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Vulnerability Disclosure Policy

 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA") is committed to ensuring the security of the American public by protecting their information. This policy is intended to give security researchers clear guidelines for conducting vulnerability discovery activities and to convey our preferences in how to submit discovered vulnerabilities to us. 

This policy describes what systems and types of research are covered under this policy, how to send us vulnerability reports, and how long security researchers need to wait before publicly disclosing vulnerabilities.

FHFA encourages you to contact us to report potential vulnerabilities in our systems.

Authorization for Researchers

If you make a good faith effort to comply with this policy during your security research we will consider your research to be authorized, and we will work with you to understand and resolve the issue quickly. FHFA will not recommend or pursue legal action related to your research. Should legal action be initiated by a third party against you for activities that were conducted in accordance with this policy, we will make this authorization known.

Guidelines

Under this policy, “research" means activities in which you:

  • Notify us as soon as possible after you discover a real or potential security issue.
  • Make every effort to avoid privacy violations, degradation of user experience, disruption to production systems, and destruction or manipulation of data.
  • Only use exploits to the extent necessary to confirm a vulnerability's presence. Do not use an exploit to compromise or exfiltrate data, establish persistent command line access, or use the exploit to pivot to other systems.
  • Provide FHFA a reasonable amount of time to resolve the issue before you disclose it publicly.
  • Do not submit a high volume of low-quality reports.

Once you have established that a vulnerability exists or encounter any sensitive data (including personally identifiable information, financial information, or proprietary information or trade secrets of any party), you must stop your test, notify us immediately, and not disclose this data to anyone else.

Test Methods

Security researchers must not:

  • Test any system other than the systems set forth in the 'Scope' section below.
  • Disclose vulnerability information except as set forth in the 'Reporting a Vulnerability' and 'Disclosure' sections below.
  • Engage in physical testing of facilities or resources.
  • Engage in social engineering.
  • Send unsolicited electronic mail to FHFA users, including “phishing" messages.
  • Execute or attempt to execute “Denial of Service" or “Resource Exhaustion" attacks.
  • Introduce malicious software.
  • Test in a manner which could degrade the operation of FHFA systems; or intentionally impair, disrupt, or disable FHFA systems.
  • Test third-party applications, websites, or services that integrate with or link to or from FHFA systems.
  • Delete, alter, share, retain, or destroy FHFA data, or render FHFA data inaccessible.
  • Use an exploit to exfiltrate data, establish command line access, establish a persistent presence on FHFA systems, or “pivot" to other FHFA systems.

Security researchers may:

  • View or store FHFA nonpublic data only to the extent necessary to document the presence of a potential vulnerability.

Security researchers must:

  • Cease testing and notify us immediately upon discovery of a vulnerability.
  • Cease testing and notify us immediately upon discovery of an exposure of nonpublic data.
  • Purge any stored FHFA nonpublic data upon reporting a vulnerability.

Scope

The following systems / services are in scope:

  • *.fhfa.gov
  • *.mortgagetranslations.gov

Any service not expressly listed above are excluded from scope and are not authorized for testing. Additionally, vulnerabilities found in non-federal systems from our vendors fall outside of this policy's scope and should be reported directly to the vendor according to their disclosure policy (if any). If you aren't sure whether a system is in scope or not, contact us at domainsecurity@fhfa.gov before starting your research.

Reporting a Vulnerability

Reports are accepted via electronic mail at domainsecurity@fhfa.gov.  Acceptable message formats are plain text, rich text, and HTML.

Reports should provide a detailed technical description of the steps required to reproduce the vulnerability, including a description of any tools needed to identify or exploit the vulnerability.  Images, e.g., screen captures, and other documents may be attached to reports.  It is helpful to give attachments illustrative names.  Reports may include proof-of-concept code that demonstrates exploitation of the vulnerability. We request that any scripts or exploit code be embedded into non-executable file types.  We can process all common file types, and file archives including zip, 7zip, and gzip.

Researchers may submit reports anonymously, or provide contact information, and any preferred methods or times of day to communicate.  We may contact researchers to clarify reported vulnerability information or other technical interchange.

FHFA prefers that vulnerability report messages be encrypted.  We utilize opportunistic Transport Layer Security (TLS) for both incoming and outgoing electronic mail.

By submitting a report to FHFA, researchers warrant that the report and any attachments do not violate the intellectual property rights of any third party and the submitter grants FHFA a non-exclusive, royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual license to use, reproduce, create derivative works, and publish the report and any attachments.

What you can expect from us?

When you choose to share your contact information with us, we commit to coordinating with you as openly and as quickly as possible.

  • Within five business days, we will acknowledge that your report has been received.
  • To the best of our ability, we will confirm the existence of the vulnerability to you.
  • Implement corrective actions if appropriate.
  • Inform you of the disposition of reported vulnerabilities.

Disclosure

The FHFA is committed to timely correction of vulnerabilities.  However, we recognize that public disclosure of a vulnerability in absence of a readily available corrective action likely increases versus decreases risk.  Accordingly, we require that you refrain from sharing information about discovered vulnerabilities for 90 calendar days after you have received our acknowledgement of receipt of your report.  If you believe others should be informed of the vulnerability prior to our implementation of corrective actions, we require that you coordinate in advance with us.

We may share vulnerability reports with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as well as any affected vendors.  We will not share names or contact data of security researchers unless given explicit permission.

Questions

Questions regarding this policy may be sent to domainsecurity@fhfa.gov.  The FHFA encourages security researchers to contact us for clarification on any element of this policy.  Please contact FHFA prior to conducting research if you are unsure if a specific test method is inconsistent with or unaddressed by this policy.  We also invite security researchers to contact us with suggestions for improving this policy.

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