GPEN Questions

OmniManOmniMan Posts: 69Member ■■□□□□□□□□
I am Comptia Security + and ISACA Cybersecurity fundamentalist. I am being sent to a 6 day GPEN course early next year. Possibly in New Orleans. Some questions I have.

How difficult is this exam? I've heard it's open book.
How valuable is this certification or should I go after something else instead?
I understand that there are 5 books we get when we attend the class but is there any self stud material or are there any books I can begin to study now? I can't find much out there.

Comments

  • KalabasterKalabaster Posts: 86Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    If it is being covered, it is absolutely worth the chance to do it. Most of the SANS tests themselves can be challenging, but are not particularly difficult (*cough* OSCP *cough*). It will be a significant step up in difficulty from the Security+. That said, the biggest value from this trip will be the training itself. SANS training is known to be at a significantly higher level than other venues, between the quality of their instructors and the presentation of their materials. On top of that, there is the networking aspect. This is what let's them charge north of 6k for their training, even 8k in some cases.

    I say it's a great opportunity and you should definitely check it out. Also, yes the certifications themselves carry very good weight as well.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, Sec+, Project+, Linux+/LPIC-1/SUSE CLA, C|EH, eWPT, GMON, GWAPT, GCIH, eCPPT, GPEN, GXPN, OSCP, CISSP.
    WGU, BS-IT, Security: C178, C255, C100, C132, C164, C173, C172, C480, C455, ORA1, C182, C168, C394, C393, C451, C698, C697, C176, C456, C483, C170, C175, C169, C299, C246, C247, C376, C179, C278, C459, C463, C435, C436.
    Legend: Completed, In-Progress, Next
  • OmniManOmniMan Posts: 69Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Kalabaster wrote: »
    If it is being covered, it is absolutely worth the chance to do it. Most of the SANS tests themselves can be challenging, but are not particularly difficult (*cough* OSCP *cough*). It will be a significant step up in difficulty from the Security+. That said, the biggest value from this trip will be the training itself. SANS training is known to be at a significantly higher level than other venues, between the quality of their instructors and the presentation of their materials. On top of that, there is the networking aspect. This is what let's them charge north of 6k for their training, even 8k in some cases.

    I say it's a great opportunity and you should definitely check it out. Also, yes the certifications themselves carry very good weight as well.

    Thank you for the information. Are there any self study materials that I can start on now that you recommend?
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,645Mod Mod
    Pretty well covered by Kalabaster. SANS training is without a doubt some of the best out there. Given how expensive the classes are, if someone offers to pay for it my recommendation always is to take the chance and never look back. For prep I recommend you go look at the class outline and read primers on whatever topics seem new to you.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb They are watching you Posts: 3,133Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    OmniMan wrote: »
    Are there any self study materials that I can start on now that you recommend?

    No specific books, just like cyberguy said though, look at outline and go over those topics. They do a good job of going over the topics they are teaching from my experience so don't need to be an expert on the material going in.
  • quogue66quogue66 Posts: 150Member
    I'm studying for the GPEN now. I took the class ondemand and have been studying for about a month now. I plan on taking the exam at the end of the month. The material does not seem overly difficult but I haven't taken a practice exam yet. I think the GIAC certs are fairly easy if you dedicate a lot of time to studying the material, doing the labs and making a good index. As far as the value in the certification I will say that going through this course and taking the exam will not turn you into a pen tester over night. It is more of a doorway into pen testing and an introduction to some of the tools used.
  • KalabasterKalabaster Posts: 86Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Speaking of a doorway, see if you can follow this class up with an attempt at the Offensive Security's OSCP. This will build on the knowledge you gained in the GPEN, force you to apply it practically, and really sets you up as a capable individual who can immediately add value to any organization as a dedicated pen tester if you so desire. These don't magically convert you into an effective pen tester, but by adding the very practical approach of the OSCP to the strong foundation the GPEN will build for you it'd be hard to not be a decently good pen tester.

    Also, the OSCP is cheap with a good ROI if you do decide to pursue pen testing. It's also hard as nails, and many people drop before they achieve it, so leveraging the GPEN's training as momentum for the OSCP could really set you up.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, Sec+, Project+, Linux+/LPIC-1/SUSE CLA, C|EH, eWPT, GMON, GWAPT, GCIH, eCPPT, GPEN, GXPN, OSCP, CISSP.
    WGU, BS-IT, Security: C178, C255, C100, C132, C164, C173, C172, C480, C455, ORA1, C182, C168, C394, C393, C451, C698, C697, C176, C456, C483, C170, C175, C169, C299, C246, C247, C376, C179, C278, C459, C463, C435, C436.
    Legend: Completed, In-Progress, Next
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Posts: 976Member
    OmniMan wrote: »
    I am Comptia Security + and ISACA Cybersecurity fundamentalist. I am being sent to a 6 day GPEN course early next year. Possibly in New Orleans. Some questions I have.

    How difficult is this exam? I've heard it's open book.
    How valuable is this certification or should I go after something else instead?
    I understand that there are 5 books we get when we attend the class but is there any self stud material or are there any books I can begin to study now? I can't find much out there.

    What's your background, and what's the purpose of taking the course? To be any good at hacking, you need to have a very good, strong foundation with Linux, Windows, command-line kung fu (including scripting), etc.

    The test itself is easy. Most SANS/GIAC tests are easy. The test are usually straight out of the books, so if you have the official courseware and make a half decent index, it's pretty hard to not pass a GIAC test. That said, the value of SANS isn't for a GIAC certification. GIAC certifications are usually worthless are most employers have no idea what they are, or, if they know what they are, they ask for GSEC which isn't exactly a security cert a knowledgeable infosec manager would put on a new hire posting. SANS courses are for the knowledge gained, and you'll need to practice the material in the SEC560/GPEN over and over again through many months and many different environments to be able to say you're effectively using the knowledge you gained. Are you going to use it to attack your employer's environment and find weaknesses? It's a good course for that, just make sure they're paying for someone on the other end to fix those holes you are poking your finger in.
  • OmniManOmniMan Posts: 69Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    It just seems like an interesting very to get. I work in information security. I'm an analyst that helps create security requirements for work efforts. I'm basically on the team that knows a little bit about a whole lot of stuff and then engages specialists depending on the need.

    Is there any other cert you would recommend that I obtain first? I'm security + and ISACA Cyber Security.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,645Mod Mod
    @OmniMan, check your sig: "ISACA Cyber Security Funamentalist"

    My mind processed that as "fun-a-mentalist"
  • yomistayomista Posts: 23Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Seeing mostly good advice here. I'm takng GCED SEC501 end month training by Bryce Galbraith and I'm feeling like I made the right choice :D
  • gwood113gwood113 Posts: 65Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Lots of good advice here. Just to add-on:
    To be any good at hacking, you need to have a very good, strong foundation with Linux, Windows, command-line kung fu (including scripting), etc.

    This cannot be over stated; your Linux-Fu especially. You don't need to be a 7th degree blackbelt in awk and sed, but you should at least strive to get yourself as comfortable in bash as you can before the course. There are some great books out there that can help.

    You'll use a SANS pen test distro called sling-shot in the course (it's like a blunted kali, but still capable). Also get comfortable with msfconsole and meterpreter; you'll use them a lot. You do some work on the Windows side, but most of the windows-based tools are guis or otherwise relatively intuitive.
    The test itself is easy. Most SANS/GIAC tests are easy. The test are usually straight out of the books, so if you have the official courseware and make a half decent index, it's pretty hard to not pass a GIAC test.

    This is literal, the only testable material on a GIAC test is what's in the SANS books.
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