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Traffic Light Protocol (TLP)

Just like other cyber emergency teams, the CERT. uses the “Traffic Light Protocol”, or TLP for short. This has been developed to facilitate and encourage the exchange of information in a safe manner.

What is it?

The protocol requires that the person sending information assigns it a colour using a colour code. This colour indicates if and in what ways this information may be further disseminated. Someone who receives info, and believes that certain info can be disseminated on a greater scale, must first ask for permission from the sender.

Why use TLP?

The CERT works in close collaboration with various international organisations to identify cyber incidents and to coordinate responses to those incidents.

The TLP provides a simple and intuitive scheme to indicate when and how sensitive information can be disseminated within the worldwide cyber security community. The sharing of this information ensures more frequent and effective collaboration between the CERT and its partners.

Who uses TLP?

Besides the CERT, numerous public services and private businesses across the world use TLP.

Colours and their meanings


For the eyes and ears of individual recipients only, no further disclosure.

Sources may use TLP:RED when information cannot be effectively acted upon without significant risk for the privacy, reputation, or operations of the organisations 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, recipients can only spread this on a need-to-know basis within their organisation and its clients.

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 organisations involved. Recipients may share TLP:AMBER information with members of their own organisation 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 organisation only, they must specify TLP:AMBER+STRICT.


Limited disclosure, recipients can spread this within their 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.

Clear (TLP Clear)

Recipients can spread this to the world, there is no limit on disclosure.

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.