The Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) 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 vulnerability reports, and how long security researchers need to wait before publicly disclosing vulnerabilities.
FHFA-OIG encourages you to contact us to report potential vulnerabilities in our systems.
Authorization for Researchers
You must comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws in connection with your security research activities or other participation in this vulnerability disclosure program. FHFA-OIG does not authorize, permit, or otherwise allow (expressly or impliedly) any person, including any individual, group of individuals, consortium, partnership, or any other business or legal entity to engage in any security research or vulnerability or threat disclosure activity that is inconsistent with this policy or the law. If you engage in any activities that are inconsistent with this policy or the law, you may be subject to criminal and/or civil liabilities.
To the extent that any security research or vulnerability disclosure activity involves the networks, systems, information, applications, products, or services of a non-FHFA-OIG entity (e.g., other Federal departments or agencies; State, local, or tribal governments; private sector companies or persons; employees or personnel of any such entities; or any other such third party), that non-FHFA-OIG third party may independently determine whether to pursue legal action or remedies related to such activities.
FHFA-OIG commits to not recommend or pursue legal action against anyone for qualifying security research activities that FHFA-OIG concludes represent a good faith effort to follow this policy. FHFA-OIG will consider this type of activity as authorized.
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 us 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.
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-OIG 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-OIG systems; or intentionally impair, disrupt, or disable FHFA-OIG systems.
- Test third-party applications, websites, or services that integrate with or link to or from FHFA-OIG systems.
- Delete, alter, share, retain, or destroy FHFA-OIG data, or render FHFA-OIG data inaccessible.
- Use an exploit to exfiltrate data, establish command line access, establish a persistent presence on FHFA-OIG systems, or “pivot” to other FHFA-OIG systems.
Security researchers may:
- View or store FHFA-OIG 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-OIG nonpublic data upon reporting a vulnerability.
The following systems / services are in scope:
Any services 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 ReportAbuse@fhfaoig.gov before starting your research.
Reporting a Vulnerability
Reports are accepted via electronic mail at ReportAbuse@fhfaoig.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 also file archives including zip, 7zip, and gzip.
Researchers may submit reports anonymously. Or, researchers may provide contact information, and any preferred methods or times of day to communicate, as they see fit. We may contact researchers to clarify reported vulnerability information or other technical interchange.
FHFA-OIG 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-OIG, researchers warrant that the report and any attachments do not violate the intellectual property rights of any third party and the submitter grants FHFA-OIG 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.
FHFA-OIG is committed to timely correction of vulnerabilities. However, we recognize that public disclosure of a vulnerability in the 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 (CISA), as well as any affected vendors. We will not share names or contact data of security researchers unless given explicit permission.
Questions regarding this policy may be sent to ReportAbuse@fhfaoig.gov. FHFA-OIG encourages security researchers to contact us for clarification on any element of this policy. Please contact us 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.
Issuance Date: March 9, 2021