Cybersecurity Criticality Levels (1 to 5)
Below are common definitions for levels of cybersecurity incident criticality.
Low Criticality (Level 1 - Cybersecurity Incident):
Description: In this context, a low-criticality cybersecurity incident might involve a minor security vulnerability with limited potential for exploitation.
Examples: A low-priority software patch or a minor misconfiguration that could be exploited under specific conditions.
Response Time: Investigation and resolution within 24 to 48 hours.
Medium Criticality (Level 2 - Cybersecurity Incident):
Description: A medium-criticality cybersecurity incident could involve a vulnerability with the potential for moderate impact if exploited.
Examples: Discovery of a vulnerability that could lead to unauthorized access to non-sensitive data.
Response Time: Investigation and resolution within 8 to 16 hours.
High Criticality (Level 3 - Cybersecurity Incident):
Description: High-criticality cybersecurity incidents are those that have a significant impact on the organization's security posture.
Examples: Detection of a critical security flaw that could lead to data breaches or potential service disruptions.
Response Time: Immediate investigation and resolution efforts, within 4 to 8 hours.
Critical (Level 4 - Cybersecurity Incident):
Description: Critical cybersecurity incidents represent a serious threat to the organization's security and may result in substantial harm.
Examples: A confirmed data breach, a ransomware attack, or a critical zero-day vulnerability in a widely used software.
Response Time: Immediate response and continuous attention until the breach is contained and resolved.
Emergency (Level 5 - Cybersecurity Incident):
Description: An emergency-level cybersecurity incident is a full-scale crisis with the potential to cause severe and lasting damage.
Examples: A large-scale data breach compromising sensitive customer information, a nation-state cyberattack, or a major infrastructure compromise.
Response Time: Immediate, continuous, and sustained response efforts, with all available resources dedicated to containment and resolution.
In the context of cybersecurity, the criticality levels help organizations prioritize their incident response efforts and allocate resources appropriately. Prompt identification and classification of a cybersecurity incident's criticality are crucial to mounting an effective response and mitigating potential harm. An organization's cybersecurity incident response plan should outline the specific actions and response times associated with each criticality level to ensure a swift and well-coordinated response to security threats.