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- GASF - GIAC Advanced Smartphone Forensics (GASF)
- GCED - GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender
- GCFA - GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst
- GCIA - GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst
- GCIH - GIAC Certified Incident Handler
- GCPM - GIAC Certified Project Manager
- GISF - GIAC Information Security Fundamentals
- GISP - GIAC Information Security Professional
- GPEN - GIAC Penetration Tester
- GPPA - GIAC Certified Perimeter Protection Analyst
- GPYC - GIAC Python Coder
- GSEC - GIAC Security Essentials
- GSLC - GIAC Security Leadership
- GSNA - GIAC Systems and Network Auditor
- GSSP-Java - GIAC Secure Software Programmer-Java
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GIAC Certification Program: Cybersecurity Industry Guide
The Global Information Assurance Certification is the brainchild of SANS. This institute was founded in 1999 and over the years has certified the skills and knowledge of over 90,000 cybersecurity professionals. GIAC offers exceptional information security certificates through its unique testing process. It evaluates the candidates’ theoretical knowledge and ability to put this expertise into real-world actions. It also assesses one’s pragmatic understanding of security audit, management, and operations tasks. Earning a GIAC certification demonstrates that the practitioners are able to fulfill the minimum standard required to function in the information security domain.
GIAC Certification Program
The GIAC certification program involves over 30 certificates that align with specific job roles and technical fields. There is no specific procedure that regulates how these certifications can be earned. However, it is recommended that the applicants move from a lower level to a higher one. The program ranges from the Introductory to Intermediate and Advanced levels. The qualifying exams are usually made up of 75 questions. The time allocated for their completion is between two and three hours, depending on the specific level of the test. The passing score ranges from 68% to 72%.
All the GIAC certifications are grouped into seven categories. These are Cyber Defense, Offensive Operations, Cloud Security, Digital Forensics and Incident Response, Management and Leadership, Industrial Control Systems, and GIAC Security Expert. Below we will explore each of these categories and the associated certificates.
1. Cyber Defense Certification Track
The right skill set is essential to defend against enterprise attacks. The GIAC Cyber Defense certificates cover the whole defense spectrum, which revolves around three core areas, namely Blue Team Operations, Cyber Defense Essentials, and Purple Team. Depending on the level of experience, the professionals can find the most suitable option, from the beginner to advanced and specialized areas of protection. Some of the certifications that the individuals can explore within this track are highlighted below.
Blue Team Operations Certifications
- GIAC Open Source Intelligence (GOSI): This certification validates the strong foundation knowledge of the candidates in OSINT frameworks and methodologies. The applicants for the certificate must be able to demonstrate competence in data collection, target analysis, and reporting.
- GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA) with CyberLive: The certification validates the knowledge of the professionals in host and network monitoring, intrusion detection, and traffic analysis. It focuses on the fundamentals of application protocols and traffic analysis; Open-Source IDS – Snort and Bro; network traffic forensics & monitoring.
- GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator (GCWN): This certificate evaluates the students’ ability to secure Microsoft servers and Windows clients as well as manage and configure the security of Microsoft applications and operating systems.
- GIAC Continuous Monitoring Certification (GMON): The candidates for this certification demonstrate competence in deterring intrusions, performing continuous security monitoring, and detecting anomalous activity quickly.
- GIAC Defensible Security Architecture (GDSA): This certificate measures one’s skills in designing and implementing effective combinations of data-centric and network-centric controls for balance detection, response, and prevention.
- GIAC Certified Detection Analyst (GCDA): The certification proves that an individual knows the processes involved in collecting, analyzing, and tactically utilizing modern endpoint data sources and networks to detect unauthorized or malicious activity.
- GIAC Certified UNIX Security Administrator (GCUX): This certificate validates the knowledge, abilities, and skills of the applicants in securing and auditing Linux and UNIX systems and their competence in using multiple tools for handling security issues.
Cyber Defense Essentials Certifications
- GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF): This certification validates your knowledge and skills in security foundation, networking and computer functions, cybersecurity technologies, and introductory level cryptography.
- GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC): This certification is designed to assess the learners’ knowledge of information security beyond basic concepts and terminologies. It focuses on wide knowledge areas, including active defense, defense in depth, access control, and password management; defensible network architecture, networking, and protocols networking security; Linux security, Windows security, and cryptography; web communication security, Cloud security, endpoint security, and virtualization; incident handling and response, penetration testing and vulnerability scanning, among others.
- GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender (GCED): The candidates for this certificate are expected to demonstrate their advanced technical skills required to defend an enterprise environment and protect the whole organization. The certification requires the skills in defense network infrastructure; packet analysis and penetration testing; malware removal, and incident handling.
- GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) with CyberLive: This certification validates the knowledge of the professionals in different methods used for detecting, responding, and resolving computer security issues. Earning this certificate requires their skills in incident handling as well as computer crime investigation; hacker tools; network and computer hacker exploits.
- GIAC Information Security Professional (GISP): This certificate requires that the candidates demonstrate competence in eight domains of cybersecurity covered in the CISSP exam as highlighted by (ISC)2.
2. Offensive Operations Certification Track
This track covers highly specialized applications and critical domains and is aimed at those individuals who have extensive skills in the essential offensive. The certifications available under this path validate one’s skills and knowledge required to function across exploit development, specialized purple, and red team.
Red Team Operations Certifications
- GIAC Python Coder (GPYC): This certification validates the candidates’ knowledge of core programming concepts and their skills required to write and analyze functional code with the use of the Python programming language. The applicants must pass a single exam to obtain this certiifcate.
- GIAC Enterprise Vulnerability Assessor (GEVA): This certificate focuses on technical skills in vulnerability assessment and time-tested practical methods of ensuring security across an enterprise.
Penetration Testing Certifications
- GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) with CyberLive: This certification is designed to validate the ability of the professionals to appropriately conduct penetration tests with the use of best practice methodologies and techniques. To get the certificate, the students must pass a single exam.
- GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT): : The candidates for this certification will be required to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in penetration testing methodologies and web application exploits.
- GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB): : This certification validates the knowledge of the learners in appropriately security mobile devices that access vital information.
- GIAC Exploit Researcher and Advanced Penetration Tester (GXPN) with CyberLive: : This certification is designed to validate the expert-level knowledge and skills of the professionals in penetration testing and finding and mitigating major security flaws in networks and systems.
- GIAC Assessing and Auditing Wireless Networks (GAWN): : This certificate is designed to validate one’s competence in bridging the air gap, attacking weak encryption, and sniffing wireless, wireless fundamentals, as well as wireless client attacks.
- GIAC Cloud Penetration Tester (GCPN): This certification validates the ability of the specialists to carry out Cloud-focused penetration testing as well as evaluate the security of networks, Cloud technologies, systems, and architecture.
3. Digital Forensics & Incident Response Certification Track
This track covers the abilities and skills that the DFIR professionals need to do their job. The associated certificates confirm that the specialists have the necessary competence to identify compromised systems, understand specific elements that the attackers have changed or taken, determine when and how a breach occurs, and successfully eliminate and contain incidents. The certifications available under this path are highlighted below:
Operating System and Device In-Depth Certifications
- GIAC Battlefield Forensics and Acquisition (GBFA): : This certification validates the skills of the candidates in collecting, acquiring, and analyzing rapid triage of different data storage forms. The learners should be able to identify and acquire data manually and produce actionable intelligence rapidly.
- GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE): : This certificate validates your knowledge and skills in computer forensic analysis with the emphasis on the major skills needed to gather and analyze data using Windows computer systems.
- GIAC Advanced Smartphone Forensics (GASF): : The candidates for this certification must demonstrate their ability to carry out a forensic evaluation on a wide range of mobile devices as well as gather data from different applications and files.
Incident Response and Threat Hunting Certifications
- GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA) with CyberLive: : This certification validates the knowledge, ability, and skills of the professionals in conducting formal incident investigations as well as handling advanced incident handling situations.
- GIAC Network Forensic Analyst (GNFA): : This certificate requires that the applicants demonstrate competence in executing evaluation with the help of network forensic artifact analysis. Their skills will be validated in a wide range of competence areas, including network architecture; encryption and encoding; network analysis techniques, and usage.
- GIAC Cyber Threat Intelligence (GCTI): : This certification proves that the professionals have gained the mastery of strategic, tactical, and operational cyber threat intelligence application and fundamentals.
- GIAC Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM): : The certification validates the competency of the practitioners in reverse-engineer malicious malware targeting common platforms, including web browsers and Microsoft Windows.
- GIAC Response and Industrial Defense (GRID): : This certification is aimed at the individuals looking to validate their competence in performing active defense methodologies that are appropriate and specific to the Industrial Control System network & systems.
4. Cloud Security Certification Track
This track is designed to help the professionals gain the mastery of the practical steps required to defend applications and systems in Cloud against dangerous threats. The skills measured in this path include web application security, DevOps automation, and Cloud-specific penetration testing across multi-Cloud, public Cloud, and hybrid-Cloud situations. The certifications available under this track include the following:
Cloud Security Techniques Certifications
- GIAC Certified Web Application Defender (GWEB): : The candidates for this certification will be required to demonstrate competence in securing web applications and identifying and mitigating security weaknesses within existing web applications.
- GIAC Cloud Security Automation (GCSA): : This certification covers modern DevSecOps practices and Cloud services used for deploying and building applications and systems in a more secure way.
5. Security Management, Legal, and Audit Certification Track
This track is designed to validate one’s practical skills required to lead and build security teams, develop capacities to strengthen an organization’s security posture, and communicate with both the business leaders and technical teams. The certifications covered under this path are highlighted below:
- GIAC Security Leadership Certification (GSLC): : This certification validates your understanding of technical controls and governance that focuses on detecting, responding, and protecting security issues. It covers the relevant skills in risk management, managing security architecture, cryptography concepts and applications, and SOC management.
- GIAC Strategic Planning, Policy, and Leadership (GSTRT): : The certification validates the candidates’ skills in the development and maintenance of cybersecurity programs. It also certifies competence in strategic planning, management tools, and business analysis.
- GIAC Certified Project Manager (GCPM): : The certificate validates the knowledge and skills required for technical project management implementation and methodology.
- GIAC Law of Data Security and Investigation (GLEG): : The candidates for this certification will be required to demonstrate their skills and knowledge of the law associated with electronically transmitted and stored records.
- GIAC Systems and Network Auditor (GSNA): : This certification validates the competence of the candidates in applying fundamental risk analysis methods and conducting technical audits of the essential information systems.
- GIAC Critical Controls Certification (GCCC): : The individuals for this certification are required to demonstrate their skills in implementing and executing critical security controls and performing audits according to the required standard.
6. Industrial Control Systems Certification Track
This track covers the knowledge requirements for the ICS professionals. It focuses on the skills required to defend and protect critical industrial systems and deal with commonly occurring incidents. Earning one of the certificates validate that the practitioners have the competence to protect important infrastructure. The certifications available under this path are as follows:
- GIAC Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP): : This certification acts as a bridge for IT, cybersecurity, and engineering with the goal of achieving security for industrial control systems covering design all through to retirement.
- GIAC Response and Industrial Defense (GRID): : This certification is aimed at the professionals who want to validate their skills to carry out active defense strategies that are appropriate and specific to the Industry Control System network and systems.
- GIAC Critical Infrastructure Protection (GCIP): : This certificate proves the applicants’ ability to access, maintain, and support critical systems. It also validates their knowledge of regulatory prerequisites of NERC CIP and practical implementation strategies.
7. GIAC Security Expert (GSE) Certification Track
This is the highest and most prestigious track in the GIAC certification program. It is a performance-based and hands-on certificate that distinguishes it from other cybersecurity options. It validates the expertise and mastery of the candidates in a wide range of skills needed to function as the top security practitioners or consultants. To obtain this certification, the students must meet some stringent requirements and pass the two-part exam.
The cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, which means that obtaining a GIAC certification is a great way to boost your potential if you are looking to build a career in this domain. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that the demand for the information security analysts will grow by 28% between 2016 and 2026. Many large corporations, such as Amazon, Siemens AG, Discover, Allstate, and Lockheed Martin, recognize the GIAC certified information security training and certificates. Therefore, you can expect to explore highly rewarding careers in this field. Some job roles that the certified practitioners can pursue include a System Administrator, a Network Administrator, a Security Technician, a Network Engineer, a System Engineer, an IT Manager, a Security Consultant, and more.
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