Incident Response Plan Example

This document discusses the steps taken during an incident response plan layed out in an example form. To create the plan, the steps should be replaced with contact information and specific courses of action for your organization.

  1. The person who discovers the incident will call the grounds dispatch office. List possible sources of those who may discover the incident. The known sources should be provided with a contact procedure and contact list. Sources requiring contact information may be:
    1. Helpdesk
    2. Intrusion detection monitoring personnel
    3. A system administrator
    4. A firewall administrator
    5. A business partner
    6. A manager
    7. The security department or a security person.
    8. An outside source.
    List all sources and check off whether they have contact information and procedures. Usually each source would contact one 24/7 reachable entity such as a grounds security office. Those in the IT department (a-d) may have different contact procedures than those outside the IT department (e-h).
  2. If the person discovering the incident is a member of the IT department or affected department, they will proceed to step 5.
  3. If the person discovering the incident is not a member of the IT department or affected department, they will call the 24/7 reachable grounds security department at xxx-xxx.
  4. The grounds security office will refer to their IT emergency contact list or effected department contact list and call the designated numbers in order on the list. The grounds security office will log:
    1. The name of the caller.
    2. Time of the call.
    3. Contact information about the caller.
    4. The nature of the incident.
    5. What equipment or persons are involved.
    6. Location of equipment or persons involved.
    7. How was the incident detected?
    8. When was an event first noticed that supported the idea that the incident occurred?
  5. The IT staff member or affected department staff member who receives the call (or discovered the incident) shall refer to their contact list for both management personnel to be contacted and incident response members to be contacted. The staff member will call those designated on the list. The staff member will be sure the incident response manager is contacted using both email and phone messages while being sure other appropriate and backup personnel and managers designated are contacted. The staff member will log the information received same as the grounds security office in the previous step and possibly add the following.
    1. Is the equipment affected business critical?
    2. What is the severity of the potential impact?
    3. Name of system being targeted, along with operating system, IP address, and location.
    4. IP address and any information about the origin of the attack.
  6. Contacted members of the response team will meet or discuss the situation over the telephone and determine a response strategy.
    1. Is the incident real or perceived?
    2. Is the incident still in progress?
    3. What data or property is threatened and how critical is it?
    4. What is the impact on the business should the attack succeed? Minimal, serious, or critical?
    5. What system or systems are targeted, where are they located physically and on the network?
    6. Is the incident inside the trusted network?
    7. Is the response urgent?
    8. Can the incident be quickly contained?
    9. Will the response alert the attacker and do we care?
    10. What type of incident is this? Ex: virus, worm, intrusion, abuse, damage.
  7. An incident ticket will be created. The incident will be categorized into the highest applicable level of one of the following categories:
    1. Category one - A threat to public safety or life.
    2. Category two - A threat to sensitive data
    3. Category three - A threat to computer systems
    4. Category four - A disruption of services
  8. Team members will establish and follow one of the following procedures basing their response on the incident assessment.
    1. Worm response procedure
    2. Virus response procedure
    3. System failure procedure
    4. Active intrusion response procedure - Is critical data at risk?
    5. Inactive Intrusion response procedure
    6. System abuse procedure
    7. Property theft response procedure
    8. Website denial of service response procedure
    9. Database or file denial of service response procedure
    10. Spyware response procedure.
    The team may create additional procedures which are not foreseen in this document. If there is no applicable procedure in place, the team must document what was done and later establish a procedure for the incident.
  9. Team members will use forensic techniques including reviewing system logs, looking for gaps in logs, reviewing intrusion detection logs, interviewing witnesses and the incident victim to determine how the incident was caused. Only authorized people should be performing interviews or examining evidence and the authorized personnel may vary by situation and the organization.
  10. Team members will recommend changes to prevent the occurance from happening again or infecting other systems.
  11. Upon management approval, the changes will be implemented.
  12. Team members will restore the affected system(s) to the uninfected state. They may do any or more of the following:
    1. Re-install the affected system(s) from scratch and restore data from backups if necessary. Preserve evidence before doing this.
    2. Make users change passwords if passwords may have been sniffed.
    3. Be sure the system has been hardened by turning off or uninstalling unused services.
    4. Be sure the system is fully patched.
    5. Be sure real time virus protection and intrusion detection is running.
    6. Be sure the system is logging the correct events and to the proper level.
  13. Documentation - The following shall be documented:
    1. How the incident was discovered.
    2. The category of the incident.
    3. How the incident occurred whether through email, through firewall, etc.
    4. Where the attack came from such as IP addresses and other related information about the attacker.
    5. What the response plan was.
    6. What was done to respond.
    7. Whether the response was effective.
  14. Evidence Preservation - Make copies of logs, email, and other documentable communication. Keep lists of witnesses. Keep evidence as long as necessary to complete prosecution and beyond in case of an appeal.
  15. Notify proper external agencies - Notify the police and other appropriate agencies if prosecution of the intruder is possible. List the agencies and contact numbers here.
  16. Assess damage and cost - Assess the damage to the organization and estimate both the damage cost and the cost of the containment efforts.
  17. Review response and update policies - Plan and take preventative steps so the intrusion can't happen again.
    1. Consider whether an additional policy could have prevented the intrusion.
    2. Consider whether a procedure or policy was not followed which allowed the intrusion, then consider what could be changed to be sure the procedure or policy is followed in the future.
    3. Was the incident response appropriate? How could it be improved?
    4. Was every appropriate party informed in a timely manner?
    5. Were the incident response procedures detailed and cover the entire situation? How can they be inproved?
    6. Have changes been made to prevent a re-infection of the current infection? Are all systems patched, systems locked down, passwords changed, anti-virus updated, email policies set, etc.?
    7. Have changes been made to prevent a new and similar infection?
    8. Should any security policies be updated?
    9. What lessons have been learned from this experience?