IP blocks.


In hardware designs, different IP blocks are connected through interconnect-bus fabrics (e.g. AHB and OCP). Within a System on Chip (SoC), the IP block subsystems could be using different bus protocols. In such a case, the IP blocks are then linked to the central bus (and to other IP blocks) through a fabric bridge. Bridges are used as bus-interconnect-routing modules that link different protocols or separate, different segments of the overall SoC interconnect.

For overall system security, it is important that the access-control privileges associated with any fabric transaction are consistently maintained and applied, even when they are routed or translated by a fabric bridge. A bridge that is connected to a fabric without security features forwards transactions to the slave without checking the privilege level of the master and results in a weakness in SoC access-control security. The same weakness occurs if a bridge does not check the hardware identity of the transaction received from the slave interface of the bridge.


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 is from CVE-2019-6260 [REF-1138]. The iLPC2AHB bridge connects a CPU (with multiple, privilege levels, such as user, super user, debug, etc.) over AHB interface to an LPC bus. Several peripherals are connected to the LPC bus. The bridge is expected to check the privilege level of the transactions initiated in the core before forwarding them to the peripherals on the LPC bus.

The bridge does not implement the checks and allows reads and writes from all privilege levels.

To address this, designers should implement hardware-based checks that are either hardcoded to block untrusted agents from accessing secure peripherals or implement firmware flows that configure the bridge to block untrusted agents from making arbitrary reads or writes.

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control

Weaknesses in this category are related to access control.

Peripherals, On-chip Fabric, and Interface/IO Problems

Weaknesses in this category are related to hardware security problems that apply to peripheral devices, IO interfaces, on-chip interconnects, network-o...

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.

Weaknesses Introduced During Design

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

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