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CAPEC-516: Hardware Component Substitution During Baselining

Attack Pattern ID: 516
Abstraction: Detailed
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+ Description
An adversary with access to system components during allocated baseline development can substitute a maliciously altered hardware component for a baseline component during the product development and research phases. This can lead to adjustments and calibrations being made in the product so that when the final product, now containing the modified component, is deployed it will not perform as designed and be advantageous to the adversary.
+ Likelihood Of Attack


+ Typical Severity


+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.
ChildOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.444Development Alteration
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Prerequisites
The adversary will need either physical access or be able to supply malicious hardware components to the product development facility.
+ Skills Required
[Level: Medium]
Intelligence data on victim's purchasing habits.
[Level: High]
Resources to maliciously construct/alter hardware components used for testing by the supplier.
[Level: High]
Resources to physically infiltrate supplier.
+ Mitigations
Hardware attacks are often difficult to detect, as inserted components can be difficult to identify or remain dormant for an extended period of time.
Acquire hardware and hardware components from trusted vendors. Additionally, determine where vendors purchase components or if any components are created/acquired via subcontractors to determine where supply chain risks may exist.
+ Example Instances

An adversary supplies the product development facility of a network security device with a hardware component that is used to simulate large volumes of network traffic. The device claims in logs, stats, and via the display panel to be pumping out very large quantities of network traffic, when it is in fact putting out very low volumes. The developed product is adjusted and configured to handle what it believes to be a heavy network load, but when deployed at the victim site the large volumes of network traffic are dropped instead of being processed by the network security device. This allows the adversary an advantage when attacking the victim in that the adversary's presence may not be detected by the device.

+ Taxonomy Mappings
Section HelpCAPEC mappings to ATT&CK techniques leverage an inheritance model to streamline and minimize direct CAPEC/ATT&CK mappings. Inheritance of a mapping is indicated by text stating that the parent CAPEC has relevant ATT&CK mappings. Note that the ATT&CK Enterprise Framework does not use an inheritance model as part of the mapping to CAPEC.
Relevant to the ATT&CK taxonomy mapping
Entry IDEntry Name
1195.003Supply Chain Compromise: Compromise Hardware Supply Chain
+ References
[REF-439] John F. Miller. "Supply Chain Attack Framework and Attack Patterns". The MITRE Corporation. 2013. <>.
[REF-712] Cristin Goodwin and Joram Borenstein. "Guarding against supply chain attacks—Part 2: Hardware risks". Microsoft. 2020-02-03. <>. URL validated: 2022-02-17.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
(Version 2.6)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
(Version 2.7)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Examples-Instances, Related_Attack_Patterns, Typical_Likelihood_of_Exploit
(Version 3.2)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
(Version 3.5)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
(Version 3.7)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Description, Example_Instances, Mitigations, Prerequisites, References
(Version 3.8)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Taxonomy_Mappings
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018