Exploit Hardware/Firmware Corruption: Design Flaws

Threat actors may target design features/flaws with the hardware design to their advantage to cause the desired impact. Threat actors may utilize the inherent design of the hardware (e.g. hardware timers, hardware interrupts, memory cells), which is intended to provide reliability, to their advantage to degrade other aspects like availability. Additionally, field programmable gate array (FPGA)/application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) logic can be exploited just like software code can be exploited. There could be logic/design flaws embedded in the hardware (i.e., FPGA/ASIC) which may be exploitable by a threat actor.

ID: EX-0005.01
Sub-technique of:  EX-0005
Related Aerospace Threat IDs:  SV-SP-5
Related MITRE ATT&CK TTPs:  T1495 | T1601 | T1542 | T1553 | T1195
Created: 2022/10/19
Last Modified: 2022/10/28


ID Name Description NIST Rev5
CM0022 Criticality Analysis Conduct a criticality analysis to identify mission critical functions, critical components, and data flows and reduce the vulnerability of such functions and components through secure system design. Focus supply chain protection on the most critical components/functions. Leverage other countermeasures like segmentation and least privilege to protect the critical components. CP-2(8) PM-11 PM-17 PM-30 PM-30(1) PM-32 RA-3(1) RA-9 RA-9 SA-15(3) SC-32(1) SC-7(29) SR-1 SR-1 SR-2 SR-2(1) SR-3 SR-3(2) SR-3(3) SR-5(1) SR-7
CM0024 Anti-counterfeit Hardware Develop and implement anti-counterfeit policy and procedures designed to detect and prevent counterfeit components from entering the information system, including tamper resistance and protection against the introduction of malicious code or hardware.  AC-20(5) CM-7(9) PM-30 PM-30(1) RA-3(1) SA-10(3) SA-10(4) SR-1 SR-10 SR-11 SR-11 SR-11(3) SR-11(3) SR-2 SR-2(1) SR-3 SR-4 SR-4(1) SR-4(2) SR-4(3) SR-4(4) SR-5 SR-5(2) SR-6(1) SR-9 SR-9(1)
CM0025 Supplier Review Conduct a supplier review prior to entering into a contractual agreement with a contractor (or sub-contractor) to acquire systems, system components, or system services. PM-30 PM-30(1) RA-3(1) SR-11 SR-3(1) SR-3(3) SR-4 SR-4(1) SR-4(2) SR-4(3) SR-4(4) SR-5 SR-5(1) SR-5(2) SR-6 SR-6
CM0026 Original Component Manufacturer Components/Software that cannot be procured from the original component manufacturer or their authorized franchised distribution network should be approved by the supply chain board or equivalent to prevent and detect counterfeit and fraudulent parts, materials, and software. AC-20(5) PM-30 PM-30(1) RA-3(1) SA-10(4) SR-1 SR-1 SR-11 SR-2 SR-2(1) SR-3 SR-3(1) SR-3(3) SR-4 SR-4(1) SR-4(2) SR-4(3) SR-4(4) SR-5 SR-5 SR-5(1) SR-5(2)
CM0027 ASIC/FPGA Manufacturing Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) / Field Programmable Gate Arrays should be developed by accredited trusted foundries to limit potential hardware-based trojan injections. PM-30 PM-30(1) RA-3(1) SA-10(3) SI-3 SR-1 SR-1 SR-11 SR-2 SR-2(1) SR-3 SR-5 SR-5(2) SR-6(1)
CM0028 Tamper Protection Perform physical inspection of hardware to look for potential tampering. Leverage tamper proof protection where possible when shipping/receiving equipment. CA-8(3) CM-7(9) MA-7 PM-30 PM-30(1) RA-3(1) SA-10(3) SA-10(4) SC-51 SR-1 SR-1 SR-10 SR-11 SR-11(3) SR-2 SR-2(1) SR-3 SR-4(3) SR-4(4) SR-5 SR-5 SR-5(2) SR-6(1) SR-9 SR-9(1)
CM0018 Dynamic Analysis Employ dynamic analysis (e.g., using simulation, penetration testing, fuzzing, etc.) to identify software/firmware weaknesses and vulnerabilities in developed and incorporated code (open source, commercial, or third-party developed code). Testing should occur (1) on potential system elements before acceptance; (2) as a realistic simulation of known adversary tactics, techniques, procedures (TTPs), and tools; and (3) throughout the lifecycle on physical and logical systems, elements, and processes. FLATSATs as well as digital twins can be used to perform the dynamic analysis depending on the TTPs being executed. Digital twins via instruction set simulation (i.e., emulation) can provide robust environment for dynamic analysis and TTP execution. CA-8 CP-4(5) RA-5(11) SA-11(5) SA-11(8) SA-11(9) SC-2(2) SC-7(29) SI-3 SR-6(1) SR-6(1)
CM0032 On-board Intrusion Detection & Prevention Utilize on-board intrusion detection/prevention system that monitors the mission critical components or systems and audit/logs actions. The IDS/IPS should have the capability to respond to threats (initial access, execution, persistence, evasion, exfiltration, etc.) and it should address signature-based attacks along with dynamic never-before seen attacks using machine learning/adaptive technologies. The IDS/IPS must integrate with traditional fault management to provide a wholistic approach to faults on-board the spacecraft. Spacecraft should select and execute safe countermeasures against cyber-attacks.  These countermeasures are a ready supply of options to triage against the specific types of attack and mission priorities. Minimally, the response should ensure vehicle safety and continued operations. Ideally, the goal is to trap the threat, convince the threat that it is successful, and trace and track the attacker — with or without ground support. This would support successful attribution and evolving countermeasures to mitigate the threat in the future. “Safe countermeasures” are those that are compatible with the system’s fault management system to avoid unintended effects or fratricide on the system. AU-14 AU-2 AU-3 AU-3(1) AU-4 AU-4(1) AU-5 AU-5(2) AU-5(5) AU-6(1) AU-6(4) AU-8 AU-9 AU-9(2) AU-9(3) CA-7(6) CM-11(3) CP-10 CP-10(4) IR-4 IR-4(11) IR-4(12) IR-4(14) IR-4(5) IR-5 IR-5(1) RA-10 RA-3(4) SA-8(21) SA-8(22) SA-8(23) SC-16(2) SC-32(1) SC-5 SC-5(3) SC-7(10) SC-7(9) SI-10(6) SI-16 SI-17 SI-3 SI-3(8) SI-4 SI-4(1) SI-4(10) SI-4(11) SI-4(13) SI-4(16) SI-4(17) SI-4(2) SI-4(23) SI-4(24) SI-4(25) SI-4(4) SI-4(5) SI-6 SI-7(17) SI-7(8)
CM0014 Secure boot Software/Firmware must verify a trust chain that extends through the hardware root of trust, boot loader, boot configuration file, and operating system image, in that order. The trusted boot/RoT computing module should be implemented on radiation tolerant burn-in (non-programmable) equipment.  SC-51 SI-7(9)


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