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Traffic Light Protocol (TLP)

Just like other cyber emergency teams, CERT.be 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?

CERT.be 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 CERT.be and its partners.

Who uses TLP?

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

Colours and their meanings


Information that is only intended for the direct addressees. 
Example: participants in a meeting, a direct recipient of an SMS, e-mail or letter.


Information meant for organisation members but that can be shared with clients or customers who need to know this information to protect themselves or prevent further harm.
Example: info may be disseminated within an organisation on a 'need-to-know' basis. The sender has the right to determine the limits of this dissemination.


Information for a community, but not to be disseminated on the internet.
Example: disseminating info within a certain sector, but not via the internet or outside the sector.


Information that may be freely disseminated, as long as it is not in contravention of the law (for example copyright law.)