Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-531: Hardware Component Substitution (Version 2.11)  

CAPEC-531: Hardware Component Substitution

Hardware Component Substitution
Definition in a New Window Definition in a New Window
Attack Pattern ID: 531
Abstraction: Detailed
Status: Draft
Completeness: Stub
Presentation Filter:
+ Summary

An attacker substitutes out a tested and approved hardware component for a maliciously-altered hardware component. This type of attack is carried out directly on the system, enabling the attacker to then cause disruption or additional compromise.

+ Attack Prerequisites
  • Physical access to the system or the integration facility where hardware components are kept.

+ Typical Severity


+ Typical Likelihood of Exploit

Likelihood: Low

The nature of these type of attacks involve a coordinated effort between well-funded multiple attackers, and sometimes require physical access to successfully complete an attack. As a result these types of attacks are not launched on a large scale against any potential victim, but are typically highly targeted against victims who are often targeted and may have rather sophisticated cyber defenses already in place.

+ Examples-Instances


An attacker has access to an organization's warehouse of card readers being included as a part of an overall security system. By replacing a critical hardware component in the card reader, the attacker is able to alter the function of the card reader to allow an attacker-supplied card to bypass a security checkpoint. The card reader is placed in the warehouse, and later used in the victim's security system. The attacker is then able to go to the victim and use their own card and bypass a physical security checkpoint and gain access to the victim's location for further malicious activity.

+ Attacker Skills or Knowledge Required

Skill or Knowledge Level: High

Able to develop and manufacture malicious system components that perform the same functions and processes as their non-malicious counterparts.

+ Content History
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2014-06-23Internal_CAPEC_Team
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2015-11-09Updated Attack_Prerequisites, Description Summary, Examples-Instances, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Typical_Likelihood_of_ExploitInternal
Previous Entry Names
DatePrevious Entry Name
2015-11-09Hardware Component Substitution After Installation

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: August 04, 2017