Vulnerability Disclosure Policy

Introduction

Peace Corps 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 we ask security researchers to wait before publicly disclosing vulnerabilities.

We encourage you to contact us to report potential vulnerabilities in our systems.

Authorization

If you make a good faith effort to comply with this policy during your security research, we will consider your research to be authorized, we will work with you to understand and resolve the issue quickly, and Peace Corps 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 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.

Test methods

Peace Corps will deal in good faith with Researchers who discover, test and submit vulnerabilities or indicators of vulnerabilities in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Testing activities are limited exclusively to
    • (1) Testing to detect a vulnerability or identify an indicator related to a vulnerability; or
    • (2) Sharing information with, or receiving information from, Peace Corps about a vulnerability or an indicator related to a vulnerability.
  • Researchers may not conduct Denial of service (DoS), Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) tests or other tests that impair access to or damage a system or data.
  • Researchers may not conduct Physical testing (e.g. office access, open doors, tailgating), social engineering (e.g. phishing, vishing), or any other non-technical vulnerability testing.
  • Researchers may not harm any Peace Corps system or data on a Peace Corps system or exploit any potential vulnerabilities beyond the minimal amount of testing required to prove that a vulnerability exists or to identify an indicator related to a vulnerability.
  • Researchers must not establish command line access and/or persistence; pivot to other systems; escalate privileges; attempt to move laterally within the network; disrupt access to Peace Corps services; or introduce any malware in the course of testing.
  • Researchers must avoid intentionally accessing the content of any communications, data, or information transiting or stored on any Peace Corps information system – except to the extent that the information is directly related to a vulnerability and the access is necessary to prove that the vulnerability exists.
  • Researchers must not intentionally exfiltrate or copy Peace Corps data, or open, take, or delete files. Should researchers obtain Peace Corps data during their research, they must coordinate with Peace Corps to ensure that data is appropriately destroyed upon confirmation that the vulnerability is remediated.
  • Researchers may not intentionally compromise the privacy or safety of Peace Corps Volunteers, personnel (e.g. employees, or contractors), or any third parties.
  • Researchers may not intentionally compromise the intellectual property or other commercial or financial interests of any Peace Corps personnel or entities or any third parties through their research.
  • Researchers may not publicly disclose any details of the vulnerability, indicator of vulnerability, or the content of information rendered available by a vulnerability, until that vulnerability is remediated and they receive explicit written authorization from Peace Corps.
  • Researchers may not intentionally submit a high-volume of low-quality, unsubstantiated, or false-positive reports.
    If at any point researchers are uncertain whether to continue testing, researchers must engage with Peace Corps at the email address provided below before conducting any further testing.

Scope

This policy applies to the following systems and services:

  • www.peacecorps.gov

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 protected] before starting your research.

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 Peace Corps, 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.

We accept vulnerability reports at via [email protected]. Reports may be submitted anonymously. If you share contact information, we will acknowledge receipt of your report within 3 business days.

We do not support PGP-encrypted emails. For particularly sensitive information establish contact first via email with non-sensitive information and Peace Corps will work with you to exchange more sensitive information.

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).
  • Submit report in English, if possible.

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 3 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 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.

Questions

Questions regarding this policy may be sent to [email protected]. We also invite you to contact us with suggestions for improving this policy.


Document change history

Version Date Description
1.0 March 5, 2021 First issuance.