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The GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) certification is an advanced-level credential designed for professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in the field of penetration testing and ethical hacking. Created by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) organization, GPEN validates an individual’s ability to conduct legal, systematic, and effective penetration tests to assess the security of computer networks, systems, and applications.

Key Topics

  • Reconnaissance: Utilize various methods to gather information on a target’s infrastructure, services, and vulnerabilities.
  • Scanning: Employ tools and techniques to actively probe and evaluate target systems, including Nmap, Nessus, and Metasploit.
  • Exploitation: Understand how to exploit vulnerabilities effectively, including buffer overflow attacks, SQL injection, and browser-based attacks.
  • Password Attacks: Employ password cracking tools and techniques to bypass authentication mechanisms.
  • Wireless and Monitoring: Identify and exploit wireless networks, as well as monitor network traffic to uncover useful information.
  • Post Exploitation: Perform post-exploitation activities like privilege escalation, lateral movement, and data exfiltration.
  • Legal and Compliance: Understand the legal considerations involved in penetration testing, and follow industry best practices and standards.

Target Audience

The GPEN certification is primarily aimed at cybersecurity professionals, network administrators, security consultants, and penetration testers looking to enhance their skills and reinforce their credibility in the industry.

Preparing for the GPEN Exam

To prepare for the GPEN exam, candidates are recommended to have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of cybersecurity, networking, and ethical hacking. GIAC offers a comprehensive training course called “SEC560: Network Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking” which aligns with the GPEN exam objectives. However, self-study using other resources like books, articles, and online tutorials is also a viable option.

Exam Details

  • Number of Questions: 115
  • Type of Questions: Multiple-choice
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Passing Score: 74%
  • Exam Delivery: Proctored, Online or at a testing center
  • Cost: $1,999 USD (Includes one retake)

Upon successfully passing the exam, candidates will receive the GIAC Penetration Tester certification, which is valid for four years. To maintain the certification, professionals must earn plus 36 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits every two years and pay a maintenance fee to keep their credentials active.

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