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COPS - Collaborative Open Playbook Standard

COPS logo

This repository contains schema definitions for a DFIR (Digital Forensics Incident Response) Playbook. The scheme is based on YAML (, and describes an incident response runbook (aka. playbook, “use case”) that is a written guidance for identifying, containing, eradicating and recovering from cyber security incidents.

Yaml was chosen since it's both human readable and can describe complex nested data structure, we use YAML version 1.2.

What is the promise of the DFIR Playbook Spec?

  • Open - open sourced, so analysts can create, share and contribute incident response process in same language.
  • Semi/Fully automated - since playbooks in the incident response world can often be fully automated, but sometimes must include some manual steps.
  • Visibility - give the organization members (SOC team, management) an overview on the incident response process.


This is version 0.2 of the spec

Playbook Hierarchy structure:

  1. Playbook - the high level process.
  2. Task - this is a single step in the process, which can represent a script execution or manual step.

Playbook fields

  • id: a unique id of the playbook, usually UUID
  • name: playbook name
  • description: the purpose of the playbook
  • tasks: an (ordered) list of playbook tasks
  • starttaskid: the id of the playbook first task
  • inputs: a list of playbook inputs
  • outputs: a list of playbook outputs

Task fields

  • id: this is the id of the task inside the playbook, it must by unique in playbook level only
  • taskid: this is the global task id, should be unique globally (usually UUID), needed in order to share a task between playbooks
  • type: one of the following: title (represent a new playbook section/header), regular (script or manual task) or condition (to decide what is the next branch/step)
  • name: name of the task
  • description: the purpose of the task
  • scriptName: if this is an automated task, the script to execute for this task
  • tags: general tags to add to task
  • condition: if this task is a condition type, this fields will hold a nested map of string keys that map to the branch's (list of tasks), so that this task can continue to the correct branch according to result of script
  • scriptarguments: these are the task inputs, can be simple or complex type, each has different inner structure
  • nexttasks: the navigation to perform after the current task has ended,to which next task id to move
  • conditions: the navigation logic conditions, based on the result the next task will be selected

Example playbook Yaml:

id: 40202fbb-9ed4-4b8f-86e1-68722d808e3d
version: 0
name: Hello-world-COPS
description: This playbook is an example hello world of COPS format
starttaskid: "0"
    id: "0"
    taskid: c44160b9-16d8-4a1e-8765-1c034006a183
    type: start
      id: c44160b9-16d8-4a1e-8765-1c034006a183
      version: -1
      name: ""
      iscommand: false
      brand: ""
      - "1"
    separatecontext: false
    id: "1"
    taskid: 015bd0d8-5d01-4c2d-8d38-fed3e5c77938
    type: regular
      id: 015bd0d8-5d01-4c2d-8d38-fed3e5c77938
      version: -1
      name: Hello world COPS
      scriptName: Print
      type: regular
      iscommand: false
      brand: ""
      - "2"
        simple: Hello DFIR community, this is COPS!
    separatecontext: false
    id: "2"
    taskid: b8193b45-293e-4035-858a-36d84050395a
    type: condition
      id: b8193b45-293e-4035-858a-36d84050395a
      version: -1
      name: Is this incident high severity
      type: condition
      iscommand: false
      brand: ""
      - "4"
      - "3"
    separatecontext: false
    - label: "yes"
      - - operator: string.isEqual
              simple: incident.severity
            iscontext: true
              simple: "3"
    id: "3"
    taskid: 11e43d6c-a9bb-4fea-8641-6f256a5d11f7
    type: regular
      id: 11e43d6c-a9bb-4fea-8641-6f256a5d11f7
      version: -1
      name: Investigate it!
      type: regular
      iscommand: false
      brand: ""
    separatecontext: false
      hours: 0
      days: 0
      weeks: 1
    id: "4"
    taskid: eb04267c-b749-40f7-888b-b00c720112ea
    type: regular
      id: eb04267c-b749-40f7-888b-b00c720112ea
      version: -1
      name: Go Sleep
      type: regular
      iscommand: false
      brand: ""
    separatecontext: false
inputs: []
outputs: []

Example playbook illustration:

COPS logo

Example playbook task by task explanation

  1. This is the playbook first task, just dummy task to hold start point of playbook
  2. Hello world COPS - print/echo "Hello DFIR community, this is COPS!"
  3. Is this incident high severity - condition task to check if incident severity high, if so go to task #3, otherwise go to task #4
  4. Investigate it! - manual task the analyst needs to perform
  5. Go Sleep - manual task the analyst needs to perform

This is of course a sample (and simple example) just to show an overview of the scheme. For real DFIR playbooks look at the Demisto content repo.

Feel free to contribute by providing feedback, creating new DFIR playbooks, or using the spec in your security product, contact using issues of this GitHub repo.