9.2. Advisory TFV-2 (CVE-2017-7564)


Enabled secure self-hosted invasive debug interface can allow normal world to panic secure world




02 Feb 2017

Versions Affected

All versions up to v1.3

Configurations Affected



Denial of Service (secure world panic)

Fix Version

15 Feb 2017 Pull Request #841



The MDCR_EL3.SDD bit controls AArch64 secure self-hosted invasive debug enablement. By default, the BL1 and BL31 images of the current version of ARM Trusted Firmware (TF) unconditionally assign this bit to 0 in the early entrypoint code, which enables debug exceptions from the secure world. This can be seen in the implementation of the el3_arch_init_common AArch64 macro . Given that TF does not currently contain support for this feature (for example, by saving and restoring the appropriate debug registers), this may allow a normal world attacker to induce a panic in the secure world.

The MDCR_EL3.SDD bit should be assigned to 1 to disable debug exceptions from the secure world.

Earlier versions of TF (prior to commit 495f3d3) did not assign this bit. Since the bit has an architecturally UNKNOWN reset value, earlier versions may or may not have the same problem, depending on the platform.

A similar issue applies to the MDCR_EL3.SPD32 bits, which control AArch32 secure self-hosted invasive debug enablement. TF assigns these bits to 00 meaning that debug exceptions from Secure EL1 are enabled by the authentication interface. Therefore this issue only exists for AArch32 Secure EL1 code when secure privileged invasive debug is enabled by the authentication interface, at which point the device is vulnerable to other, more serious attacks anyway.

However, given that TF contains no support for handling debug exceptions, the MDCR_EL3.SPD32 bits should be assigned to 10 to disable debug exceptions from AArch32 Secure EL1.

Finally, this also issue applies to AArch32 platforms that use the TF SP_MIN image or integrate the AArch32 equivalent of the el3_arch_init_common macro. Here the affected bits are SDCR.SPD, which should also be assigned to 10 instead of 00