Traffic Light Protocol
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The Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) was originally created in the early 2000s by the UK Government's National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre (NISCC, now Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure - CPNI) to encourage greater sharing of sensitive information.
The fundamental concept is for the originator to signal how widely they want their information to be circulated beyond the immediate recipient. It is designed to improve the flow of information between individuals, organizations or communities in a controlled and trusted way. It is important that everyone who handles TLP-labeled communications understands and obeys the rules of the protocol. Only then can trust be established and the benefits of information sharing realized. The TLP is based on the concept of the originator labeling information with one of four colors to indicate what further dissemination, if any, can be undertaken by the recipient. The recipient must consult the originator if wider dissemination is required.
A number of current specifications for TLP exist:
- From ISO/IEC, as part of the Standard on Information security management for inter-sector and inter-organizational communications
- From US-CERT, which is intended to provide a publicly available simple definition
- From the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), which published version 1.0 of its consolidated TLP document on August 31, 2016. arising from a Special Interest Group it created to ensure that interpretations of TLP are consistent, and clear expectations exist across user communities.
Summary of TLP's four colours and their meanings
There are four colors (or traffic lights):
- RED - personal for named recipients only
- In the context of a meeting, for example, RED information is limited to those present at the meeting. In most circumstances, RED information will be passed verbally or in person.
- AMBER - limited distribution
- The recipient may share AMBER information with others within their organization, but only on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. The originator may be expected to specify the intended limits of that sharing.
- GREEN - community wide
- Information in this category can be circulated widely within a particular community. However, the information may not be published or posted publicly on the Internet, nor released outside of the community.
- WHITE - unlimited
- Subject to standard copyright rules, WHITE information may be distributed freely, without restriction.
- Luiijf; Kernkamp (March 2015). "Sharing Cyber Security Information" (PDF). TNO. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- Stikvoort, Don (11 November 2009). "ISTLP - Information Sharing Traffic Light Protocol" (PDF). Trusted Introducer. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "OECD: Development of Policies for Protection of Critical Information Infrastructures" (PDF). Oecd.org. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
- "'Re: OpenSSH security advisory: cbc.adv' - MARC". Marc.info. Retrieved 2012-11-25. (alt source SecurityFocus archive entry)
- "ISO/IEC 27010:2012 - Information technology -- Security techniques -- Information security management for inter-sector and inter-organizational communications". ISO/IEC. 2012. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) Matrix and Frequently Asked Questions
- FIRST announces Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) version 1.0)
- "Incidents | Traffic Light Protocol". CCIP. Retrieved 2012-11-25.