300-215 Exam Topic: Incident Response Process 15%
Describe the goals of incident response
The primary goal of incident response is to minimize the damage caused by an incident, such as a security breach, system failure, or natural disaster, and to return operations to normal as quickly as possible. The incident response process aims to contain the incident, investigate the cause, and prevent future incidents.

More specifically, the goals of incident response can be summarized as follows:

  1. Early detection: The sooner an incident is detected, the quicker the response can be initiated. The goal is to detect the incident as early as possible to minimize the damage.
  2. Containment: Once an incident is detected, the goal is to contain the incident and prevent it from spreading to other systems or causing further damage.
  3. Investigation: The goal is to identify the cause of the incident and gather evidence to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
  4. Recovery: The goal is to restore the affected systems and services to their normal state as quickly as possible, minimizing the impact on users.
  5. Prevention: The goal is to implement measures to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, such as updating security controls, improving procedures, or providing training to staff.

Overall, incident response is a critical process for maintaining the security and reliability of systems and services, and the goals of incident response aim to ensure that incidents are handled effectively and efficiently to minimize the impact on users and the organization as a whole.

Evaluate elements required in an incident response playbook
An incident response playbook is a comprehensive set of documented procedures and instructions that guide an organization through the steps of responding to a security incident. A well-designed incident response playbook can help an organization to handle incidents effectively, minimize the damage caused by incidents, and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. Here are some of the essential elements that should be included in an incident response playbook:
  1. Incident Response Team Roles and Responsibilities: The playbook should define the roles and responsibilities of each member of the incident response team, including their contact information and communication channels.
  2. Incident Categorization and Prioritization: The playbook should provide a framework for categorizing and prioritizing incidents based on their severity, impact, and risk to the organization.
  3. Incident Identification and Notification: The playbook should outline the steps for identifying and reporting incidents, including the procedures for reporting incidents to the incident response team.
  4. Incident Assessment and Triage: The playbook should provide a process for assessing and triaging incidents to determine the appropriate response and allocation of resources.
  5. Incident Containment and Mitigation: The playbook should provide guidelines for containing and mitigating the incident to prevent it from spreading and causing further damage.
  6. Evidence Collection and Preservation: The playbook should provide procedures for collecting and preserving evidence that may be required for further analysis or legal proceedings.
  7. Incident Analysis and Root Cause Determination: The playbook should provide a process for analyzing the incident to determine the root cause and prevent future incidents.
  8. Communication and Reporting: The playbook should outline the procedures for communicating and reporting incidents to internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, and regulatory bodies.
  9. Incident Recovery and Post-Incident Review: The playbook should provide a process for recovering from the incident and performing a post-incident review to identify areas for improvement.

Overall, an incident response playbook should be a living document that is regularly updated to reflect changes in the threat landscape, the organization’s infrastructure, and other relevant factors. By including these essential elements, an incident response playbook can help an organization to respond to incidents effectively, efficiently, and consistently.

Evaluate the relevant components from the ThreatGrid report
ThreatGrid is a malware analysis platform that provides detailed information about malware samples and their behavior. The platform generates reports that can help security analysts to understand the characteristics and potential impact of a malware sample. Here are some of the relevant components of a ThreatGrid report:
  1. Malware Sample Information: The report provides information about the malware sample, including its name, file size, and the date it was first seen in the ThreatGrid system.
  2. Malware Behavior: The report provides a detailed analysis of the malware’s behavior, including its network traffic, file system changes, registry modifications, and other activities.
  3. Indicators of Compromise (IOCs): The report lists the IOCs associated with the malware sample, including file names, hashes, IP addresses, domain names, and other data that can help security analysts to identify and block the malware.
  4. Analysis of Communications: The report provides a summary of the malware’s communication with remote servers, including the IP addresses and domains of the servers and the protocols used.
  5. Summary of Behavioral Analysis: The report summarizes the malware’s behavior and the potential impact on the system, providing security analysts with a high-level overview of the threat.
  6. Threat Score: The report assigns a threat score to the malware sample based on its behavior and potential impact on the system, providing a quick indication of the severity of the threat.
  7. Graphical Representations: The report includes visual representations of the malware’s behavior, such as network activity and file system changes, which can help security analysts to quickly understand the malware’s behavior and identify patterns.

Overall, a ThreatGrid report can provide valuable information to security analysts about a malware sample, including its behavior, potential impact, and IOCs. This information can help organizations to identify and block threats, enhance their cybersecurity posture, and minimize the risk of a successful attack.

Recommend next step(s) in the process of evaluating files from endpoints and performing ad-hoc scans in a given scenario
When evaluating files from endpoints and performing ad-hoc scans, it is important to follow a structured and systematic process to ensure that all files are thoroughly analyzed and any potential threats are identified and addressed. Here are some recommended next steps to follow in the process:
  1. Identify the Scope and Purpose of the Evaluation: Determine the scope of the evaluation and the purpose of the ad-hoc scan. This will help to ensure that the evaluation is focused and effective.
  2. Collect the Files for Evaluation: Identify the files to be evaluated and collect them from the endpoints. This may involve using a file-sharing platform or a file transfer protocol (FTP) to move the files to a central location.
  3. Verify File Authenticity: Before conducting any analysis, verify the authenticity of the files to ensure they are not tampered with or infected with malware. This may involve checking digital signatures, hashes, or other methods to validate the files.
  4. Conduct Initial Automated Scanning: Perform an initial automated scan on the files using antivirus software or other security tools to identify any known threats. This step can help to quickly identify any files that may pose a threat and prioritize the analysis.
  5. Conduct Manual Analysis: For any files that are flagged as potentially suspicious or unknown, conduct a manual analysis to identify any potential threats. This may involve using a sandbox environment or other techniques to observe the file’s behavior.
  6. Document Findings: As you conduct the evaluation, document all findings, including any identified threats, IOCs, and recommended actions.
  7. Take Action: Based on the findings of the evaluation, take appropriate action to address any identified threats. This may involve removing or quarantining the files, updating security controls, or implementing other remediation measures.
  8. Follow Up: After taking action, follow up to ensure that the issue is fully resolved and that there are no further threats.

By following these recommended steps, organizations can effectively evaluate files from endpoints and perform ad-hoc scans to identify and address potential threats, minimize the risk of a successful attack, and enhance their overall cybersecurity posture.

Analyze threat intelligence provided in different formats (such as, STIX and TAXII)
STIX (Structured Threat Information Expression) and TAXII (Trusted Automated Exchange of Indicator Information) are two widely used formats for exchanging threat intelligence. STIX is a standardized language for describing cyber threats and associated indicators, while TAXII is a protocol for exchanging that information between organizations. Here is an analysis of the two formats:


STIX provides a standardized language for describing cyber threats and related indicators of compromise (IOCs), such as hashes, IP addresses, domains, and other identifying information. STIX also provides a way to represent the relationships between different entities in a threat, such as malware, attackers, and targets. STIX can be used to share threat intelligence between different security tools and systems, allowing organizations to better detect and respond to threats.

STIX supports a wide range of use cases, including threat intelligence sharing, incident response, and security analytics. STIX can be used to describe a wide range of cyber threats, from advanced persistent threats (APTs) to commodity malware. STIX is designed to be extensible, so organizations can define their own custom indicators and threat data to suit their needs.


TAXII provides a protocol for exchanging STIX threat intelligence between organizations. TAXII allows organizations to share threat data with trusted partners, such as other companies in their industry or government agencies. TAXII supports a range of use cases, including sharing threat intelligence for incident response, malware analysis, and threat hunting.

TAXII is designed to be flexible and extensible, allowing organizations to define their own data feeds, filters, and authentication mechanisms. TAXII supports both push and pull models for data exchange, allowing organizations to choose the method that best fits their needs. TAXII also provides a range of security features, such as encryption and authentication, to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of exchanged data.

Overall, STIX and TAXII are valuable tools for sharing and analyzing threat intelligence. These formats provide a standardized way to describe and exchange threat data, allowing organizations to better detect and respond to cyber threats. By using STIX and TAXII, organizations can improve their threat intelligence capabilities, enhance their cybersecurity posture, and better protect their critical assets.