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Security Vulnerability Disclosure Policy

This document outlines the OpenWallet Foundation's security vulnerability disclosure policy that all OpenWallet Foundation projects MUST follow. The associated security template file is a "best practices" security vulnerability disclosure policy that project Maintainers SHOULD use for publishing the security policy and procedures for their project by copying the file into their project repositories and updating it according to the instructions in the document. This document includes the "best practices" text, and defines how project Maintainers can use alternatives to the best practices for their project. A project's resulting alternative policy MUST adhere to the OpenWallet Foundation's security vulnerability disclosure policy.

All project repositories MUST have a published security vulnerability disclosure policy or have link to a common policy document for the project. In rare cases, a repository within a project MAY have a policy different from the project, as long as the repository policy also adheres to this OpenWallet Foundation's security vulnerability disclosure policy.

About This Document

This policy borrows heavily from the recommendations of the OpenSSF Vulnerability Disclosure working group. For up-to-date information on the latest recommendations related to vulnerability disclosures, please visit the GitHub of that working group.

In each of the document's sections, and in the associated security template, the current OpenWallet Foundation's "best practices" are defined.


Alternatives that a project may use exist for some sections and are contained in these "Alternative boxes". When projects vary from the current OpenWallet Foundation's best practices, the documented alternatives MUST adhere to this policy.

What Is a Vulnerability Disclosure Policy?

No piece of software is perfect. All software (at least, all software of a certain size and complexity) has bugs. In open source development, members of the community or the public find bugs and report them to the project. A vulnerability disclosure policy explains how this process functions from the perspective of the project.

This vulnerability disclosure policy explains the rules and guidelines for OpenWallet Foundation's projects. It is intended to act as both a reference for outsiders–including both bug reporters and those looking for information on the project’s security practices–as well as a set of rules that maintainers and contributors have agreed to follow.

Vulnerability Disclosure Process and Associated Rules

All OpenWallet Foundation's projects, including this project, follow the associated process and rules for vulnerability disclosures. We note that this outline is derived from the OpenSSF maintainers guide.

Each project will have a security team. The security team will be comprised of maintainers or contributors to the project who are knowledgeable about security and is responsible for responding to and helping to fix security vulnerabilities.

The security team for this project will do the following for each reported vulnerability:

  1. Acknowledge receipt of the issue (see Report Intakes) to the reporter within 2 business days.

  2. Assess the issue. Engage with the reporter to ask any outstanding questions about the report and how to reproduce it. If the report is not considered a vulnerability, then the reporter should be informed and this process can be halted. If the report is still a regular bug (just not a security vulnerability), the reporter should be informed (if necessary) of the regular process for reporting bugs.

  3. Some issues may require more time and resources to correct. If a particular report is more complex, discuss an embargo period with the reporter. The embargo period should be negotiated with the reporter and must not be longer than 90 days.

  4. Create a patch for the issue (see Private Patch Deployment Infrastructure).

  5. Request a CVE for the issue (see CNA/CVE Reporting).

  6. Decide the date of public release.

  7. If applicable, notify members of the embargo list of the upcoming patch and release, as described above.

  8. Cut a new (software) release in which the bug is fixed.

  9. Publicly disclose the issue within 48 hours after the release (see GitHub Security Advisories).

Report Intakes

OpenWallet Foundation's projects use the following mechanism to submit security vulnerabilities. While the security team members will do their best to respond to bugs disclosed in all possible ways, it is encouraged for bug finders to report through the following approved channel:


Projects MAY publish in their security policy that they accept security vulnerability disclosures via other mechanism. The policy MUST document the necessary details in using the alternate reporting mechanism(s). Projects MUST accept reports via the recommended GitHub security vulnerability process.

“People” Infrastructure

This section details the required basic vulnerability disclosure infrastructure for all OpenWallet Foundation's projects. There are quite a few necessary pieces of infrastructure, and we go through them in detail here.

Security Team

Projects MUST have a security response team of at least three maintainers. This response team shall be set up BEFORE incidents happen so that people know who to contact and how to contact them when an emergency issue arises. It can be difficult to track down someone with unique knowledge (e.g. in a particular area of cryptography) who is capable of fixing a problem in a short period of time.

  1. Each security team member will be a member of any OpenWallet Foundation-wide security infrastructure.

  2. If a project has specialized code related to certain aspects of security or cryptography (e.g. consensus algorithms or cryptographic algorithms), then a corresponding specialist should be on the response team (e.g. someone knowledgeable in consensus or cryptography, respectively). If a specialist is not on the team, then the individual who is responsible for contacting or engaging the specialists should be designated in their stead. We emphasize that projects should have access to specialists in an area for which they maintain code while recognizing that it may not be practical for these experts to be on the response team.

Each project/repository must have a table in the security document listing the team members in the following format.

Name Email ID Chat ID Area/Specialty
<> <> <> <>
<> <> <> <>
<> <> <> <>

Discussion Forum

Discussions about each reported vulnerability SHOULD be carried out in the private GitHub security advisory about the vulnerability. If necessary, a private channel specific to the issue MAY be created on the OpenWallet Foundation's Discord server with invited participants added to the discussion.


Projects MAY document on their security policy that they use other forums for private discussion forums for approved maintainers and security team participants to discuss vulnerabilities. If other forum(s) are used, details about them MUST be included.

CNA/CVE Reporting

OpenWallet Foundation's projects maintain a list of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) and use GitHub as its CVE numbering authority (CNA) for issuing CVEs.


A project MAY document in its security policy that it uses a different CVE numbering authority. For example, the project might add the following text to this section of their security policy document:

This project uses the following CNA(s) in the following situations:
1. `CNA_1`:  `situation_1, can just state “default” if only one CNA`
2. `CNA_2`:  `situation_2`

Embargo List

An embargo list is a list of known, trusted entities that run large deployments of a given OpenWallet Foundation's project. These entities are notified ahead of time when important security patches are incoming to minimize potential security risks to large deployments of projects. Embargo lists are maintained by the security team for a given project/repository.

Parties are on an embargo list for (usually) one of two reasons, because they can either help fix the problem (perhaps through testing a fix at scale) or they need extra time to help prepare their ecosystem to roll out fixes quickly. Approval is not given lightly: project leadership (maintainers) must be convinced that institutions on the list “need to know" about issues in advance.

Participation in an embargo list should not be taken lightly. List members are expected to respect the materials shared through it and not disclose any information to unauthorized parties until the public disclosure date. Institutions are on this list because their presence helps the project and its users; if their actions do not help the project and its users, they can expect to be removed from the list.

The list itself is private in order to make it slightly more difficult for attackers with vulnerabilities to find systems to attack. Entities may be added to the embargo list by a majority vote of the project security response team and should request to join the embargo list by contacting one or more of the members of the security response team. If there is an issue about embargo list membership where an entity feels like they are being dealt with unfairly by the security response team, then they are encouraged to bring up the issue in front of the OpenWallet Foundation's TAC, who can act as moderators.

OpenWallet Foundation's projects maintain private embargo lists. If you wish to be added to the embargo list for a project, please email the [OpenWallet Foundation's security list], including the project name and reason for being added to the embargo list. Requests will be assessed by the respective OpenWallet Foundation's security team in conjunction with the appropriate OpenWallet Foundation staff, and a decision will be made to accommodate or not the request.


Projects MAY choose to document in their security document that they do not have an embargo list. The reason for not having an embargo list SHOULD be included when a project chooses not to have an embargo list.

GitHub Security Advisories

OpenWallet Foundation's projects use GitHub security advisories and the GitHub security process for handling security vulnerabilities. In particular, this best practice is strongly recommended for projects that do not have a large number of security experts as the features serve as a nice set of guardrails to help make sure that things are done correctly.


Projects MAY document in their security policy document that they use a security advisory mechanism other than GitHub to publish their disclosures. The alternate mechanism MUST be documented sufficiently for users to understand how to monitor the security advisories published by the project.

Private Patch Deployment Infrastructure

Patches to fix OpenWallet Foundation's project security vulnerabilities are typically developed without public visibility by using the private development features of GitHub. Projects with maintainers that are not familiar with these capabilities are encouraged to contact the OpenWallet Foundation Community Architects to learn more.


Projects MAY document in their security policy document that they do use a service other than GitHub for private patch deployment infrastructure, or that they don't use any private patch deployment infrastructure at all. In either case, the document MUST include the details of what is used instead.