- The Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) was created in order to facilitate greater sharing of information. TLP is a set of designations used to ensure that sensitive information is shared with the appropriate audience. It employs four colours to indicate expected sharing boundaries to be applied by the recipient(s). TLP only has four colours; any designations not listed in this standard are not considered valid by FIRST.
- TLP provides a simple and intuitive schema for indicating when and how sensitive information can be shared, facilitating more frequent and effective collaboration. TLP is not a “control marking” or classification scheme. TLP was not designed to handle licensing terms, handling and encryption rules, and restrictions on action or instrumentation of information. TLP labels and their definitions are not intended to have any effect on freedom of information or “sunshine” laws in any jurisdiction.
- TLP is optimised for ease of adoption, human readability and person-to-person sharing; it may be used in automated sharing exchanges, but is not optimised for that use.
- TLP is distinct from the Chatham House rule (when a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.), but may be used in conjunction if it is deemed appropriate by participants in an information exchange.
- The source is responsible for ensuring that recipients of TLP information understand and can follow TLP sharing guidance.
- If a recipient needs to share the information more widely than indicated by the original TLP designation, they must obtain explicit permission from the original source.
How to use TLP in email
TLP-designated email correspondence should indicate the TLP colour of the information in the Subject line and in the body of the email, prior to the designated information itself. The TLP colour must be in capital letters: TLP:RED, TLP:AMBER, TLP:AMBER+STRICT, TLP:GREEN, or TLP:CLEAR.
How to use TLP in documents
TLP-designated documents should indicate the TLP colour of the information in the header and footer of each page. To avoid confusion with existing control marking schemes, it is advisable to right-justify TLP designations. The TLP colour should appear in capital letters and in 12 point type or greater.
TLP:AMBER + STRICT
Not for disclosure, restricted to individual participants eyes and ears only.
Sources may use TLP:RED when information cannot be effectively acted upon without significant risk for the privacy, reputation, or operations of the organizations involved. Recipients may therefore not share TLP:RED information with anyone else. In the context of a meeting, for example, TLP:RED information is limited to those present at the meeting.
Limited disclosure, restricted to a need-to-know basis for an organization and their clients.
Note that TLP:AMBER+STRICT restricts sharing to the organization only.
Sources may use TLP:AMBER when information requires support to be effectively acted upon, yet carries risk to privacy, reputation, or operations if shared outside of the organizations involved. Recipients may share TLP:AMBER information with members of their own organization and its clients, but only on a need-to-know basis to protect their organization and its clients and prevent further harm.
Note: if the source wants to restrict sharing to the organization only, they must specify TLP:AMBER+STRICT.
Limited disclosure, restricted to the community.
Sources may use TLP:GREEN when information is useful to increase awareness within their wider community. Recipients may share TLP:GREEN information with peers and partner organizations within their community, but not via publicly accessible channels. TLP:GREEN information may not be shared outside of the community.
Note: when “community” is not defined, assume the cybersecurity/defense community.
Disclosure is not limited.
Sources may use TLP:CLEAR when information carries minimal or no foreseeable risk of misuse, in accordance with applicable rules and procedures for public release. Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:CLEAR information may be shared without restriction.
All communication, including those online, which relate to PaCSON must adhere to the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP). This includes when sending and receiving information via social media. All PaCSON Members and Partners must protect the information provided appropriately. PaCSON recognises the FIRST Standards Definitions and Usage Guidance for the usage and definitions relating to TLP material.