Vulnerability Disclosure Policy
[ Introduction ] [ Authorization ] [ Guidelines ] [ Scope ] [ Rules of Engagement ] [ Reporting a Vulnerability ] [ Disclosure ] [ Acknowledgments ] [ Questions ]
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)is committed to ensuring the security of the American public by protecting their information from unwarranted disclosure. 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 want security researchers to feel comfortable reporting vulnerabilities they’ve discovered – as set out in this policy – so we can fix them and keep our users safe. We have developed this policy to reflect our values and uphold our sense of responsibility to security researchers who share their expertise with us in good faith.
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 HHS will not recommend or pursue legal action related to your research.
Under this policy, “research” means activities in which you:
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.
All systems and services associated with domains listed below are in scope.  Likewise, subdomains of each listing, unless explicitly excluded, are always in scope.  Additionally, any website published with a link to this policy shall be considered in scope.  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 or endpoint is in scope or not, contact 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 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.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Administration of Community Living (ACL)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)
Indian Health Services (IHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
Office of the Secretary (OS)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Rules of Engagement
Security researchers must not:
Security researchers may:
View or store HHS nonpublic data only to the extent necessary to document the presence of a potential vulnerability.
Security researchers must:
Reporting a Vulnerability
We accept vulnerability reports at . Reports may be submitted anonymously.  We do not support PGP-encrypted emails at this time.
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 HHS, 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.
By clicking “Submit Report,” you are indicating that you have read, understand, and agree to the guidelines described in this policy for the conduct of security research and disclosure of vulnerabilities or indicators of vulnerabilities related to HHS information systems, and consent to having the contents of the communication and follow-up communications stored on a U.S. Government information system.
In order to help us triage and prioritize submissions, we recommend that your reports:
HHS 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 (CISA), as well as any affected vendors. We will not share names or contact data of security researchers unless given explicit permission.
For HHS Vulnerability Disclosure Policy Program Acknowledgments please visit
Questions regarding this policy may be sent to​. We also invite you to contact us with suggestions for improving this policy.
Content created by Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
Content last reviewed October 5, 2022
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