Vulnerability Disclosure Policy
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 we ask security researchers to wait before publicly disclosing vulnerabilities.
We encourage you to contact us to report potential vulnerabilities in our systems
If you make a good faith effort to comply with this policy during your security research, we will consider that security research to be authorized, we will work with you to understand and resolve the issue quickly, and Tennessee Valley Authority will not recommend legal action related to your security research that is consistent with this policy. You are expected, as always, to comply with all applicable laws.
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’ve 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.
The following test methods are not authorized:
- Network denial of service (DoS or DDoS) tests or other tests that impair access to or damage a system or data
- Physical testing (e.g. office access, open doors, tailgating), social engineering (e.g. phishing, vishing), or any other non-technical vulnerability testing
- Defacing or alteration of websites
Before adding a system or service to the scope, ensure you are permitted to authorize security testing on the system or service. Specifically, if you, e.g., use a managed service provider or software as a service, confirm whether the vendor has explicitly authorized such testing, such as in your agency’s contract with the provider or their publicly available policy. If not, you should work with the vendor to obtain authorization. If it is not possible to obtain the vendor’s authorization, you may not include those systems or services in scope of your policy.
This policy applies to the following systems and services:
Any service not expressly listed above, such as any connected services, are excluded from scope and are not authorized for testing. Additionally, vulnerabilities found in 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 email@example.com before
starting your research (or at the security contact for the system’s domain name listed in the .gov WHOIS).
Though we develop and maintain other internet-accessible systems or services, we ask that active research and testing only be conducted on the systems and services covered by the scope of this document. If there is a particular system not in scope that you think merits testing, please contact us to discuss it first. We will increase the scope of this policy over time.
Reporting a vulnerability
Information submitted under this policy will be used for defensive purposes only – to mitigate or remediate vulnerabilities. If your findings include newly discovered vulnerabilities that affect all users of a product or service and not solely Tennessee Valley Authority, we may share your report with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, where it will be handled under their coordinated vulnerability disclosure process. We will not share your name or contact information without express permission.
To report a vulnerability contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reports may be submitted anonymously. If you share contact information, we will make best efforts to acknowledge receipt of your report within 3 business days.
We do not support PGP-encrypted emails. For particularly sensitive information, submit through our HTTPS web form.
By submitting a vulnerability, you acknowledge that you have no expectation of payment and that you expressly waive any future pay claims against the U.S. Government related to your submission.
What we would like to see from you
In order to help us triage and prioritize submissions, we recommend that your reports:
- Describe the location the vulnerability was discovered and the potential impact of exploitation.
- Offer a detailed description of the steps needed to reproduce the vulnerability (proof of concept scripts or screenshots are helpful
What you can expect from us
When you submit a vulnerability report to this program, we commit to coordinating with you as openly and as quickly as possible.
- Within 3 business days, we will make best efforts to acknowledge that your report has been received.
- To the best of our ability, we will confirm the existence of the vulnerability to you and be as transparent as possible about what steps we are taking during the remediation process, including on issues or challenges that may delay resolution.
- We will maintain an open dialogue to discuss issues.