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CAPEC-519: Documentation Alteration to Cause Errors in System Design

Attack Pattern ID: 519
Abstraction: Detailed
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+ Description
An attacker with access to a manufacturer's documentation containing requirements allocation and software design processes maliciously alters the documentation in order to cause errors in system design. This allows the attacker to take advantage of a weakness in a deployed system of the manufacturer for malicious purposes.
+ 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.447Design Alteration
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Prerequisites
Advanced knowledge of software capabilities of a manufacturer's product.
Access to the manufacturer's documentation.
+ Skills Required
[Level: High]
Ability to read, interpret, and subsequently alter manufacturer's documentation to cause errors in system design.
[Level: High]
Ability to stealthly gain access via remote compromise or physical access to the manufacturer's documentation.
+ Mitigations
Digitize documents and cryptographically sign them to verify authenticity.
Password protect documents and make them read-only for unauthorized users.
Avoid emailing important documents and configurations.
Ensure deleted files are actually deleted.
Maintain multiple instances of the document across different privileged users for recovery and verification.
+ Example Instances
During operation, a firewall will restart various subsystems to reload and implement new rules as added by the user. An attacker alters the software design dependencies in the manufacturer's documentation so that under certain predictable conditions the reload will fail to load in rules resulting in a "fail open" state. Once deployed at a victim site, this will allow the attacker to bypass the victim's firewall.
+ References
[REF-439] John F. Miller. "Supply Chain Attack Framework and Attack Patterns". The MITRE Corporation. 2013. <>.
[REF-715] Marie Prokopets. "How To Secure Your Documents". Nira. <>. URL validated: 2022-02-21.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
(Version 2.6)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
(Version 2.7)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Typical_Likelihood_of_Exploit
(Version 3.2)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
(Version 3.7)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Mitigations, References
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018