Reliance on Insufficiently Trustworthy Component

The product is built from multiple separate components, but it uses a component that is not sufficiently trusted to meet expectations for security, reliability, updateability, and maintainability.


Many modern hardware and software products are built by combining multiple smaller components together into one larger entity, often during the design or architecture phase. For example, a hardware component might be built by a separate supplier, or the product might use an open-source software library from a third party.

Regardless of the source, each component should be sufficiently trusted to ensure correct, secure operation of the product. If a component is not trustworthy, it can produce significant risks for the overall product, such as vulnerabilities that cannot be patched fast enough (if at all); hidden functionality such as malware; inability to update or replace the component if needed for security purposes; hardware components built from parts that do not meet specifications in ways that can lead to weaknesses; etc. Note that a component might not be trustworthy even if it is owned by the product vendor, such as a software component whose source code is lost and was built by developers who left the company, or a component that was developed by a separate company that was acquired and brought into the product's own company.

Note that there can be disagreement as to whether a component is sufficiently trustworthy, since trust is ultimately subjective. Different stakeholders (e.g., customers, vendors, governments) have various threat models and ways to assess trust, and design/architecture choices might make tradeoffs between security, reliability, safety, privacy, cost, and other characteristics.

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Poor Coding Practices

Weaknesses in this category are related to poor coding practices.

ICS Supply Chain: Common Mode Frailties

Weaknesses in this category are related to the "Common Mode Frailties" category from the SEI ETF "Categories of Security Vulnerabilities in ICS" as published in March ...

ICS Dependencies (& Architecture): External Digital Systems

Weaknesses in this category are related to the "External Digital Systems" category from the SEI ETF "Categories of Security Vulnerabilities in ICS" as published in Mar...

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

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Weaknesses Addressed by ISA/IEC 62443 Requirements

This view (slice) covers weaknesses that are addressed by following requirements in the ISA/IEC 62443 series of standards for industrial automation and control systems...

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