search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

Fundamentals of Incident Handling

This five-day course is for computer security incident response team (CSIRT) technical staff who have little or no incident handling experience. It provides a basic introduction to the main incident handling tasks and critical thinking skills that will help an incident handler perform their daily work. It is recommended to those new to incident handling work.

The course is designed to provide insight into the work that an incident handler may perform. It will provide an overview of the incident handling arena, including CSIRT services, intruder threats, and the nature of incident response activities.

Course attendees will learn how to gather the information required to handle an incident; realize the importance of having and following pre-defined CSIRT policies and procedures; understand the technical issues relating to commonly reported attack types; perform analysis and response tasks for various sample incidents; apply critical thinking skills in responding to incidents, and identify potential problems to avoid while taking part in CSIRT work. The course incorporates interactive instruction, practical exercises, and role playing. Attendees have the opportunity to participate in sample incidents that they might face on a day-to-day basis.

This CERT incident handling course, which provides a well-rounded understanding of incident handling practices and functions, can be used to prepare for the CERT-Certified Incident Handler Certification. After completing this course, participants are encouraged to attend the companion course, Advanced Topics in Incident Handling.

Note: There is significant content overlap between the Fundamentals of Incident Handling course and the Managing CSIRTs course. We recommend that attendees register for one course or the other, but not both. The Fundamentals of Incident Handling course covers more technical topics such as email and malware attacks, PGP, and recognizing signs of attack. The Fundamentals of Incident Handling course is designed to introduce new incident handlers to the basic skills and processes they will need to perform incident handling work. The Managing CSIRTs course focuses on incident handling issues from an operational management perspective.


  • new CSIRT technical staff (one to three months of experience)
  • experienced CSIRT staff who would like to benchmark their CSIRT processes and skill sets against best practices
  • anyone who would like to learn about basic incident handling functions and activities


This course will help participants to

  • recognize the importance of following well-defined processes, policies, and procedures
  • understand the technical, communication, and coordination issues involved in providing a CSIRT service
  • critically analyze and assess the impact of computer security incidents
  • effectively build and coordinate response strategies for various types of computer security incidents


  • understanding the CSIRT environment and basic incident management processes
  • CSIRT code of conduct
  • understanding security tools and technologies used by CSIRTs
  • identifying and gathering critical information
  • recognizing signs of attacks
  • detecting and analyzing incidents
  • finding contact information
  • coordinating response and disseminating information
  • handling email and malicious code attacks
  • working with law enforcement


Participants will receive a course notebook and a downloadable copy of course materials.


Before registering for this course, participants must be familiar with Internet services and protocols.

It is recommended but not required that participants have some experience with system administration for Windows or UNIX systems.

Dates Offered

Register Now

Course Fees [USD]

  • U.S. Industry: $2,900.00
  • U.S. Govt/Academic: $2,300.00
  • International: $5,800.00


This five-day course meets 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day.

This course may be offered by special arrangement at customer sites. For details, please email or telephone at +1 412-268-1817.

Course Questions?

Phone: 412-268-7388
FAX: 412-268-7401

Related Courses

  • Advanced Topics in Incident Handling

    4 - Day Course

    This four-day course, designed for computer security incident response team (CSIRT) and security operations center (SOC) technical personnel with several months of incident handling experience, addresses techniques for detecting and responding to current and emerging computer security threats and attacks. Building on the methods and tools...

    Learn More
  • Creating a Computer Security Incident Response Team

    1 - Day Course

    This one-day course is designed for managers and project leaders who have been tasked with implementing a computer security incident response team (CSIRT). This course provides a high-level overview of the key issues and decisions that must be addressed in establishing a CSIRT. As part of the course, attendees will develop an action plan that can...

    Learn More
  • Managing Computer Security Incident Response Teams

    3 - Day Course

    This three-day course provides current and future managers of computer security incident response teams (CSIRTs) with a pragmatic view of the issues that they will face in operating an effective team. The course provides insight into the work that CSIRT staff may be expected to handle. The course also provides prospective or current managers with...

    Learn More

Training courses provided by the SEI are not academic courses for academic credit toward a degree. Any certificates provided are evidence of the completion of the courses and are not official academic credentials. For more information about SEI training courses, see Registration Terms and Conditions and Confidentiality of Course Records.