Fundamentals of Incident Handling

This 5-day course is for computer security incident response team (CSIRT) technical staff who have little or no incident handling experience. It provides a strong introduction to the main incident handling tasks and critical thinking skills that will help an incident handler perform their daily work. It is recommended for personnel new to incident handling work.

The course is designed to provide insight into the work that an incident handler may perform. It provides a comprehensive overview of the incident handling arena, including CSIRT services, intruder threats, and the nature of incident response activities.

Course attendees will learn how to gather the information required to handle an incident; realise the importance of having and following pre-defined CSIRT policies and procedures; understand the technical issues relating to commonly reported attack types; perform analysis and response tasks for various sample incidents; apply critical thinking skills in responding to incidents, and identify potential problems to avoid while taking part in CSIRT work. The course incorporates interactive instruction, practical exercises, and role playing. Attendees have the opportunity to participate in sample incidents that they might face on a day-to-day basis.

This CERT incident handling course, which provides a well-rounded understanding of incident handling practices and functions, can be used to prepare for the CERT-Certified Incident Handler Certification. After completing this course, participants are encouraged to attend the companion course, Advanced Topics in Incident Handling.


  • New CSIRT technical staff (one to three months of experience)
  • Experienced CSIRT staff who would like to benchmark their CSIRT processes and skill sets against best practices
  •  Anyone whowould like to learn about basic incident handling functions and activities


  • Understandingthe CSIRT environment and basic incident management processes
  • CSIRT code of conduct
  • Understanding security tools and technologies used by CSIRTs
  • Identifying and gathering critical information
  • Recognizing signs of attacks
  • Detecting and analyzing incidents
  • Finding contact information
  • Coordinating response and disseminating information
  • Handling email and malicious code attacks
  • Working with law enforcement


This course will help participants to

  • Learn how to gather the information required to handle an incident
  • Recognize the importance of following well-defined processes, policies, and procedures
  • Understand the technical, communication, and coordination issues involved in providing a CSIRT service
  • Critically analyse and assess the impact of computer security incidents
  • Effectively build and coordinate response strategies for various types of computer security


Before registering for this course, participants must be familiar with Internet services and protocols. It is recommended but not required that participants have some experience with system administration for Windows or UNIX systems.


Participants will receive a course notebook and a USB containing the course materials.