The National Park Service (NPS) 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.
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 the NPS 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.
You MUST read and agree to abide by the guidelines in this policy for conducting security research and disclosure of vulnerabilities or indicators of vulnerabilities related to NPS information systems. We will presume you are acting in good faith when you discover, test, and submit reports of vulnerabilities or indicators of vulnerabilities in accordance with these guidelines:
- You MAY test internet-accessible NPS information systems to detect a vulnerability or identify an indicator related to a vulnerability for the sole purpose of providing NPS information about such vulnerability.
- You MUST avoid harm to NPS information systems and operations.
- You MUST NOT exploit any vulnerability beyond the minimal amount of testing required to prove that the vulnerability exists or to identify an indicator related to that vulnerability.
- You MUST NOT intentionally access the content of any communications, data, or information transiting or stored on NPS information system(s) – except to the extent that the information is directly related to a vulnerability and the access is necessary to prove that the vulnerability exists.
- You MUST NOT exfiltrate any data under any circumstances.
- You MUST NOT intentionally compromise the privacy or safety of NPS personnel (e.g., civilian employees) or any legitimate third parties.
- You MUST NOT intentionally compromise the intellectual property or other commercial or financial interests of any NPS personnel or entities or any legitimate third parties.
- You MUST NOT disclose any details of any extant NPS information system vulnerability or indicator of vulnerability to any party not already aware at the time the report is submitted to NPS.
- You MUST NOT create user (or any) accounts on NPS systems for testing.
- In the event that you find a vulnerability in a NPS information system consequent to a vulnerability in a generally available product, you MAY report the product vulnerability to the affected vendor or a third party vulnerability coordination service in order to enable the product to be fixed.
- You MUST NOT disclose any incidental proprietary data revealed during testing or the content of information rendered available by the vulnerability to any party not already aware at the time the report is submitted to NPS.
- You MUST NOT cause a denial of any legitimate services in the course of your testing.
- You MUST NOT conduct social engineering in any form of NPS personnel or contractors.
- You SHOULD strive to submit high-quality reports.
- You MUST NOT submit a high-volume of low-quality reports.
- You MUST comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws in connection with security research activities or other participation in this vulnerability disclosure program.
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 NPS nonpublic data upon reporting a vulnerability.
The following test methods are not authorized and are considered Out of Scope:
- Test any system other than the systems set forth in the ‘Scope’ section.
- Disclose vulnerability information except as set forth in the ‘Reporting a Vulnerability’ section below.
- Engage in physical testing (e.g. office access, open doors, tailgating), social engineering (e.g. phishing, vishing), or any other non-technical vulnerability testing.
- Send unsolicited electronic mail to NPS users, including “phishing” messages.
- Execute or attempt to execute “Denial of Service” or “Resource Exhaustion” attacks or introduce malicious software.
- Test in a manner known to degrade the operation of NPS systems; or intentionally impair, disrupt, or disable NPS systems.
- Test third-party applications, websites, or services that integrate with or link to or from NPS systems.
- Attempt to create accounts on NPS system for testing.
- Full red-team penetration testing that involves unauthorized access to our servers.
- Delete, alter, share, retain, or destroy NPS data, or render NPS data inaccessible.
- Use an exploit to exfiltrate data, establish command line access, establish a persistent presence on NPS systems, or “pivot” to other NPS systems.
- This policy applies to the following systems and services managed by the National Park Service: *.nps.gov
This policy applies to any internet-accessible information system, application, or website owned, operated, or controlled by the National Park Service, including any web applications hosted on those sites. Contractor information systems operated on behalf of the NPS are not included within the scope of this policy. Any domain/property of the National Park Service not listed in the targets section is out of scope.
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.
The NPS 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.
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 DOI, 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.
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).
- Be 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.
- NPS does not provide payment to reporters for submitting vulnerabilities.
- Reporters submitting vulnerabilities to NPS, in so doing, waive any claims to compensation.
Questions regarding this policy may be sent using this form. We also invite you to contact us with suggestions for improving this policy.
Last updated: December 7, 2022