Incident Response Plan (IRP)

This document discusses the steps taken during an incident response involving IT assets and related computer information.

If you are Department of Defense contractor, you have 72 hours to notify DoD of a Breach

  1. First question is how long after the breach did you detect it?
  2. Second step is to take out your cyber Incident Response Plan
  3. Third question is figuring out what the bad guys got.
  4. Fourth question, which SHOULD be done in conjunction with counsel who understands the cyber domain, is legally, how long you have to disclose it and to whom.

Sample Incident Response Plan – Feel free to modify this plan to fit your Companies needs:

The person(s) _________________who discovers the incident will call and report the events to appropriate person within the company at any hour to report the issue. An escalated high priority ticket will be generated and assigned to the senior engineer on-call or on help desk duty. The issue will be reviewed for criticality and impact based on the criteria and information collected as a result of this investigation.

Contact information:

  • IT Head _____________________(name) ________________________(phone number)

  • Firm VP finance _____________________(name) __________________(phone number)

  • Firm President _____________________(name) ___________________(phone number)

The effected people or department head should call the designated numbers in order on the list. A log should be generated with the following information:

  • The name of the person reporting the incident
  • Time of the call.
  • Contact information about the caller.
  • The nature of the incident.
  • What equipment or persons were involved?
  • Location of equipment or persons involved.
  • How the incident was detected.
  • When the event was first noticed that supported the idea that the incident occurred.

When IT head receives the call (or discovered the incident) will 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 contact the incident response manager using both email and phone messages while being sure other appropriate and backup personnel and designated managers are contacted. The staff member will log the information received in the same format as the previous step and log it in the ticket. The IT engineer could possibly add the following:

  • Is the equipment affected business critical?
  • What is the severity of the potential impact?
  • Name of system being targeted, along with operating system, IP address, and location.
  • IP address and any information about the origin of the attack.

Contacted members of the IT response team will meet or discuss the situation over the telephone or in person to determine a response strategy.

  • Is the incident real or perceived?
  • Is the incident still in progress?
  • What data or property is threatened and how critical is it?
  • What is the impact on the business should the attack succeed? Minimal, serious, or critical?
  • What system or systems are targeted, where are they located physically and on the network?
  • Is the incident inside the trusted network?
  • Is the response urgent?
  • Can the incident be quickly contained?
  • Will the response alert the attacker and do we care?
  • What type of incident is this? Example: virus, worm, intrusion, abuse, damage, etc.

An incident ticket will be created. The incident will be categorized into the Company’s System and flagged by impact and severity with following categories:

  • Category one (High Impact, High Severity) – A threat to company business critical operations.
  • Category two (High / Medium) – A threat to sensitive data
  • Category three (Medium / Low))- A threat to computer systems
  • Category four (Low / Low) – A disruption of a function or service.
IT team members will establish and follow predetermined procedures, basing their response on the incident assessment:
  • Worm response procedure
  • Virus response procedure
  • System failure procedure
  • Active intrusion response procedure – Is critical data at risk?
  • Inactive Intrusion response procedure
  • System abuse procedure
  • Property theft response procedure
  • Website denial of service response procedure
  • Database or file denial of service response procedure
  • 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)

IT Engineer will use forensic techniques, including reviewing system logs, looking for gaps in logs, reviewing intrusion detection logs, and interviewing witnesses to determine how the incident was caused. Only client authorized personnel should be performing interviews or examining evidence, and the authorized personnel may vary by situation and the organization.

IT Engineer will recommend changes to prevent the occurrence from happening again or infecting other systems.

Upon client approval, the changes will be implemented.

IT engineer will restore the affected system(s) to the uninfected state. Moore 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 all 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.
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, 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 in response?
  7. Whether the response was effective.

Evidence Preservation—makes copies of logs, email, and other communication. Keep lists of witnesses. Keep evidence as long as necessary to complete prosecution and beyond in case of an appeal.

(If Required) Notify proper external agencies—notify the police and other appropriate agencies if prosecution of the intruder is possible. Agencies and contact numbers are list below.

  1. US Secret Service
  2. Local Police
  3. State Police
  4. Local County Sheriff
  5. DOD –

Assess damage and cost—assess the damage to the organization and estimate both the damage cost and the cost of the containment efforts.

(Post Incident Review) 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, and then consider what could be changed to ensure that 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 did they cover the entire situation? How can they be improved?
  6. Have changes been made to prevent a re-infection? Have all systems been 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?