The CompTIA Security+ Certification: passed

I’ve had today the exam for the CompTIA Security+ SYS-201 certification and passed it with 828 points out of 900 (min. 750 to pass it).
security+

I’ve learnt after the book The CompTIA Security+ 2008 Study Guide, 4th Edition., author Emmet Dulaney.
Why this book ?
It was recommended by CompTIA on their website and it was cheap 🙂
I started initially with the eBook : The CompTIA Security+ 2008 in Depth, author Mark Ciampa.
Remember by posts about the posts : Not all AV software are the same” – CompTIA Security+ 2008 and Cybercriminals from Eastern Europe ?
They were from that book. This is the reason for which I dumped it.

About the Exam

The book had not much to do with the exam…
Yes, they covered more or less a part of the objectives, but very, very shallow.
They barely scratched the surface.
How did I pass ?
Because of the previous experience with Security, reading a lot about Security and living it every day.
It is a tough exam for someone who is not used to think in terms of software security.

But it was fun to learn for it.
And this is the last day when the exam is available without having to renew it every 3 years.

Objectives:

1.0 Systems Security
1.1 Differentiate among various systems security threats.
– Privilege escalation
– Virus
– Worm
– Trojan
– Spyware
– Spam
– Adware
– Rootkits
– Botnets
– Logic bomb
1.2 Explain the security risks pertaining to system hardware and peripherals.
– BIOS
– USB devices
– Cell phones
– Removable storage
– Network attached storage
1.3 Implement OS hardening practices and procedures to achieve workstation and server security.
– Hotfixes
– Service packs
– Patches
– Patch management
– Group policies
– Security templates
– Configuration baselines
1.4 Carry out the appropriate procedures to establish application security.
– ActiveX
– Java
– Scripting
– Browser
– Buffer overflows
– Cookies
– SMTP open relays
– Instant messaging
– P2P
– Input validation
– Cross-site scripting (XSS)
1.5 Implement security applications.
– HIDS
– Personal software firewalls
– Antivirus
– Anti-spam
– Popup blockers
1.6 Explain the purpose and application of virtualization technology.
2.0 Network Infrastructure
2.1 Differentiate between the different ports & protocols, their respective threats and mitigation techniques.
– Antiquated protocols
– TCP/IP hijacking
– Null sessions
– Spoofing
– Man-in-the-middle
– Replay
– DOS
– DDOS
– Domain Name Kiting
– DNS poisoning
– ARP poisoning
2.2 Distinguish between network design elements and components.
– DMZ
– VLAN
– NAT
– Network interconnections
– NAC
– Subnetting
– Telephony
2.3 Determine the appropriate use of network security tools to facilitate network security.
– NIDS
– NIPS
– Firewalls
– Proxy servers
– Honeypot
– Internet content filters
– Protocol analyzers
2.4 Apply the appropriate network tools to facilitate network security.
– NIDS
– Firewalls
– Proxy servers
– Internet content filters
– Protocol analyzers
2.5 Explain the vulnerabilities and mitigations associated with network devices.
– Privilege escalation
– Weak passwords
– Back doors
– Default accounts
– DOS
2.6 Explain the vulnerabilities and mitigations associated with various transmission media.
– Vampire taps
2.7 Explain the vulnerabilities and implement mitigations associated with wireless networking.
– Data emanation
– War driving
– SSID broadcast
– Blue jacking
– Bluesnarfing
– Rogue access points
– Weak encryption
3.0 Access Control
3.1 Identify and apply industry best practices for access control methods.
– Implicit deny
– Least privilege
– Separation of duties
– Job rotation
3.2 Explain common access control models and the differences between each.
– MAC
– DAC
– Role & Rule based access control
3.3 Organize users and computers into appropriate security groups and roles while distinguishing between appropriate rights and privileges.
3.4 Apply appropriate security controls to file and print resources.
3.5 Compare and implement logical access control methods.
– ACL
– Group policies
– Password policy
– Domain password policy
– User names and passwords
– Time of day restrictions
– Account expiration
– Logical tokens
3.6 Summarize the various authentication models and identify the components of each.
– One, two and three-factor authentication
– Single sign-on
3.7 Deploy various authentication models and identify the components of each.
– Biometric reader
– RADIUS
– RAS
– LDAP
– Remote access policies
– Remote authentication
– VPN
– Kerberos
– CHAP
– PAP
– Mutual
– 802.1x
– TACACS
3.8 Explain the difference between identification and authentication (identity proofing).
3.9 Explain and apply physical access security methods.
– Physical access logs/lists
– Hardware locks
– Physical access control – ID badges
– Door access systems
– Man-trap
– Physical tokens
– Video surveillance – camera types and positioning
4.0 Assessments & Audits
4.1 Conduct risk assessments and implement risk mitigation.
4.2 Carry out vulnerability assessments using common tools.
– Port scanners
– Vulnerability scanners
– Protocol analyzers
– OVAL
– Password crackers
– Network mappers
4.3 Within the realm of vulnerability assessments, explain the proper use of penetration testing versus vulnerability scanning.
4.4 Use monitoring tools on systems and networks and detect security-related anomalies.
– Performance monitor
– Systems monitor
– Performance baseline
– Protocol analyzers
4.5 Compare and contrast various types of monitoring methodologies.
– Behavior-based
– Signature-based
– Anomaly-based
4.6 Execute proper logging procedures and evaluate the results.
– Security application
– DNS
– System
– Performance
– Access
– Firewall
– Antivirus
4.7 Conduct periodic audits of system security settings.
– User access and rights review
– Storage and retention policies
– Group policies
5.0 Cryptography
5.1 Explain general cryptography concepts.
– Key management
– Steganography
– Symmetric key
– Asymmetric key
– Confidentiality
– Integrity and availability
– Non-repudiation
– Comparative strength of algorithms
– Digital signatures
– Whole disk encryption
– Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
– Single vs. Dual sided certificates
– Use of proven technologies
5.2 Explain basic hashing concepts and map various algorithms to appropriate applications.
– SHA
– MD5
– LANMAN
– NTLM
5.3 Explain basic encryption concepts and map various algorithms to appropriate applications.
– DES
– 3DES
– RSA
– PGP
– Elliptic curve
– AES
– AES256
– One time pad
– Transmission encryption (WEP TKIP, etc)
5.4 Explain and implement protocols.
– SSL/TLS
– S/MIME
– PPTP
– HTTP vs. HTTPS vs. SHTTP
– L2TP
– IPSEC
– SSH
5.5 Explain core concepts of public key cryptography.
– Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
– Recovery agent
– Public key
– Private keys
– Certificate Authority (CA)
– Registration
– Key escrow
– Certificate Revocation List (CRL)
– Trust models
5.6 Implement PKI and certificate management.
– Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
– Recovery agent
– Public key
– Private keys
– Certificate Authority (CA)
– Registration
– Key escrow
– Certificate Revocation List (CRL)
6.0 Organizational Security
6.1 Explain redundancy planning and its components.
– Hot site
– Cold site
– Warm site
– Backup generator
– Single point of failure
– RAID
– Spare parts
– Redundant servers
– Redundant ISP
– UPS
– Redundant connections
6.2 Implement disaster recovery procedures.
– Planning
– Disaster recovery exercises
– Backup techniques and practices – storage
– Schemes
– Restoration
6.3 Differentiate between and execute appropriate incident response procedures.
– Forensics
– Chain of custody
– First responders
– Damage and loss control
– Reporting – disclosure of
6.4 Identify and explain applicable legislation and organizational policies.
– Secure disposal of computers
– Acceptable use policies
– Password complexity
– Change management
– Classification of information
– Mandatory vacations
– Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
– Due care
– Due diligence
– Due process
– SLA
– Security-related HR policy
– User education and awareness training
6.5 Explain the importance of environmental controls.
– Fire suppression
– HVAC
– Shielding
6.6 Explain the concept of and how to reduce the risks of social engineering.
– Phishing
– Hoaxes
– Shoulder surfing
– Dumpster diving
– User education and awareness training


© Copyright 2010 Sorin Mustaca, All rights Reserved. Written For: Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity

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About the Author

Sorin Mustaca

Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since year 2000 in the IT Security industry and worked between 2003-2014 for Avira as Product Manager for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Today he is an independent IT Security Consultant focusing on Cybersecurity, secure software development and security for IoT and Automotive. He is also running his personal blog Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity and is the author of the free eBook Improve your security .

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