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Interfacing with Law Enforcement FAQ

For Incident Handlers and Other Information Security Professionals
Version 1.0 - Updated January 15, 2004


If we are going to turn the tide against computer attacks, the entire information security community must cooperate more effectively than ever before. The private sector, government agencies, and law enforcement must cooperate in responding to computer attacks. Yet, many security personnel aren't familiar with how to engage law enforcement effectively. For example, when should you call local or national law enforcement to help handle a case? How can you develop communication channels with law enforcement? This FAQ addresses these questions and more, with the goal of helping to foster communication with the law enforcement community. This project was developed as part of the SANS Institute's Cyber Defense Initiative (CDI). Each year, SANS polls the security community for ideas about CDI collaborative projects we can all use to help improve our security. Volunteers from around the world pour enormous amounts of effort to bring these projects to fruition, including this FAQ.

Disclaimers and Caveats

Although it is crucial for international cooperation with law enforcement, this document focuses on laws inside the United States. Work is ongoing regarding legal issues outside the US.

This document should not be construed as legal advice. It is designed to help incident handling, but does not supplant the need for solid legal counsel.

Table of Contents


Charles Hornat, Project Lead
Richard Salgado, Project Lead
Anthony Teelucksingh, Project Coordinator
Ed Skoudis, Project Coordinator
Rohan Amin
Bill Anderson
Stephen Bradley
Don Burlack
Tom Conley
Shawn Duffy
Gary Hall
Lance Hawk
Scott Higgins
Marc Hodies
Mike Horner
Joe Juchniewicz
Steve Karrick
John Mason
Kenneth Newman
Eric Niewoehner
Patrick Nolan
Joseph Ponnoly
Michaela Poole
Anthony Reyes
Andrew Rourke
Todd Sharp
Robert Shaw
Todd Shipley
David Smith
Kirsty Still
William Tatun
David Thompson
Bret Watson
Frazier Young