On November 1, 2022, CISA officially adopted FIRST Standard Definitions and Usage Guidance - Version 2.0 and will update this page to reflect the new version. See CISA's TLP 2.0 User Guide and TLP: Moving to Version 2.0 Fact Sheet for details.
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 colors to indicate expected sharing boundaries to be applied by the recipient(s). TLP only has four colors; 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 optimized for ease of adoption, human readability and person-to-person sharing; it may be used in automated sharing exchanges but is not optimized 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.
Not for disclosure, restricted to participants only.
Limited disclosure, restricted to participants’ organization.
Limited disclosure, restricted to participants’ organization and its clients (see Terminology Definitions).
Limited disclosure, restricted to the community.
Disclosure is not limited.
When should it be used? 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. For the eyes and ears of individual recipients only, no further.
How should it be shared? Recipients may not share TLP:RED information with any parties outside of the specific exchange, meeting, or conversation in which it was originally disclosed. In the context of a meeting, for example, TLP:RED information is limited to those present at the meeting. In most circumstances, TLP:RED should be exchanged verbally or in person.
When should it be used? Sources may use TLP:AMBER+STRICT when information requires support to be effectively acted upon, yet carries risk to privacy, reputation, or operations if shared outside of the organization.
How should it be shared? Recipients may share TLP:AMBER+STRICT information only with members of their own organization on a need-to-know basis to protect their organization and prevent further harm.
When should it be used? 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. Note that TLP:AMBER+STRICT should be used to restrict sharing to the recipient organization only.
How should it be shared? Recipients may share TLP:AMBER information with members of their own organization and its clients on a need-to-know basis to protect their organization and its clients and prevent further harm.
When should it be used? Sources may use TLP:GREEN when information is useful to increase awareness within their wider community.
How should it be shared? Recipients may share TLP:GREEN information with peers and partner organizations within their community, but not via publicly accessible channels. Unless otherwise specified, TLP:GREEN information may not be shared outside of the cybersecurity or cyber defense community.
When should it be used? 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.
How should it be shared? Recipients may share this information without restriction. Information is subject to standard copyright rules.
How to use TLP in email
TLP-designated email correspondence should indicate the TLP color of the information in the Subject line and in the body of the email, prior to the designated information itself. The TLP color must be in capital letters: TLP:RED, TLP:AMBER, TLP:GREEN, or TLP:CLEAR.
How to use TLP in documents
TLP-designated documents should indicate the TLP color 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 color should appear in capital letters and in 12 pt type or greater.
TLP:RED : R=255, G=0, B=51, background: R=0, G=0, B=0
TLP:AMBER : R=255, G=192, B=0, background: R=0, G=0, B=0
TLP:GREEN : R=51, G=255, B=0, background: R=0, G=0, B=0
TLP:CLEAR : R=255, G=255, B=255, background: R=0, G=0, B=0
TLP:RED : C=0, M=100, Y=79, K=0, background: C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=100
TLP:AMBER : C=0, M=25, Y=100, K=0, background: C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=100
TLP:GREEN : C=79, M=0, Y=100, K=0, background: C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=100
TLP:CLEAR : C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=0, background: C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=100