Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Management & Strategy

IETF Publishes RFC 9116 for ‘security.txt’ File

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has published RFC 9116 for the security.txt file, whose goal is to make it easier for researchers to responsibly disclose the vulnerabilities they find.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has published RFC 9116 for the security.txt file, whose goal is to make it easier for researchers to responsibly disclose the vulnerabilities they find.

Edwin “EdOverflow” Foudil and Yakov Shafranovich of Nightwatch Cybersecurity are the authors of the security.txt standard, for which a draft was submitted in 2017. However, IETF noted that RFC 9116 has an “Informational” status and it will not become an actual internet standard.

RFC 9116 published for security.txtA security.txt file should be placed in a location where it is easy to find — the root or /.well-known/ directories are recommended — and it should include information on the organization’s vulnerability disclosure process.

The file must include an email address where security flaws can be reported, and a date when the information in the file should be considered “expired.”

It can also include the encryption key that can be used by the reporter to securely transmit the information, a link to the organization’s security policy, the URL of the security.txt file, a vulnerability acknowledgements page, and it can even link to security-related job openings within the organization.

A security.txt file has been implemented by major organizations such as Google, Facebook and GitHub, as well as many government agencies.

An analysis conducted in late 2020 showed that nearly 3,000 of the 666,000 most popular websites on the Alexa list had a security.txt file. Separate research showed that, as of April 2021, roughly 1% of the Alexa Top 100K, 3% of the Top 10K, and 15% of Top 100 websites had a security.txt file.

Foudil and Shafranovich have set up a website where owners and administrators can easily generate a security.txt file for their sites.

While security.txt can be very useful for reporting vulnerabilities to a company, the authors of ​​RFC 9116 admit that the file could also be abused by malicious actors. An attacker that has compromised a website can, for instance, modify the file so that security reports are sent to them instead of the site’s owner. Digitally signing the file can address some of these security risks.

Related: PCI Data Security Standard v4.0 Released to Address Emerging Threats

Related: Internet Engineering Task Force Proposes Standard for Network Time Security

Related: IETF Publishes TLS 1.3 as RFC 8446

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Management & Strategy

Industry professionals comment on the recent disruption of the Hive ransomware operation and its hacking by law enforcement.

Cloud Security

VMware vRealize Log Insight vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of a target system.

IoT Security

Lexmark warns of a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability impacting over 120 printer models, for which PoC code has been published.

Management & Strategy

SecurityWeek examines how a layoff-induced influx of experienced professionals into the job seeker market is affecting or might affect, the skills gap and recruitment...

Management & Strategy

Tens of cybersecurity companies have announced cutting staff over the past year, in some cases significant portions of their global workforce.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple rolled out iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2 to cover serious security vulnerabilities.

Email Security

Microsoft is urging customers to install the latest Exchange Server updates and harden their environments to prevent malicious attacks.