Computer Incident Response Team

Definition of Computer Incident Response Team

A Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) is a group of IT professionals responsible for handling and managing security breaches, vulnerabilities, and incidents in an organization’s computer systems and networks. Their primary duties include identifying, responding to, and mitigating cyber threats, while also working on recovery and preventive measures to minimize potential future attacks. CIRT members possess expertise in risk assessment, computer forensics, and communication to ensure the quick resolution of issues and minimize the impact on the organization’s operations.


The phonetic representation of the keyword “Computer Incident Response Team” using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is:/ˈkəmˌpyuːtər ˈɪnsɪdənt rɪˈspɒns tim/Here’s a breakdown of each word:- Computer: /ˈkəmˌpyuːtər/- Incident: /ˈɪnsɪdənt/- Response: /rɪˈspɒns/- Team: /tim/

Key Takeaways

  1. A Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) is a dedicated team of professionals responsible for detecting, responding to, and managing security incidents, ensuring that potential damage is minimized and recovery is swift.
  2. The primary objective of a CIRT is to effectively coordinate between various departments and stakeholders, develop a proactive strategy for threat mitigation, and adhere to the established policies and procedures during an incident response cycle.
  3. Key components of an efficient CIRT include having the right mix of skilled personnel, continual training and development, effective communication channels, established incident response procedures, and access to appropriate tools and resources to counter cyber threats.

Importance of Computer Incident Response Team

The term “Computer Incident Response Team” (CIRT) is crucial in today’s technology-driven world because it addresses the growing need for rapid and efficient response to security breaches, cyber threats, and other unwanted incidents within an organization’s technology infrastructure.

A CIRT is a group of skilled professionals responsible for identifying, managing, and mitigating these potential cyber risks, thereby safeguarding the organization’s valuable data and digital assets.

Their expertise in cybersecurity, incident management, and risk assessment helps to maintain operational resilience, meet regulatory compliance, and strengthen an organization’s overall security posture.

In essence, the importance of a Computer Incident Response Team lies in its ability to effectively counter cyber threats, minimize the impacts of security incidents, and ensure the continuity and integrity of an organization’s technology infrastructure and business operations.


A Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) serves as the defender and protector of an organization’s information technology (IT) infrastructure, fulfilling a vital role in combating cyber threats and safeguarding critical assets. The primary purpose of a CIRT is to swiftly and efficiently respond to security incidents, such as data breaches, malware infections, unauthorized access, or Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, and minimize their potential damage to the organization. By employing a combination of technical and analytical skills, the CIRT works in a highly collaborative manner, sharing information about threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices within the organization and even with external agencies when necessary.

Consequently, the CIRT allows an organization to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of its data, ensuring the continuity and security of its operations. The CIRT’s capabilities range from prevention and constant monitoring to incident detection, analysis, containment, and recovery. Prevention efforts may include ongoing employee training and awareness campaigns, regular risk assessments, and continuous improvement of security policies and protocols.

Coupled with the vigilant monitoring of the IT environment, CIRT analysts use sophisticated techniques and tools to identify suspicious activities that may indicate an imminent or ongoing attack. Once an incident is detected, the CIRT proceeds with a systematic approach to determine the extent of the intrusion, containing it to prevent further damage while preserving related evidence. In the aftermath of an incident, the CIRT ensures that normal operations are safely restored and conducts a thorough evaluation of the event.

This analysis facilitates lessons learned, enabling the organization to strengthen its defenses against future threats and incidents, and serves as a testament to the pivotal role that a Computer Incident Response Team plays in the modern digital world.

Examples of Computer Incident Response Team

Equifax Data Breach (2017):In 2017, a major cyber attack on Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, resulted in the theft of sensitive data belonging to approximately 147 million people. Equifax’s Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) worked to understand the extent of the breach, manage public relations, remediate the security flaws, and notify affected customers. Furthermore, they collaborated with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to investigate the incident and prevent future attacks.

Sony Pictures Hack (2014):Sony Pictures Entertainment suffered a severe cyber attack in 2014, with hackers stealing confidential data, including employees’ personal information, unreleased movies, and sensitive business documents. The Computer Incident Response Team at Sony worked diligently to mitigate the damage, identify the vulnerabilities exploited by the hackers, and coordinate with law enforcement agencies to assess the situation. The incident was ultimately attributed to the North Korean government, and served as an important lesson for other companies in improving their cyber security practices.

WannaCry Ransomware Attack (2017):The WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017 affected hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries, exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows to encrypt data and demand ransom payments in Bitcoin. Many organizations, including the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), were hit, causing widespread disruption. Computer Incident Response Teams from affected organizations, cyber security firms, and national CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Teams) across the globe collaboratively worked to contain the attack. Microsoft released emergency patches, and a security researcher discovered a “kill switch” to stop the ransomware from spreading further. This incident highlighted the importance of swift response teams and close cooperation between organizations in the face of global cyber threats.

Computer Incident Response Team FAQ

What is a Computer Incident Response Team?

A Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) is a group of information security professionals responsible for managing and responding to security incidents, such as cybersecurity threats or data breaches, in an organization. Their primary goal is to minimize and control damage from such incidents, as well as prevent future occurrences.

What are the responsibilities of a Computer Incident Response Team?

The responsibilities of a CIRT may include monitoring and detecting security issues, assessing vulnerabilities, responding to incidents, performing investigations, and coordinating with other teams to mitigate risk. Furthermore, they provide support and expertise during incident response, conduct regular cybersecurity training and education programs, and maintain and update response policies and procedures.

What is the difference between a Computer Incident Response Team and a Security Operations Center?

A Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) focuses primarily on handling and managing specific security incidents, whereas a Security Operations Center (SOC) provides ongoing monitoring and continuous protection against security threats. While CIRTs actively engage in incident response activities, SOCs deliver real-time analysis and protection by identifying, analyzing, and responding to potential threats before they become incidents.

How do I set up a Computer Incident Response Team in my organization?

To set up a CIRT in your organization, you can follow these steps: 1) Assess and understand your organization’s needs and existing security measures; 2) Define the CIRT’s goals, objectives, and processes aligning with your organization’s overall security policies; 3) Assemble a team of qualified and experienced personnel; 4) Establish a communication plan for the team, both internally and externally; 5) Train team members on incident response techniques and tools; and 6) Regularly review team performance and adjust processes as needed to improve incident response capability.

How can a Computer Incident Response Team help mitigate the risks of a cyber attack?

A CIRT helps mitigate the risks of a cyber attack by providing an organized and swift response to security incidents. It can detect, analyze, and remediate a threat before it escalates into a full-blown attack. Additionally, a CIRT’s involvement in incident management allows organizations to learn from past incidents, continually improving their security posture and reducing the likelihood of successful cyber attacks.

Related Technology Terms

  • Incident Management
  • Forensic Analysis
  • Threat Intelligence
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Containment and Remediation

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