Missing Cryptographic Step

The product does not implement a required step in a cryptographic algorithm, resulting in weaker encryption than advertised by the algorithm.


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

The example code is taken from the HMAC engine inside the buggy OpenPiton SoC of HACK@DAC'21 [REF-1358]. HAMC is a message authentication code (MAC) that uses both a hash and a secret crypto key. The HMAC engine in HACK@DAC SoC uses the SHA-256 module for the calculation of the HMAC for 512 bits messages.

logic [511:0] bigData;

hmac hmac(

  .rst_ni(rst_ni && ~rst_4),
  .init_i(startHash && ~startHash_r),

However, this HMAC engine cannot handle messages that are longer than 512 bits. Moreover, a complete HMAC will contain an iterate hash function that breaks up a message into blocks of a fixed size and iterates over them with a compression function (e.g., SHA-256). Therefore, the implementation of the HMAC in OpenPiton SoC is incomplete. Such HMAC engines will not be used in real-world applications as the messages will usually be longer than 512 bits. For instance, OpenTitan offers a comprehensive HMAC implementation that utilizes a FIFO for temporarily storing the truncated message, as detailed in [REF-1359].

To mitigate this, implement the iterative function to break up a message into blocks of a fixed size.

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Encryption

Weaknesses in this category are related to encryption.

ICS Communications: Frail Security in Protocols

Weaknesses in this category are related to the "Frail Security in Protocols" category from the SEI ETF "Categories of Security Vulnerabilities in ICS" as published in ...

OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A02:2021 - Cryptographic Failures

Weaknesses in this category are related to the A02 category "Cryptographic Failures" in the OWASP Top Ten 2021.

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

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

CWE Cross-section

This view contains a selection of weaknesses that represent the variety of weaknesses that are captured in CWE, at a level of abstraction that is likely to be useful t...

Weaknesses Introduced During Implementation

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

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