Unprotected Alternate Channel

The product protects a primary channel, but it does not use the same level of protection for an alternate channel.


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

Register SECURE_ME is located at address 0xF00. A mirror of this register called COPY_OF_SECURE_ME is at location 0x800F00. The register SECURE_ME is protected from malicious agents and only allows access to select, while COPY_OF_SECURE_ME is not.

Access control is implemented using an allowlist (as indicated by acl_oh_allowlist). The identity of the initiator of the transaction is indicated by the one hot input, incoming_id. This is checked against the acl_oh_allowlist (which contains a list of initiators that are allowed to access the asset).

Though this example is shown in Verilog, it will apply to VHDL as well.

module foo_bar(data_out, data_in, incoming_id, address, clk, rst_n);
output [31:0] data_out;
input [31:0] data_in, incoming_id, address;
input clk, rst_n;
wire write_auth, addr_auth;
reg [31:0] data_out, acl_oh_allowlist, q;
assign write_auth = | (incoming_id & acl_oh_allowlist) ? 1 : 0;
always @*

  acl_oh_allowlist <= 32'h8312;

assign addr_auth = (address == 32'hF00) ? 1: 0;
always @ (posedge clk or negedge rst_n)

  if (!rst_n)


      q <= 32'h0;
      data_out <= 32'h0;




      q <= (addr_auth & write_auth) ? data_in: q;
      data_out <= q;



assign addr_auth = (address == 32'hF00) ? 1: 0;

The bugged line of code is repeated in the Bad example above. The weakness arises from the fact that the SECURE_ME register can be modified by writing to the shadow register COPY_OF_SECURE_ME. The address of COPY_OF_SECURE_ME should also be included in the check. That buggy line of code should instead be replaced as shown in the Good Code Snippet below.

assign addr_auth = (address == 32'hF00 || address == 32'h800F00) ? 1: 0;

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control

Weaknesses in this category are related to access control.

Authorize Actors

Weaknesses in this category are related to the design and architecture of a system's authorization components. Frequently these deal with enforcing that agents have th...

SFP Secondary Cluster: Channel Attack

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Channel Attack cluster.

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.

Common Weakness Enumeration content on this website is copyright of The MITRE Corporation unless otherwise specified. Use of the Common Weakness Enumeration and the associated references on this website are subject to the Terms of Use as specified by The MITRE Corporation.