FCDO Services »Vulnerability reporting

Vulnerability reporting

Vulnerability Disclosure Policy


This is the FCDO Services Security Vulnerability Disclosure Policy.

We recommend reading this disclosure policy document fully before you report any vulnerabilities. This helps ensure that you understand the policy, and act in compliance with it.

We actively endorse and support working with the research and security practitioner community to improve our online security.

FCDO Services welcomes investigative work into security vulnerabilities, carried out by well-intentioned and ethical security researchers. We are committed to:

  • investigating and resolving security issues in our platform and services thoroughly
  • working in collaboration with the security community
  • responding promptly and actively

This document explains how FCDO Services works with the security research community to improve our online security.

Please note that this document does not provide any form of indemnity for any actions if they are either in breach of the law or of this policy. It does not provide an indemnity from FCDO Services or any third party.

Bug Bounty

Due to FCDO Services funding structure, it is not currently possible for us to offer a paid bug bounty programme.

We will, however, make efforts to show our appreciation to security researchers who take the time and effort to investigate and report security vulnerabilities to us according to this policy wherever we can.


If you believe you have found a security vulnerability relating to the Organisation’s system, please submit a vulnerability report to the address defined in the CONTACT field of the published security.txt file or to the FCDO Services Cyber Incident Response Team.

In your report please include details of:

  • The website, IP or page where the vulnerability can be observed
  • A brief description of the type of vulnerability, for example; “XSS vulnerability”
  • Steps to reproduce. These should be a benign, non-destructive, proof of concept. This helps to ensure that the report can be triaged quickly and accurately. It also reduces the likelihood of duplicate reports, or malicious exploitation of some vulnerabilities, such as sub-domain takeovers
  • If you are not sure whether FCDO Services is responsible for a service or an IP address where you’ve discovered something report issues to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). More information about how to do this is available on the NCSC vulnerability reporting page

What to expect

After you have submitted your report, we will respond to your report within 5 working days and aim to triage your report within 10 working days. We’ll also aim to keep you informed of our progress.

Priority for remediation is assessed by looking at the impact, severity and exploit complexity. Vulnerability reports might take some time to triage or address.

You are welcome to enquire on the status but should avoid doing so more than once every 14 days. This allows our teams to focus on the remediation.

We will notify you when the reported vulnerability is remediated, and you may be invited to confirm that the solution covers the vulnerability adequately.

Once your vulnerability has been resolved, we welcome requests to disclose your report. We’d like to unify our guidance, so please do continue to coordinate public release with us.


Security researchers must not:

  • Access unnecessary amounts of data. For example, 2 or 3 records is enough to demonstrate most vulnerabilities, such as an enumeration or direct object reference vulnerability
  • Use high-intensity invasive or destructive technical security scanning tools to find vulnerabilities
  • Violate the privacy of FCDO Services users, staff, contractors, customers, services or systems. For example by sharing, redistributing and/or not properly securing data retrieved from our systems or services
  • Communicate any vulnerabilities or associated details using methods not described in this policy, or with anyone other than their assigned FCDO Services security contact
  • Modify data in systems or services which does not belong to the researcher
  • Disrupt services or systems
  • Social engineer, ‘phish’ or physically attack FCDO Services staff or infrastructure
  • Disclose any vulnerabilities in FCDO Services systems or services to third parties or the public, prior to FCDO Services confirming that those vulnerabilities have been mitigated or rectified
  • Require financial compensation in order to disclose any vulnerabilities outside of a declared bug bounty reward structure (such as holding an organisation to ransom)

Security researchers must:

  • Always comply with data protection rules and must not violate the privacy of any data FCDO Services holds. You must not, for example, share, redistribute or fail to properly secure data retrieved from the systems or services
  • Securely delete all data retrieved during your research as soon as it is no longer required or within 1 month of the vulnerability being resolved, whichever occurs first (or as otherwise required by data protection law)


This policy is designed to be compatible with common good practice among well-intentioned security researchers.

It does not give you permission to act in any manner that is inconsistent with the law, or which might cause FCDO Services to be in breach of any of its legal obligations, including but not limited to (as updated from time to time):

  • The Computer Misuse Act (1990)
  • The United Kingdom’s General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018
  • The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988)
  • The Official Secrets Act (1989)

FCDO Services affirms that it will not seek prosecution of any security researcher who reports any security vulnerability on an FCDO Services service or system, where the researcher has acted in good faith and in accordance with this disclosure policy.


If you wish to provide feedback or suggestions on this policy, contact the FCDO Services Cyber Incident Response Team.

The policy will naturally evolve over time; your input is welcome and will be valued to ensure that the policy remains clear, complete, and relevant.

Example Security.txt

Contact: fcdoservices.cirt@fcdo.gov.uk:

Policy: https://www.fcdoservices.gov.uk/vulnerability-reporting