CASP Advice

People regularly query me for CASP advice, and advice on other technical topics and certifications. Here’s one query asking about what to take after the Security+ certification. It’s a common theme and this person is asking about the CASP certification.

CASP Advice

Good evening Darril, I hope your week is going well. I saw a post in regards to about CASP and you sent a whitepaper in regards to demand of this certification. I am at a crossroad sin regards to the next security certification that I want to obtain and I am torn between CISSP and CASP.

I would like to take CASP because I can build from the my Security + certification and is it lot cheaper and potentially can give more marketability in the market. Do you have any suggestions or advice, please? Thank you for your time.

Hi xxx,

From a marketability perspective, I see CISSP as much stronger than CASP. If you see something different in your area, than perhaps CASP is more marketable, but that’s not what I’m seeing.

This is true for both security jobs and teaching jobs (I see you’re an adjunct instructor).

You’re correct that CASP is easier to achieve than the CISSP after the Security+.

Another option is to pursue the SSCP. Many people use it as a stepping stone on their path to get the CISSP. If you’ve recently passed the Security+ certification, you’re probably closer to it than you are to getting the CASP.

Hope this helps.

Darril

Get Certified Get Ahead

Want to know more?  Here’s a blog about the Best Security Certification Path.

Read More

Earn CompTIA CEUs

Many people have recently asked me about earning continuing education units (CEUs) and how they can earn them.

One simple way if you can write is to write blog posts. You can earn 1 CEU for each blog post. (You can earn a total of eight CEUs for A+, 12 CEUs for Network+, 16 CEUs for Security+, and 20 CEUs for CASP by writing blog posts.)

Guest Blogger

If you don’t want to set up a full blog, you can write blogs as a guest blogger on the Get Certified Get Ahead blog site.

The post should be a minimum of 1,000 words for CEUs (CompTIAs requirement, not mine.) You can split it into two related 500 word posts if that works better for you.

If you’re interested, identify a topic you want to write on and propose it. If it ties into a specific objective, list the objective. If you’re not sure of a topic, I suggest you look at the objectives for the certification you’re trying to earn CEs on, and pick a topic that interests you.

We can include a footer at the bottom of the post with information about you so that it’s clear that you wrote it.

If you’re interested, send me a note with the topic you’d like to write about.

Combined with work experience, you might be able to earn most of your CEUs just by writing occasional blog posts. (You can earn three CEUs a year for properly documented work experience for a total of nine CEUs for any CompTIA certification).

CEU Requirements

As a reminder, CompTIA has identified the following requirements for some of its certifications:

CertificationCEUs required for renewal
CompTIA A+20
CompTIA Network+30
CompTIA Security+50
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)75

You can find more information on the CompTIA requirements and acceptable activities here.

Many Professionals Require CEs

Some people are critical of CE programs but the truth is they are widespread.

Medical doctors are required to earn CEUs. If doctors earned their degrees 20 years ago but never updated their medical knowledge, they would be treating people with outdated knowledge. CEU requirements help ensure medical doctors stay up-to-date.

Similarly, the first A+ certification I earned in 1999 has little relevance when compared to current technology. If I never updated that knowledge, my usefulness in IT would be very limited. CEUs help verify that technology professionals stay up-to-date.

The CompTIA Trio

Many people purse the CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications, in that order. Each of these certifications build on each other and combined they provide a solid foundation of IT knowledge for a successful IT career. Of course, this isn’t a requirement, but if you do earn these certifications in this order, you’ll find that they can help you earn the required CEUs.

As an example, imagine you earn the A+ certification in January. If you never earned another certification, you would need to earn 20 CEUs within three years and pay the program fees. If you don’t, your A+ expires.

However, imagine you earn the Network+ certification in May. This automatically meets the requirements for the A+ and you no longer need to worry about earning your A+ CEUs or paying your A+ CE fees. Instead, you need to earn the 30 CEUs for Network+ (and pay the program fees) within three years of the May certification.

Network+ N10-006 Practice Test Questions

Pass the Network+ Exam (N10-006) The First Time You Take It

At  $277, this exam is expensive.

Make sure you're ready before exam day!

Full bank of at least 293* realistic multiple choice practice test questions with in-depth explanations to help you pass the Network+ exam the first time you take it. This set also includes several performance-based questions.

 Network+ Study Materials

30 Day Package60 Day Package
Full bank of more than 293* N10-006 Network+ practice test questions.All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.CheckCheck
Performance-based QuestionsSeveral sets of performance-based questions. Question types include drag and drop, matching, and sorting type questions. See a demo here.checksmchecksm

Bonus #1

Flashcard Set
  • 200 Network+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • View in random and non-random modes.
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Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet
checksm

Get the Network+ Study Materials Here

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This way no matter how CompTIA words the questions, you'll be able to answer them correctly.Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation.
  • Test mode. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test.
This package allows you to go through the practice test questions in multiple ways based on how you learn best.
  • Domain 1 through 5** using Learn Mode
  • Domain 1 through 5 using Test Mode (Randomized)
  • The full bank of test questions using Learn Mode
  • The full bank of questions using Test Mode (Randomized)

Test your readiness with these quality questions

Understand the important important concepts using the explanations

 Network+ Study Materials

30 Day Package60 Day Package
Full bank of more than 293* N10-006 Network+ practice test questions.All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.CheckCheck
Performance-based QuestionsSeveral sets of performance-based questions. Question types include drag and drop, matching, and sorting type questions. See a demo here.checksmchecksm

Bonus #1

Flashcard Set
  • 200 Network+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • View in random and non-random modes.
checksm

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet
checksm

Get the Network+ Study Materials Here

Package includes several sets of performance-based questions.Two sets are simulated performance-based questions.Another set includes multiple performance-based questions using drag and drop capabilities. I love the way these new questions work. Check out a demo here.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get quality practice test questions

If you're like most people, you've already spent money on one or more Network+ books or courses. Now you need to ensure you understand the concepts and how they are tested. You can pay $100 or more for practice test questions, but you don't need to.

The set of practice test questions will give you a view of typical multiple choice questions you can expect to see on the live exam.

Get Certified Get Ahead with Network+ Practice Test Questions

 Network+ Study Materials

30 Day Package60 Day Package
Full bank of more than 293* N10-006 Network+ practice test questions.All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.CheckCheck
Performance-based QuestionsSeveral sets of performance-based questions. Question types include drag and drop, matching, and sorting type questions. See a demo here.checksmchecksm

Bonus #1

Flashcard Set
  • 200 Network+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • View in random and non-random modes.
checksm

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet
checksm

Get the Network+ Study Materials Here

Beware of questions that do not include explanations - many people have identified errors in these and even when there aren't errors, these types of questions encourage you to memorize answers instead of understanding the underlying concepts.* Don't you hate those little asterisks. Normally they mean "forget what you just read, it's not really true." Not so here though. The bank starts with 293 multiple choice practice test questions, but I'm still adding to them. There will be more.** CompTIA identified five domains of objectives for the CompTIA Network+ exam. They are:
  • 1.0 Networking Architecture
  • 2.0 Network Operations
  • 3.0 Network Security
  • 4.0 Troubleshooting
  • 5.0 Industry Standards, Practices, and Network Theory

If you complete the CompTIA Trio and get the Security+ certification in July, you no longer need to worry about earning your Network+ CEUs or paying your Network+ CE fees. Instead, you need to earn the 50 CEUs for Security+ (and pay the program fees) within three years of the July certification.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SYO-401 Practice Test Questions Now Available

Over 440 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

Pass the Security+ Exam

the First Time You Take It

Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 100 random questions. View 100 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 100 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

 SYO-401 Practice Test Questions Now Available


INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Simulated Performance-based Questions

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Simulated performance-based questions included with all

packages that include practice test questions.

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Simulated performance-based questions included with

all packages that include practice test questions.

Security+ Full Access Package

Get Certified Get Ahead Security+

Pass the First Time!

Up-to-date Content

New multiple-choice and performance-based questions added regularly

Pass the first time with quality practice test questions, performance-based questions, flashcards, and audio.

Buy The Full Access Study Package Today

60 Days Access For Only $55.98

Need more time? You can easily renew for another 60 days at a significantly reduced price.

All materials are available online shortly after making your payment.

Get the Security+ Full Access Study Package Here

Our online Security+ study materials are the perfect complement to the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. They can also be used to help ensure you're ready no matter what study guide you're using.

This exam is expensive.

Make sure you're ready before exam day. 

Here's what you'll get:
  • All of the multiple-choice questions from the best-selling CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. See a demo here. All questions have full explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.
  • Over 35 new multiple-choice questions we've added after publishing the study guide.
  • Over 70 performance-based questions. See a demo here.
  • All of the flashcards from the study guide. View them in any Web browser.
  • All of the audio from the study guide. Listen to a sample here.
  • A subnetting mini-tutorial to help you answer key question types in the Security+ exam.
  • Access to a free discount code for 10% off your Security+ voucher. Save $31.10 off the US retail cost for this voucher.

Buy The Full Access Study Package Today

60 Days Access For Only $55.98

All materials are available online shortly after making your payment.

Get the Security+ Full Access Study Package Here

Beyond the CompTIA Trio

If you stay in IT, you can continue to earn certifications beyond the CompTIA trio of A+, Network+, and Security+. As an example, you could earn the (ISC)2 SSCP certification or CISSP certification. This gives you the 50 CEUs you need to keep your A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications updated. A difference is that you will need to pay the program fees to register non-CompTIA certifications.

How To Enter the CEUs

You can enter all your CEUs (and pay the program fees) via your CE account. You can access it here. You use your CompTIA Candidate Career ID and a password. That page also has instructions on how to start if you’ve never logged in before, or you do not know r CompTIA Candidate Career ID.

Read More

CASP Exam Update

CASP Exam Being Revised

It is time to revise the CASP exam and development begins with a JTA (Job Task Analysis) workshop in October. This is where the exam objectives for the next exam are determined.

Highly experienced technical security professionals at the enterprise level are needed for this workshop. A modest daily stipend is payable, and the networking opportunity with peers in the industry is likely to make this a rewarding way to spend a week of your time.

Advanced Security Experts Needed

CompTIA is looking for IT professionals who have extensive experience in enterprise-level security management to be involved in updating the objectives for our CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification exam.

In this “Job Task Analysis” workshop, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will identify areas of competence required for the certification, and ensure examination objectives are relevant to job roles and activities for the target audience.

Assistance from SMEs is crucial in providing an industry relevant exam. Potential SMEs must be IT professionals with at least five years current experience working in enterprise-level security management. It is preferred that SMEs are CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certified or have equivalent experience.

SMEs will receive a $300 a day stipend for the 5-day workshop, as well as meals provided during the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. working days. Recognition for SMEs includes listing on the CompTIA website pending full participation in the program.

Become a CompTIA Subject Matter ExpertWhen: Oct. 7-11, 2013

Where: CompTIA Headquarters, Downers Grove, IL. Downers Grove is a western suburb of Chicago accessible by O’Hare and Midway airports.

Only professionals currently working in enterprise-level security management should apply. Although CompTIA appreciates interest from the training community, applications from trainers, authors, or individuals who may profit or materially benefit from knowledge of the CompTIA credential content are not eligible to participate.

If you have questions about the application process, email examdev@comptia.org.

Read More

CASP Now Approved for DoD 8570

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification is a newer certification from CompTIA that is starting to get more attention. It was recently approved as one of the certifications by Department of Defense (DoD) and is listed on the same level as the CISSP certification in some categories.

I have written about the (CASP) certification in the past in these blogs:

Where Does CASP Fit In?

A common question that many people ask is “Where does the CASP fit in when compared to other security certifications?” The following list includes some common security certifications from easiest to most difficult:

There are other certifications but these are some that are commonly pursued by many individuals.

It’s easier to understand how the CASP fits into the DoD certifications if you understand the basics of the certification levels. The following topics explain the DoD IT hierarchy, shows how different certifications fit into different levels.

DoD Approved 8570 Baseline Certifications

As an extension of Appendix 3 to the DoD 8570.01-Manual, several certifications have been approved as Information Assurance (IA) baseline certifications for the IA Workforce. Personnel performing IA functions must obtain one of the certifications required for their position category or specialty and level.

This page provides a listing of the specific certifications required at each level, but here’s a short summary.

DoD Information Technology Hierarchy

The DoD IT hierarchy is divided into three general levels (Level I, Level II, and Level III) and each of the IA levels are related to one of these levels.

Level I

Level I is the basic computing environment and often referred to as a local computing environment. In general, this refers to desktop and laptop computers and hand held computing devices. A computing environment may have one or more servers.

Level II

Level II is the networking environment. It can include an operations network, a logistics network, and a human resources network. Level II networks are connected to Level I computing environments.

Level III

Level III refers to an enclave environment. It consists of two or more networks controlled by enclave security policies and procedures. A Level III enclave environment is connected to one or more Level II network environments.

Information Assurance Technical (IAT)

In general, IAT positions include anyone that require privileged access to a DoD information system Computing, Network, or Enclave environment. For example, anyone requiring administrative access for a system fits into this category.

IAT Level I

IAT Level II
IAT Level III

Information Assurance Management (IAM)

In general, IAM positions include anyone that has responsibility for managing information system security for a DoD Information System Computing, Network, or Enclave environment.

IAM Level I
IAM Level II
IAM Level III

Information Assurance System Architect and Engineer (IASAE)

In general, IASAE positions include anyone that has responsibility for the design, development, implementation, and/or integration of a DoD IA architecture, system, or system component for a DoD Information System Computing, Network, or Enclave environment?

IASAE Level I
IASAE Level II
IASAE Level III
  • CISSP – ISSEP
  • CISSP – ISSAP

Summary

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification is now approved for certain DoD levels. Because of this, you can expect to see this certification to get more recognition and respect going forward. In some cases, this is on the same level as the CISSP certification.

Read More

CompTIA CEUs

If you have the CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Storage+, or CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification, you’re required to complete and register continuing education units (CEUs). This blog covers many of the common questions surrounding CEUs.

Common Questions About CompTIA CEUs

Here are some of the common questions related to CEUs. You can also view content on the CompTIA site at this page:

Which Certifications Require CEUs?

Only the following certifications are currently in the CompTIA CEU program.

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Storage+
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)

How Much Does it Cost?

The following list shows the annual fee and cost for each of these certifications.

  • CompTIA A+ $25 (Total $75)
  • CompTIA Network+ $49 (Total $147)
  • CompTIA Security+ $49 (Total $147)
  • CompTIA Storage+ 49 (Total $147)
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) $49 (Total $147)

Do I Have to Earn CEUs for All CompTIA Certifications

No. You only need to earn certifications for the highest level of certification. The following list shows the order of lowest to highest level of certification.

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Storage+
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)

In other words, if you have A+, Network+, and Storage+, you only need to meet the requirements of Security+.

How Many CEUs Do I Need

The following list shows how many CEUs you need for each certification.

  • CompTIA A+ 20 CEUs
  • CompTIA Network+ 30 CEUs
  • CompTIA Security+ 50 CEUs
  • CompTIA Storage+ 50CEUs
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) 75CEUs

What Can I Do To Earn CEUs?

The most common way to earn CEUs is to pass the most current version of the exam or a higher level exam. For example, if you have the A+, you’re required to gain 20 CEUs. If you then pass the Network+, you earn 30 CEUs and met the requirement for the A+.

You can also meet the requirement taking and passing another vendor’s higher level certification. For example, if you have the CompTIA Security+, you’ll meet he requirement by taking and passing the ISC2 SSCP or CISSP. This page lists the other certifications that give full credit. Click on the [+] to view the qualifying certifications for each group.

Some other activities that qualify are:

  • Teaching or lecturing on relevant topics.
  • Attending courses or computer based training
  • Attending relevant conferences or events
  • Attending a CompTIA exam development workshop
  • Publishing, books, blogs, articles, or whitepapers

A full list of qualifying activities including how many credits for each are listed here.

Do I Need To Pay If I’m In The DoD?

No. If you’re in the United States Department of Defense (DoD), these fees are paid for by the DoD. This does not apply to DoD contractors but instead only active duty and civil service employees.

How Do I Register my CEUs?

You first need to register with the CompTIA site. You can do so from here. If you’ve registered before, you can log in from here.

You are required to comply with the CompTIA Code of Ethics Policy and be up to date for the required maintenance fees before you can register.

Summary

The following list summarizes the order of the CompTIA certifications requiring CEUs, the annual and total cost of each, and how many CEUs are required.

  • CompTIA A+ $25 (Total $75), 20 CEUs required
  • CompTIA Network+ $49 (Total $147), 30 CEUs required
  • CompTIA Security+ $49 (Total $147), 50 CEUs required
  • CompTIA Storage+ 49 (Total $147), 50 CEUs required
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) $49 (Total $147), 75CEUs required
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Certificate, Certificate Revocation List, and Certificate Authority

If you’re preparing for the Security+ SY0-401 exam, you should have a basic understanding of a certificate, a certificate revocation list (CRL) and a certificate authority (CA). A reader recently sent me a query on these. I answered him directly but expanded my answer here to provide a little more detail.

Certificate

A certificate is a digital document that includes a public key and information on the owner of the certificate. As an example, this is a certificate for a user named Darril Gibson at GetCertifiedGetAhead.

Darril Gibson certificate

In the figure, the public key is selected so you can see that the public key is embedded within the certificate. The public key is used with a matching private key for asymmetric encryption. Entities (such as users or servers) share their public key by giving out copies of their certificate. The serial number is also included and uniquely identifies the certificate.

If you want to read more about how asymmetric encryption works, check out this article. It shows how asymmetric encryption is used to privately share a symmetric key in HTTPS with SSL and TLS: Understanding the HTTPS Process for Security+. Another article that ties in multiple cryptography topics for the exam is Security+ Cryptography topics.

If you’re running Windows 7, you can use these steps to view a certificate:

  1. Click Start, and enter MMC in the Search Programs and Files text box.
  2. Press Enter to open a blank Microsoft Management Console (MMC). If you’re prompted by UAC, click Yes.
  3. Select File, Add/Remove Snap-in.
  4. Select Certificates and click Add.
  5. Ensure My User Account is selected and click Finish. Click OK.
  6. Expand Certificates – Current User. Expand Personal and click Certificates. If you have any certificates issued to you, you’ll see them here. If you don’t have any, you can encrypt a file using NTFSs Encrypting File System (EFS) and an EFS certificate will be created for you.
  7. Expand Trusted Root Certification Authorities and select Certificates.
  8. Double-click any certificate to open it. Click the Details tab and you’ll see something similar to the previous figure.

Learn by listening 
Key points from the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide
Over one hour and 20 minutes of audio from the “Remember This” blocks
Over three hours and 20 minutes of questions and answers on audio.


Certificate Purposes

Certificates have multiple purposes including encryption, authentication, digital signatures, email encryption, code signing, and more. The following figure shows the properties of certificate. This certificate is enabled for all purposes but many times, you’ll have a certificate for only specific purposes. If you followed the previous steps, you can click the Edit Properties button to view the properties of that certificate.

Certificate Properties


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Certificate Authority

A certificate authority or certification authority (CA) issues, manages, validates, and revokes certificates. The process of issuing a certificate is very specific and requires authentication before the certificate is issued. CAs can be public or private (external to a company or only used internally). For example, Verisign is a large public CA. It issues certificates to entities for authentication and encryption on the Internet.

A Trusted Root Certification Authorities store includes the root certificates from many different public CAs. Any certificates issued by a CA with a certificate in the Trusted Root Certification Authorities store are automatically trusted.

If you go to a web site that is using a certificate issued by a certification authority named Gibson’s Cheap Certificates (which doesn’t have a certificate in the Trusted Root Certification Authorities store), the web browser will give a warning saying this certificate is not trusted.

Certification Revocation List

When an entity receives a certificate from somewhere else, it checks with the CA to verify the certificate is valid. For example, when your web browser receives a certificate from a web site, it checks with the CA to verify the certificate is valid. One way this is done is with a certificate revocation list (CRL).

A CRL is a certificate that includes a list of serial numbers of all the certificates that have been revoked. When an entity receives a copy of the CRL, it checks the serial number of its certificate against the CRL. If the serial number is on the CRL, it should not be used.

A Security+ Practice Test Question

This brings me to the query by the reader. He came across a practice test question similar to this:

An administrator has just been fired for making an unauthorized change to the network after being warned not to do so. Of the following choices, what would you update to block this administrator’s access?

A. TLS
B. CA
C. PKI
D. CRL

Do you know the answer? Ideally, you should be able to look at any question and know why the correct answer is correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. When studying for a certification exam, ensure that your source includes full explanations if you want to fully understand the concepts.

Answer below.


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Answer

D is correct. It is the only one that can be updated. Employees can be issued certificates from a private certification authority for authentication (such as with a smart card) and when the employee leaves the smart card should not be used anymore. By revoking the certificate, it ensures the smart card cannot be used. In other words, the serial number of the employee’s certificate is added to the certification revocation list (CRL) and if anyone tries to use this certificate to authenticate, the CRL will verify the certificate has been revoked.

A is incorrect. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is an encryption protocol used to encrypt traffic such as HTTP. You cannot update TLS.

B is incorrect. The certificate authority (CA) is the entity that issues and manages certificates. In a sense you are updating the CA when you are updating the CRL but this is not the best answer.

C is incorrect. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) refers to all the technologies used to request, create, manage, store, distribute, and revoke digital certificates. The infrastructure is not updated.

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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Simulated Performance-based Questions

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Simulated performance-based questions included with all

packages that include practice test questions.

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Simulated performance-based questions included with

all packages that include practice test questions.

Summary

A certificate is used for many purposes including authentication and encryption. A certificate authority manages certificates through their lifetime and when a certificate should no longer be used, it is revoked. CAs publish a certificate revocation list which lists the serial numbers of all revoked certificates.

 

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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

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