Vulnerability Disclosure Policy

This vulnerability disclosure policy applies to any vulnerabilities you are considering reporting to the Scottish Government.

Policy Statement

This vulnerability disclosure policy applies to any vulnerabilities you are considering reporting to the Scottish Government.  It is recommended that you read this vulnerability disclosure policy fully before you report a vulnerability and always act in compliance with it.

The time and effort taken by those to report security vulnerabilities according to this policy is valued.  However, there are no monetary rewards for vulnerability disclosures.


If you believe you have found a security vulnerability, please submit your report to vulnerabilitydisclosures@gov.scotYour report should provide a benign (i.e. non-destructive) proof of exploitation wherever possible.

In your report please include details of:

  • the website, IP address or page where the vulnerability can be observed;
  • a brief description of the type of vulnerability;
  • steps to reproduce. 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.

What to expect

After submitting your vulnerability report, you will receive an acknowledgement reply usually within 24 working hours of your report being received. 

Cyber Security and Defence will triage the reported vulnerability, and respond as soon as possible to let you know whether further information is required, whether the vulnerability is in or out of scope, or is a duplicate report.  Cyber Security and Defence will also aim to keep you informed of progress.

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

When the reported vulnerability is resolved, or remediation work is scheduled, Cyber Security and Defence will notify you.  You may be invited to confirm that the solution covers the vulnerability adequately.



  • break any applicable law or regulations
  • access unnecessary, excessive or significant amounts of data
  • modify data in the Scottish Government’s systems or services
  • use high-intensity invasive or destructive scanning tools to find vulnerabilities
  • disrupt the Scottish Government’s services or systems
  • communicate any vulnerabilities or associated details via methods not described in this policy or with anyone other than Cyber Security and Defence
  • social engineer e.g. phishing, or physically attack the Scottish Government’s infrastructure
  • demand financial compensation in order to disclose any vulnerabilities


Always comply with data protection rules and must not violate the privacy of the Scottish Government’s staff, contractors, services or systems.  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 the Scottish Government IT Security Policy.  It does not give you permission to act in any manner that is inconsistent with the law, or which might cause the Scottish Government to be in breach of any of its legal obligations, including but not limited to:

  • The Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018
  • The Official Secrets Act 1989

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

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