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A listing of over 100 blog posts on the Security+exam. Posts are organized into categories such as:

 




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Our online Security+ study materials are the perfect complement to the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. They can also be used to help ensure you're ready no matter what study guide you're using.

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  • Over 40 new multiple-choice questions we've added after publishing the study guide.
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Recent Posts

  • Top Tax Scams

    Top Tax Scams

    The IRS recently published its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. The first five focus on ways criminals prey on unsuspecting tax payers. While many security professionals are aware of these scams, they can easily ensnare their friends and …
  • Determining Malware Types

    Determining Malware Types

    Malicious software (malware) and social engineering are two common attack categories that any organization will face, but there are some complexities to each category.  If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 exam, you should have a basic understanding of determining …
  • Managing Network Vulnerabilities

    Managing Network Vulnerabilities

    As a security professional, you need to be aware of the different security issues associated with threats, vulnerabilities, and risks, and the tools available to combat them.  If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 exam, you should have a basic …
  • Encryption Algorithms Concepts

    Encryption Algorithms Concepts

    If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 exam, you should have a good understanding of cryptography algorithms and their basic characteristics. This includes encryption algorithms. For example, can you answer this practice test question? Q. Your organization is investigating possible methods …
  • Implementing Spam Security Controls

    Implementing Spam Security Controls

    If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 version of the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of some common security controls used to protect against malware.  This includes spam filters on mail gateways. For example, can you answer this question? Q. …
  • Identifying Critical Systems

    Identifying Critical Systems

    Business continuity planning helps an organization predict and plan for potential outages of critical services or functions. The goal is to ensure that critical business operations continue and the organization can survive the outage.  If you’re planning to take the …
  • Basic Forensics Concepts

    Basic Forensics Concepts

    If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 version of the Security+ exam, you should have a good understanding of basic forensics concepts. A forensic evaluation helps the organization collect and analyze data as evidence it can use in the prosecution of a …
  • Identifying Physical Security Access Controls

    Identifying Physical Security Access Controls

    Physical security access controls attempt to control entry and exits, and organizations commonly implement different controls at different boundaries. If you’re planning to take the Security+ SY0-501 exam, you should have a good understanding of the importance of physical security controls. For example, can you …
  • Schmucks Still Scamming and Stealing

    Schmucks Still Scamming and Stealing

    The IRS* called me recently and left a message on my phone. Apparently, they issued a warrant for my arrest and plan to notify the local police to find and arrest me if I don’t pay them an unspecified sum. …
  • Organizational Security Policies

    Organizational Security Policies

    Written security policies are administrative controls that identify a security plan. If you’re planning to take the Security+ SY0-501 exam, you should have good understanding of the importance of policies, plans and procedures related to organizational security. Personnel create plans and procedures to implement security …
  • Understanding Advanced Security Devices

    Understanding Advanced Security Devices

    If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 version of the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of advanced security devices used to secure networks. For example, can you answer this practice test question? Q. Of the following choices, what can …
  • Using Security Tools

    Using Security Tools

    Several security tools are available for use by security professionals and attackers alike. If you’re planning to take the Security+ SY0-501 exam, you should have basic understanding of using appropriate software tools to assess the security posture of an organization such as using command …
  • Early Detection Saves Lives

    Early Detection Saves Lives

    Chances are that you know someone that has breast cancer. Even if you and the other person don’t know it. However, in this case ignorance is not bliss. What you and others don’t know can kill. About six months ago, I …
  • Secure Staging Deployment Concepts

    Secure Staging Deployment Concepts

    Another concept within secure systems design is secure staging and deployment concepts. If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 version of the Security+ exam, you should be able to explain the importance of secure staging deployment concepts. These include sandboxing, controlling the …
  • DER and CER Certificates

    DER and CER Certificates

    What is the difference between DER and CER encoded certificates?  CompTIA added these into the SY0-501 version of the Security+ exam, so if you plan to take it, you should have a good understanding of these encoding types. The primary differences are: Canonical …

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Determining Malware Types

Posted by on March 7 in Security+ | 0 comments

Malicious software (malware) and social engineering are two common attack categories that any organization will face, but there are some complexities to each category.  If you’re planning to take the SY0-501 exam, you should have a basic understanding of determining malware types given a scenario.

For example, can you answer this practice test question?

Q. Security administrators recently discovered suspicious activity within your network. After investigating the activity, they discovered malicious traffic from outside your network connecting to a server within your network. They determined that a malicious threat actor used this connection to install malware on the server and the malware is collecting data and sending it out of the network. Which of the following BEST describes the type of malware used by the threat actor?

A. APT

B. Organized crime

C. RAT

D. Crypto-malware

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation are available at the end of this post.

Malware (malicious software) includes a wide range of software that has malicious intent. Malware is not software that you would knowingly purchase or download and install. Instead, it is installed onto your system through devious means.

RAT

A remote access Trojan (RAT) is a type of malware that allows attackers to take control of systems from remote locations. It is often delivered via drive-by downloads. Once installed on a system, attackers can then access the infected computer at any time, and install additional malware if desired.

Some RATs automatically collect and log keystrokes, usernames and passwords, incoming and outgoing email, chat sessions, and browser history as well as take screenshots. The RAT can then automatically send the data to the attackers at predetermined times.

Additionally, attackers can explore the network using the credentials of the user or the user’s computer. Attackers often do this to discover, and exploit, additional vulnerabilities within the network. It’s common for attackers to exploit this one infected system and quickly infect the entire network with additional malware, including installing RATs on other systems.

Ransomware

A specific type of Trojan is ransomware. Attackers encrypt the user’s data or take control of the computer and lock out the user. Then, they demand that the user pay a ransom to regain access to the data or computer. Criminals often deliver ransomware via drive-by downloads or embedded in other software delivered via email. Attackers originally targeted individuals with ransomware. However, they have increasingly been targeting organizations demanding larger and larger ransoms.

Many organizations indicate that ransomware attacks continue to grow and are becoming one of the greatest cyber threats:

  • Symantec reported that ransomware attacks grew by 35 percent in 2015 (compared with 2014).
  • The Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) reported that CryptoWall 3, a specific version of ransomware, resulted in $325 million in losses in 2015 alone. It’s difficult to know how much money has been lost by all versions of ransomware.
  • In a public service announcement (Alert Number I-091516-PSA), the FBI reported that a single variant of ransomware infected as many as 100,000 computers a day in the first quarter of 2016.
  • In their 2017 Annual Threat Report, SonicWall reported that the number of ransomware attacks observed by the SonicWall GRID Threat Network increased from 4 million in 2015 to 638 million in 2016.

Determining Malware Types

Ransomware types continue to evolve. In early versions, they sometimes just locked the user out of the system. However, this is rarely done anymore. Instead, attackers typically encrypt the user’s data to ensure that users can’t retrieve it. Ransomware that encrypts the user’s data is sometimes called crypto-malware.

Some ransomware has added in a new blackmail technique called doxing. If the user doesn’t pay the ransom to decrypt the files, the attacker threatens to publish the files along with the victim’s credentials. Malware that uses doxing is sometimes called doxingware.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide

The 501 Version of the Study Guide

The CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201, SY0-301, and SY0-401 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.  It includes the same elements readers raved about in the previous three versions.

Each of the eleven chapters presents topics in an easy to understand manner and includes real-world examples of security principles in action.

You’ll understand the important and relevant security topics for the Security+ exam, without being overloaded with unnecessary details. Additionally, each chapter includes a comprehensive review section to help you focus on what’s important.



Over 300 realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations will help you test your comprehension and readiness for the exam. The book includes:

  • A 75 question pre-test
  • A 75 question post-test
  • Practice test questions at the end of every chapter.

Each practice test question includes a detailed explanation to help you understand the content and the reasoning behind the question. You’ll be ready to take and pass the exam the first time you take it.

If you plan to pursue any of the advanced security certifications, this guide will also help you lay a solid foundation of security knowledge. Learn this material, and you’ll be a step ahead for other exams. This SY0-501 study guide is for any IT or security professional interested in advancing in their field, and a must-read for anyone striving to master the basics of IT security.

Kindle edition also available.

Spyware

Spyware is software installed on users’ systems without their awareness or consent. Its purpose is often to monitor the user’s computer and the user’s activity. Spyware takes some level of control over the user’s computer to learn information and sends this information to a third party. If spyware can access a user’s private data, it results in a loss of confidentiality.

Some examples of spyware activity are changing a user’s home page, redirecting web browsers, and installing additional software within the browser. In some situations, these changes can slow a system down, resulting in poorer performance. These examples are rather harmless compared with what more malicious spyware (called privacy-invasive software) might do.

Privacy-invasive software tries to separate users from their money using data-harvesting techniques. It attempts to gather information to impersonate users, empty bank accounts, and steal identities. For example, some spyware includes keyloggers. The spyware periodically reads the data stored by the keylogger, and sends it to the attacker. In some instances, the spyware allows the attacker to take control of the user’s system remotely.

Spyware is often included with other software like a Trojan. The user installs one application but unknowingly gets some extras. Spyware can also infect a system in a drive-by download. The user simply visits a malicious web site that includes code to automatically download and install the spyware onto the user’s system.

Full Security+ Course

SY0-501 Full Security+ Course

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Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including information on the number of questions, test duration, passing score, types of questions and more. Also includes a listing of the exam objectives)
  • 75 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Identity and Access Management (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Network Technologies and Tools (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Comparing Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Common Attacks (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Protecting Against Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Using Risk Management Tools (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Controls to Protect Assets (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography and PKI (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Policies to Mitigate Risks (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • 75 question post-assessment exam
  • Glossary

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Random 75-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

3 sets Performance-based Questions

Three new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 30 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 494 Online Security+ Glossary Flashcards
  • 222 Online Security+ Acronyms Flashcards
  • 223 Online Security+ Remember This Slide from the popular CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 20 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over two hours hour and 53 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. Over one hour and 40 minutes of additional audio.

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Access to all of the online content that is available for free to anyone that purchases the CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. This includes labs, extra practice test questions, and supplementary materials

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Adware

When adware first emerged, its intent was primarily to learn a user’s habits for the purpose of targeted advertising. As the practice of gathering information on users became more malicious, more people began to call it spyware. However, some traditional adware still exists. Internet marketers have become very sophisticated and use a combination of web analytics with behavioral analytics to track user activity. They then provide targeted ads based on past user activity.

The term adware also applies to software that is free but includes advertisements. The user understands that the software will show advertisements and has the option to purchase a version of the software that does not include the ads. All of this is aboveboard without any intention of misleading the user.


Security+ Practice Test Questions

SY0-501 Practice Test Questions 

Over 300 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.

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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.
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  • Test mode - 75 random questions. View 75 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 75 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.

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 SY0-501 Practice Test Questions


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FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

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Three sets of performance-based questions including over 30 questions. These questions show you what you can expect in the live exam. They include drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions. See a demo here.

Bonus - Extra Practice Test Questions

New multiple-choice questions in the extra test bank. Questions are added occasionally. You can see what has been added recently here.

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Q. Security administrators recently discovered suspicious activity within your network. After investigating the activity, they discovered malicious traffic from outside your network connecting to a server within your network. They determined that a malicious threat actor used this connection to install malware on the server and the malware is collecting data and sending it out of the network. Which of the following BEST describes the type of malware used by the threat actor?

A. APT

B. Organized crime

C. RAT

D. Crypto-malware

Answer is C. The scenario describes a remote access Trojan (RAT), which is a type of malware that allows attackers to take control of systems from remote locations.

While the threat actor may be a member of an advanced persistent threat (APT) or an organized crime group, these are threat actor types, not types of malware.

Crypto-malware is a type of ransomware that encrypts data, but there isn’t an indication that the data is being encrypted in this scenario.

See Chapter 6 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide for more information on malware types.

CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

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