ia awareness training

Information Assurance Awareness Training

NIST Special Publication 800-50, is a regulation dedicated to IA Awareness Training

NIST SP 800-5, Building an Information Technology Security Awareness & Training Program

The 800-50 includes guidance on development and sustainment of an awareness & training IT Security (aka information assurance training) program for all users, employees and supervisors within an organization. Having a training program is mandated by the Federal Information Security Act of 2002.

IA Awareness Training – Roles & Responsibilities

Agency heads – must ensure that high priority is given to effective security awareness and training for employees. Appoint a CIO
CIO Establish overall strategy, funding, tracking and report is in place for the IT security awareness and training program
IT Security Program Manager tactical deployment, development and maintenance of the IT security & awareness program.
Managers responsible for complying with IT security awareness program. Work with CIO and IT Security Program Managers to share responsibility. Ensure all users are trained to fulfill their security roles before access is giving. Promote professional development and certification of the IT staff.
Users largest audience in any organization and are the single most important group of people who can help to reduce unintentional errors.

800-50 calls learning a continuum. The continuum of learning starts awareness and builds into education.
Awareness awareness is not training. Awareness focuses on security concerns to ensure users are mindful of basic rules and issues in a given environment.

Awareness is not training. The purpose of awareness presentations is simply to focus attention on security. Awareness presentations are intended to allow individuals to recognize IT security concerns and respond accordingly. – 800-50

Training is a formal focused method to develop a skill for job performance.
Training strives to produce relevant and needed security skills and competencies 800-50

Education combines multidisciplinary areas into a common body of knowledge.

Education integrates all of the security skills and competencies of the various functional specialties into a common body of knowledge . . . and strives to produce IT security specialists and professionals capable of vision and pro-active response. –800-50

What Do You Love? (by google)

Google has a search tool call “What do you love?” You type in whatever you “love” and it gives you results of books, video, emails, products and items related to what you typed in.

I am a HUGE fan of Google despite my fear of the organization potential power and inevitable growth into our personal lives. So I type in something I love.. SEX.

And it gave me kittens. WTF
Why does google hate sex? I don’t get it.
The only thing better than Google would be a Google that does not wuss out about sex and porn because it might offend people. Google is pretty strict on pornography.

They recently got tough on religions. They recently removed churches from their non-profit list. I guess Google allows non-profits the ability to get Google Ads free! Which shows some sort of backbone although some religious organizations are incredible (and REAL non-profits) so I hope they don’t to secular on that decision.

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 simplyhired.com. I would also put my resume out on Monster.com, 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, simplyhired.com, monster.com, dice.com 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 simplyhired.com 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 elamb.org 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.

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.

uCertify Software – IT Certifications

Warning: Shameless promotion of a kick ass product!!

I recently got a chance to test drive uCertify’s IT certification software. I loaded the CY0-101, Security+ PrepKit. I must say I like the software and I am thinking of getting the MCSA from them (think I only have to take two test to complete it). It features the usual breakdown of how you performed in each of the tests objectives. It also has Flash cards that allow you to type in answers to key points on the test… I don’t recall seeing that feature on other certification software.

The pricing depends on the tests you get. But its in the double digits so its a cool little investment toward a bright future. For those of you who are serious about certifications you know that the software (such as transcender – aka the software that must not be named), boot camps and training material can cost 100’s or even 1000’s of dollars.

I think that software such as uCertify is a good start toward attaining a new cert (although you can never replace a solid year of experience).

As for the CY0-101.. I believe Security+ will be changing their objectives sometime in 2008. Hopefully, uCerty will keep up with that. Comptia sent me a few surveys about the change and a couple of co-workers that are being pushed to get the Security+ told me that they want to get it before it changes.

My honest opinion is that software like uCerts Prepkits are great for gauging your level of preparation. I also recommend that you use more than one gauge (particularly on the bigger tests such as CISSP).

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

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:http://dmiessler.com/writing/infoseccerts/

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

Security Certs and their levels according to 8570:http://taosecurity.blogspot.com/2006/01/dod-directive-8570.html

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.



Security+ Instructor: Communications Security domain

Today, I did my first certification lecture.

As I think about how many common public speaking mistakes I made out of nervousness, it makes me laugh. I repeated things like “um”, “and what not”, “that kind of stuff”. I studdered and stammered.

I did my best so I still feel good about what I did. It is actually volunteer work for the local ISSA chapter as well as a way to get “CPEs” or Continued Professional Education points toward my CISSP certification (have to get 120 in the course of 3 years).

It was actually a really good refresher course for me. I love helping people so it was a pleasure to put out some helpful material to fellow Information Security professionals, but I need to get better at public speaking.

Our local Information System Security Association Chapter here in the Springs puts on certification classes a few times a year for Comptia Security+ and the CISSP. I hope that they eventually drum up enough interest for certified ethical hacker course.

Training on Security+

I will be doing training on the Security+ for the ISSA-COS.  I'm
traing the Communcation Security portion of the test.  This is one
of my favorite sections. 

I told the ISSA guys I'd do it as long as I didn't have to train on Crypto which is one of my weaker subjects. 

I'm excited about the training because I feel like I will really be
able to help people ace this test.  Most security professionals
who have been IT for more than a couple of years won't have a problem
studying for it and passing it. 

It really is just basic technical information security
stuff.   There is also a lot of support on the Internet for
this test: practice tests, guidance on what to study, and

Don't sweat this test.  Especially if you've studied.

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