Archive for the 'Certification/CISSP' Category
WEBINAR: GSA, DHS, NIST on personal mobile security, THU 11/10 (CPEs)

Securing and managing agency mobile apps.
WEBINAR, THU 11/10, Complimentary, CPEs

This important video webinar will explore how mobile apps
rapidly expand in agency networks and how agency experts
limit security risks while they manage mobile Web devices
to drive agency productivity and mission achievement.



The Framework for Mobile Security in Government

DATE: THU 11/10
TIME: 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT
DURATION: 1 hour
CPE: 1 CPE from the George Washington University,
Center for Excellence in Public Leadership
COST: Complimentary

– JON JOHNSON, Enterprise Mobility Team Manager, GSA

– VINCENT SRITAPAN, Program Manager, Cyber Security
Division, DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate

– JOSHUA FRANKLIN, Information Security Engineer, NIST

– JOHNNY OVERCAST, Director of Government Sales, Samsung
Electronics America

– TOM TEMIN, Host and Managing Editor, The Federal Drive,
Federal News Radio 1500 AM

PRESENTED BY: WTOP, Federal News Radio, FedInsider News,
and The George Washington University Center for
Excellence in Public Leadership


CART services provided for captioning for all webinars.

Looking forward to meeting you online!

Peg Hosky, President

Phone: 202-237-0300
Twitter:  @peghosky

FedInsider News
3811 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC 20016

How to get a certification: CAP Exam part 1

CAP Exam

passed the cap exam

me with picture of CAP notificaiton

I had studied all night after freaking out about the test. I was sick and had to drive to another city to take that damn test. I was exhausted and tired.. lame excuse for being ugly lol. Its all good.. I still get laid.. but enough about ME.. lets talk about the test 😀

How to get a certification

– ISC2 Certified Authorization Professional (ISC2 CAP)
– Risk Management Certification
– Passing Score 700 out of 1000 points (125 questions on the test *25 test questions not counted toward the results)
– Application Fee: $419
– Verify 2 years experience in this field
– Endorsement Form
– Answer questions to criminal history and background
– Other Info: its a CBT, 3 hours to test, based on NIST 800 series

How Hard is the CAP Exam

I just took the ISC2 Certified Authorization Professional test (CAP Exam). I just want to give others who are about to take this test some idea of what they are up against. I noticed there is not a lot of Security Professionals talking about it. I keep hearing that there are only *1000 CAP certified people on Earth (circa 2011). I don’t think its because of the difficulty level (lol.. i mean i would not call it an EASY test, but its no CISSP or CCIE.. btw CCIE has about 25,000 certified as of about 2010 individuals on early despite being around for since 1993… according to Cisco, “fewer than 3% of Cisco certified individuals attain CCIE certification”). I think there are so few CAP certified people because its not a well know certification and its in a specialized field. Perhaps the numbers of CAP certified individuals will always be low.

My overall impression is that it is much harder than Security+ but much easier than CISSP. If you have recent experience with DoD Information Assurance Certification & Accreditation Process (DIACAP) you should have an easy time grasping the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800 series concepts allowing you to pass the CAP exam. I would say the same about all the C&A frameworks, NIACAP, NISPOM, DCID 6/3, DITSCAP etc. If you know the certification & accreditation process well than you will pick up risk management framework fast. If you have been doing the NIST C&A and/or Risk Management Framework, the test should be a mere refresher course for you and a couple of weeks of reviewing NIST 800 regulations and OMBs you already know might be enough for you to pass the CAP Exam and get this certifications. You should know, however, that quite a bit has changed since 2009 in the certification & accreditation process of getting authorization.

The test is in the style of the CISSP in that you must choose what is MOST right in many cases. All questions are 4-multiple choice type questions.

Study Material for the Certified Authorization Professional

One of my biggest issues about the CAP material is that is has almost NO decent study material. There is “The CISSP and CAP prep guide” by Russell Dean & Ronald L. Krutz, this is the ONLY book I have found aside from one or two lame ebooks (as of 2011).

What I used to get a CAP Certification

The very first thing you should do is become a member of and download the ISC2 CAP Candidate Information Bulletin. The CAP Exam CIB breaks down all the objectives that you need to be knowledgeable in.

Read and/or be very familiar with the following NIST & OMB documents:
– NIST 800-37
– NIST 800-53
– NIST 800-53A
– NIST 800-64
– NIST 800-30
– NIST 800-100
– NIST 800-83
– NIST 800-53
OMB circular A-130
Privacy Act of 1974
FISMA Act of 2002
**The full list of documents & regs to be familiar with are located in CAP CIB

Another great resource is practice tests. has GREAT content for the CAP, some of the best you will find for the Certified Authorization Professional.

Areas to Spend a LOT of time on:

I would definitely know and fully understand the Risk Management Framework (800-37). You need to know the tasks on each of the six steps of the Risk Management Framework (800-37). System Development Lifecycle is also HUGE on this test(800-64). I would know how Risk Management Framework lines up with SDLC and Risk Assessment process (800-37, 64, 30). Risk Assessment process, Risk Management Framework and SDLC are all interconnected. You should know how they work together. Tasks that are done at each stage and step in all those process and what role does each task is a need to know. Roles and Responsibilities should be fully understood and memorized. Although everyone of the steps in the Risk Management framework are covered pretty good, I feel like the following two steps were beaten to death: Continuous Monitoring & assessments (security control assessor)

The test is computer based and randomized so you might get a completely different set of subject areas. Your best bet is to study what is in the CAP-CIB and use a bunch of practice tests.

What I DID NOT see on the Exam:

I was surprised not to see anything on the NIACAP, DIACAP, FITSAP, DCID 6/3 and DITSCAP. I was fully expecting it and prepared for it. Many of the practice test go on and on about Project/Program Management subject areas. But the only question I recall on that had to do with knowing the role of a Program Manager… thats about it.

Pro & CON on the ISC2 CAP Cert

CONS: I feel like the CAP is currently (2011) not in great demand. If you do a search on any job database (monster, indeed, simplyhired) you see that there are not many employees listing it as a requirement. For example, a 2011 search on isc2 CAP anywhere in the US gives 49 results —
I also think that the certification is WAY over priced. Its $419 which I think is even more than the ISC2 CISSP concentrations.
There is almost no study material for it.

PROS: Covers very important risk management framework material. Its computer based, so the results are instant. Its good lead up and practice for the ISSEP. The ISSEP covers a lot of what is in the CAP. NIST will get increasingly more important as DoD, NSA and other national security system agencies take on the NIST.

*CAP Exam: CAP certified people in the world (circa 2011):
Canada 6
Germany 1
Korea, Republic of 2
Puerto Rico 2
United States 997

**Certification Authorization Professional Candidate Information Bulletin is on May have to be a member to get the document

Benefits of Being a CISSP

Find an IT Security Jobs

So do you have any suggestions for someone starting out in IT Security? What certifications, knowledge, training, forums, do you suggest? They will pay for the A+ cert, Network + and Security + certification. Do you have any suggestions for someone just starting out in security? After CompTia what should I focus on. Although I’m not sure yet of my final career goals, I’d like to first get a job very quickly in IT security, hopefully with the government, state, or any local government; when I say quick I mean within the next few weeks Thanks Rob for whatever info you can suggest


If you want a job fast I would suggest checking out I would also put my resume out on, if you have not already done so. If you want a security job the security+ is the way to go, but also consider doing a search on monster and simplyhired to look at the skills and certifications that employers are looking for. Pay particular attension to keywords and phrases that they are using. You will know the keywords/phrase because they are repeated in nearly every resume for your chosen career path and/or job title.

How I get Jobs Fast
For example, in my career “system security engineer” and “information security officer” I see the following keywords/phrases over and over: security clearance, cissp, 8500, diacap. If noticed that when I have these keywords on my resume, I get calls almost DAILY from all over the US. Here is how you can do the same:
1) Find a good job title that fits what you do or what you want to do
2) Do a search for that job title [use google,,, or any other search engine/job database]
– Read through the job results and try to find keywords/phrases that seem to be in most or all of the jobs listed
3) Try to get as many of the applicable keywords/phrases in your resume
– Either have the skills required for the chosen job title or begin working toward them
– I am not suggesting that you put lies on your resume, you’ll have to look for job titles that you have experience & skills in
– Don’t mess with stuff that completely out of your league or level of expertise, be honest on your resume
– Sometimes employers will take you if you are willing to learn the skills or earn the require certification/degree in a certain time frame. Put that on your resume.
4) Put your resume [with keywords/phrases in place] online, as many places as you can

Research Employer Demand in certain locations
I am from California and I have been trying for years to find a decent job (for what I do) there. They’ve got them in southern California but almost none in Northern. California seems to be lacking jobs and then they don’t want to pay comparable to the cost of living there. I noticed that Cali has a LOT of networking jobs. If you type in CCNP in for Cali, you’ll find a lot of good paying jobs. The problem is that CCNP is a very difficult certification to get (or so I’ve heard).

I would recommend checking out what sort of IT skills employers are looking for in the area you want to work. For example, even though I have lots of certifications, most of the ones that I have [that are still active lol] won’t help me for moving back to Northern California. I researched it and found that they are mostly looking for Network Engineers [as of 2006-2010] and my Cisco routing and switching skills are still developing.

Play Capitalisms Game: Start a Business
Another option is to start your own business. This may sound daunting, but believe it or not my website qualifies as a business. It took me about 1 year to get it making money, but now it makes between $400 – 800/month without me even looking at it. It has made as much as 2k and I know people who make more in a month then many people make in a year with their blogs. It is becoming harder and harder to be an employee. Companies do the bare minimum to take care of employees, the economy goes in a recession (or worse) and hard working people can not find a job and the value of the dollar flutuates on a downward spiral. It seems the only way to be comfortable in this new “capitalism” is to have multiple streams of income.

If you are interested, start at your states business page and here

Rob E.

DIACAP Essentials + IA Control Validation Training (part 2): DIACAP/AFCAP Day1

This is the second installment of the DIACAP Essentials journal.

In the first day of class we’ve taken a high level look at the big picture of the Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification & Accreditation Process (DIACAP) and Air Force Certification & Accreditation Program (AFCAP). It is a very valuable tool for a beginner.

Since I’ve gone through the entire process (with a legacy system) more than once through all the growing pains of Air Force C&A from DITSCAP to DIACAP, I found that I knew about 90% of everything taught. I don’t mind having a refresher, though and quite frankly, I need the CPE’s for my CISSP :).

There were a couple of golden nuggets that I’ve been able to get out of some of the old timers. I learned some interesting things about how the Navy, Marines and Army do things.
Navy (as weird as their dumb ass rank system.. yep, I said it.. its dumb) have like three systems: DITPR-DON, DA-DUMB and some other BS, Marines have something called Exacta and the Army has APMS (Army Profile Management System). Also learned cool off topic stuff like history of eMass.

I must admit I’m looking forward to day two.
pros of day 1: Good solid start on basics GREAT for beginners. SecureInfo gets mad props for have a great instructor John M.(don’t know if he wants his full name published.. but he’s highly, highly knowledgeable and very positive).

cons of day 1: Right off the bat I am noticing a huge hole in the training… a lack of in depth teaching of EITDR, which is how the Air Force implements, manages and maintains the entire DIACAP/AFCAP process. I don’t really see how you can teach one without the other these days. I guess contractually, SecureInfo can not touch it since some other company has the contract. But unfortunately, the folks that are new to this are going to suffer. Because if they goto this class without knowing the EITDR they will know why but now how, and if they go to the EITDR class without knowing the DIACAP they will know how but not Why.

The Value of a (Ethical Hacker) Certification

Ok, I admit it. I have totally slacked off on getting that CEH certification. I’ve had the boot camp, I’ve amassed lots of great books and resources, I’ve even talked to some people who have passed it, but I still haven’t been consistent about studying. For a while I was pretty consistent. I read the Official Study Guide and started working on an Unofficial one.

Why don’t I have that cert yet? I suppose I just don’t feel I have a reason to have it. It would just be for show because I don’t really do pen testing. ’d like to, but in my job, I don’t usually have the opportunity to do it or reason to do it. I’ve already got the CISSP so I don’t need the CEH for some kind of prestige. Many hackers piss on certifications they are not impressed with them and are willing hurt anyone who flashes the credentials. The CISSP trumps most certification. The only real benefit for me getting it is that it would force me to get more familiar with tools like netcat and Snort which I don’t use enough. I am interested in cyber kung fu. Lately, I have been more drawn to the scientific and mathematical side of technology.. the side where the innovation are born, not just mastered. I’ve been sharpening up my math skills and plan on getting into Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or physics.

I haven’t decided whether I want to take the CEH because I want to do something that has more depth. I suppose I could complete the CEH, go through Computer Science and specialize in security/crypto/info assurance and follow in the foot steps of Bruce Schneier and Steve Gibson. In the beginning, certifications were definitely a step up, but I’m in a place now where they are just ornaments, flashy bobbles I could decorate my name with when I need an ego boost. If my wife and kids are giving me lip I can say, “don’t you know I am a CISSP, A+, B, C, D, E, F, G. You MUST respect my awesome test taking ability!”

I’ve said it before, I think certifications can be of great value. If you work for the Department of Defense in IT you pretty much MUST have one (per DoD 8570). Certifications can give you that extra edge against competing employees in the private sector. Problem arise when the IT certifications value is taken out of context. Like the 8570 which makes it mandatory to have a certain certification regardless of your experience and/or degrees. That is a bit much. Not everyone who passes the CISSP can configure a firewall properly. But perhaps thats the reason the DoD wants system specific certification.

Which Security Certification Should I Get?

If you can, get the CISSP, don’t waste your time with anything else. You don’t have to make it your last cert, but (if you can) make it your first. It has become the gold standard that gives you “just add-water” credibility. You can slap those initials at the end of your name and flash a badge with your ISC2, CISSP number on it.

The statement above will piss off a lot of security people, but it is the truth.. the inconvenient, sad and pathetic truth. To all you skilled hackers and IS pro’s, don’t hate the blogger, hate the game. I didn’t create the rules, I just hack them.

Old school hackers and security geniuses talk MAD shit about the CISSP, but what they fail to realize is that “to hack ‘the man’, you have to be ‘the man'”. What I mean is that playing the game is essential to your financial need$. There are always exceptions: Adrian ‘homeless hacker’ Lamos, Steve ‘I write entire apps in assembly’ Gibson, Gordon ‘I created nmap’ Lyon, Jeff ‘i created defcon and sold it in 2005 for 14mil’ Moss, Bruce ‘i decrypted code as a fetus’ Schneier..

For average bastards like you and me, the CISSP is way to go.

I do agree with DMiessler and Mckeay:

“I’ve met CISSPs who can’t configure a home network — no joke. Again, I studied for it and passed it in one week’s time, and that’s with zero previous study of the test materials.

More than I can a test that has a 70% first-time-pass rate that’s explicitly designed for managers and non-technical types. It’s for a wide, wide base of knowledge – not for testing whether or not you’d be qualified to actually do anything.” — dm

“..the CISSP is not a technical certificate! It is not now, nor was it ever meant to be, a technical certification.” — mckeay

Though you may see a couple of technical questions on the test, the over all test is pretty high level, unlike the Certified Ethical Hacker or the CCNA that ask specific technical questions about specific technical issues.

So what should you go for on the Security Certification front:
Go directly for the CISSP (if you can). The fact of the matter is that most companies, the government and foreign organization look for the CISSP. Aside from the CCIE, I don’t know of any other technical cert that will give so much credibility (even if you don’t deserve it).

A NOTE of caution: If you get it, be real with your self. The CISSP does not instantly make you an expert in all ten of its domains. It will not put an “S” on your chest and make you impervious to Kryptonite. Its just a test. Its not an I.Q. test or the Bar. Its just a test. If you have passed, congradulations… now the real work begins. Good security professionals are ALWAYs learning (even more so than your average IT guy, because we have to know the latest in IT as well as policies, some law and even some level of management). A real CISSP should be a “jack of all trades, Master of ONE“.

You should also consider that there is simply no replacement for a good degree except for experience. The good thing about the CISSP is that it requires you to have a certain amount of experience before you even attempt it.

Building to the CISSP:
Beginner: if you’re just starting, you want Comptia’s Security+ certification.
Now, if your just trying to the guy who looks at audit logs all day and report what they see, then your golden. But if you’re serious about security, then you need to play the game, get the damn CISSP (do not pass go, do not collect $200). It pays better than a Security+… much better.

Serious Beginner
Get into any kind of Information Security position and earn some “street cred“. You may even be in a typical IT position on a filthy help desk (sorry, I’ve done it and it sucks) you can still use it to your advantage by working your way into security tasks. If your in the military, volunteer to be the COMSEC guy or an IAO (it’ll be easy because nobody else wants to do it). Volunteer to work with the security guys and learn from them. The goal is the get into the security mindset and also rack up some experience. A degree will help to with a school that allows you to set up a lab.

Novice Security

After a solid year of security experience you should go for the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP®). Why the SSCP? It will help you build toward the CISSP. At this point, if you haven’t done so already I would recommend joining the Information System Security Association (ISSA). You’ll begin to network with other security folks from everything from forensics to the pentesters to information security managers (who don’t even know how to set up a network). By this time, you should have some idea what you’d like to specialize in. The CISSP is a great foundation as certification credibility goes, but you will need to specialize.

I found the test challenging. You don’t want to take it twice that is for damn sure. Just make sure your ready. You’ll have to have about 5 years total security experience.

Now checks this out:

“Effective 1 October 2007, professional work experience requirements for the CISSP® will increase from four to five years, and direct full-time security professional work experience will be required in two or more of the ten CISSP® CBK® domains.” –ISC2

Even a Masters degree will only replace a maximum of 1 year of experience (sounds like *NS to me):

Candidates can substitute a maximum of one year of direct full-time security professional work experience described above if they have a four-year college degree OR Master’s Degree in information security from a U.S. National Center of Academic Excellence in information Security (CAEIAE) or regional equivalent. If you hold both a four-year degree and a Master’s degree, you may only apply for a one year waiver of experience.

*NS-non sense

SC Magazine Awards 2007: Training Camp listed

Training Camp has been named a finalist in the SC Magazine Awards 2007 for the Best Professional Training Program category. According to SC Magazine, programs in this category are defined as those geared toward strengthening the expertise of IT security professionals, that provide educational programs, continued learning and certifications. 

Contact me to find out more about our award-nominated IT security Training Camps and why they’re the best of the best. Our IT security camps include:

Official (ISC)2 CISSP
Official (ISC)2 ISSEP
Official (ISC)2 SSCP
Certified Ethical Hacker
Licensed Penetration Tester
CompTIA Security+

Security Certifications: DoD 8570

For Government workers doing any kind of computer security/information assurance, the new regulation, DOD 8570 is a very important document.

DOD 8570, Information Assurance Training, Certification and Workforce Management, requires that all government workers (active duty, govt civilian and contractors) doing security work have a security certification. The DoD is really trying to crack down on security.

Among the top security certification that you can get are the CISSP and the CISA

Getting the top certs and then further specializing could give you the edge. For example, CISSP with an CISA (auditor) would cover a lot of ground as would a CISA and an IDS/C&A/Architecture specialists. It would really kick ass to cover ALL ground. This would not be difficult. Not sure if each specialization would require further certifications.

Cost, Renown, Difficulty Comparisons:

Includes: GSEC, CISSP, CISA*note: GSEC is $800 and difficult

Security Certs and their levels according to 8570:

Tech level I-III & Management Level I-III*note: GSEC is Tech level II

Future Areas of IA Certification:


Certification and Accreditation

IDS and Analysts


CND/SP members

IA architectures, engineers

NIST Slide on 8570 

(slide 10)On a recent FISC slide I saw Red team (pentesting/hacking) among these future specializations.



Certified Ethical Hacker Cert and Certified Pen Testing Expert

I'm going to go for the Certified Ethical Hacker Cert and eventually the Certified Pen Testing Expert Certification.  That is the direction that I'd like to go with my Information Security Career. 

As of right now, I have a CISSP.  I do a lot of Security Testing Evaluations and Authorization Agreement, Security Policy type work.  It pays well but I think Pen Testing would be more fun.  After getting the CISSP, I seriously considered going after the ISSEP, Information System Security Engineering Professional cert, which I heard was harder than the CISSP… I don't see how that is possible.

The CEH is a 125 question test that I've heard mixed reviews about.  I've taken the bootcamp and I love the material.  Its all hardcore hacking.  Not simply how to use Cane & Abel or NMap but how to code malware with notepad, methods of SQL injection, and firewall attacks.  I learned a lot.  It also scared the piss out of me.  If your already a hacker or hardcore pent tester than the class would be nothing more than a refresher.  Intermediates with pentesting will have a real treat.  Beginers will be decapitated.

I guess CPTE, Certified Pen Testing Expert is the lastest one.  From what I've read, it looks like it is a step up from the CEH.  Here is some more info on the CPTE.  From what I've read the CPTE is INSANE.  It looks like a practical exam completed in the presents of a pentesting expert.  It includes SQL injections, gathering data, compiling hacker applications, and FRICKING Lockpicking… I AM NOT READY.