I'm reviewing CVSS 3.1 specification, recently.

I encounter the example below:

Sophos Login Screen Bypass Vulnerability (CVE-2014-2005)

Sophos Disk Encryption (SDE) 5.x in Sophos Enterprise Console (SEC) 5.x before 5.2.2 does not enforce intended authentication requirements for a resume action from sleep mode, which allows physically proximate attackers to obtain desktop access by leveraging the absence of a login screen.

For this vulnerability, the attack vector parameter is set to Physical, but based on CVSS 3.1 description and specification, it should be Local.


The vulnerable component is not bound to the network stack and the attacker’s path is via read/write/execute capabilities. Either: the attacker exploits the vulnerability by accessing the target system locally (e.g., keyboard, console), or remotely (e.g., SSH); or the attacker relies on User Interaction by another person to perform actions required to exploit the vulnerability (e.g., using social engineering techniques to trick a legitimate user into opening a malicious document).


The attack requires the attacker to physically touch or manipulate the vulnerable component. Physical interaction may be brief (e.g., evil maid attack[^1]) or persistent. An example of such an attack is a cold boot attack in which an attacker gains access to disk encryption keys after physically accessing the target system. Other examples include peripheral attacks via FireWire/USB Direct Memory Access (DMA).

Do have I any misunderstanding here??

am I wrong??


1 Answer 1


Your confusion is warranted. I would assess it as "Local" based on the definitions.

FIRST assesses this vulnerability as "Local" in CVSS 2.0 but "Physical" in 3.1:

Metric Value Comments
Attack Vector Physical Requires physical access to the device.
Attack Complexity Low While the attack requires a specific pre-requisite (resume from sleep mode), the attack will succeed every time that pre-requisite occurs, resulting in low complexity.

Since it is about accessing the device upon wake up, and before logging in, that requires not just access, but physical access before logging in. So, it makes sense that it is "physical".

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