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What do the ILOVEYOU and Melissa virus attacks have in common?
They are both denial-of-service (DOS) attacks.
They have nothing in common.
They are both masquerading attacks.
They are both social engineering attacks.
While a masquerading attack can be considered a type of social engineering, the Melissa and ILOVEYOU viruses are examples of masquerading attacks, even if it may cause some kind of denial of service due to the web server being flooded with messages. In this case, the receiver confidently opens a message coming from a trusted individual, only to find that the message was sent using the trusted party's identity. Source: HARRIS, Shon, All-In-One CISSP Certification Exam Guide, McGraw- Hill/Osborne, 2002, Chapter 10: Law, Investigation, and Ethics (page 650).
Crackers today are MOST often motivated by their desire to:
Help the community in securing their networks.
Seeing how far their skills will take them.
Getting recognition for their actions.
Gaining Money or Financial Gains.
A few years ago the best choice for this question would have been seeing how far their skills can take them. Today this has changed greatly, most crimes committed are financially motivated.
Profit is the most widespread motive behind all cybercrimes and, indeed, most crimes- everyone wants to make money. Hacking for money or for free services includes a smorgasbord of crimes such as embezzlement, corporate espionage and being a “hacker for hire”. Scams are easier to undertake but the likelihood of success is much lower.
Money-seekers come from any lifestyle but those with persuasive skills make better con artists in the same way as those who are exceptionally tech-savvy make better “hacks for hire”.
"White hats" are the security specialists (as opposed to Black Hats) interested in helping the community in securing their networks. They will test systems and network with the owner authorization.
A Black Hat is someone who uses his skills for offensive purpose. They do not seek authorization before they attempt to comprise the security mechanisms in place. "Grey Hats" are people who sometimes work as a White hat and other times they will work as a "Black Hat", they have not made up their mind yet as to which side they prefer to be.
The following are incorrect answers:
All the other choices could be possible reasons but the best one today is really for financial gains.
JAVA was developed so that the same program could be executed on multiple hardware and operating system platforms, it is not Architecture Specific.
The following answers are incorrect:
Object-oriented. Is not correct because JAVA is object-oriented. It should use the object- oriented programming methodology.
Distributed. Is incorrect because JAVA was developed to be able to be distrubuted, run on multiple computer systems over a network.
Multithreaded. Is incorrect because JAVA is multi-threaded that is calls to subroutines as is the case with object-oriented programming.
A virus is a program that can replicate itself on a system but not necessarily spread itself by network connections.
What is malware that can spread itself over open network connections?
Computer worms are also known as Network Mobile Code, or a virus-like bit of code that can replicate itself over a network, infecting adjacent computers.
A computer worm is a standalone malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Often, it uses a computer network to spread itself,
relying on security failures on the target computer to access it. Unlike a computer virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, even if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.
A notable example is the SQL Slammer computer worm that spread globally in ten minutes on January 25, 2003. I myself came to work that day as a software tester and
found all my SQL servers infected and actively trying to infect other computers on the test network.
A patch had been released a year prior by Microsoft and if systems were not patched and exposed to a 376 byte UDP packet from an infected host then system would become compromised.
Ordinarily, infected computers are not to be trusted and must be rebuilt from scratch but the vulnerability could be mitigated by replacing a single vulnerable dll called sqlsort.dll.
Replacing that with the patched version completely disabled the worm which really illustrates to us the importance of actively patching our systems against such network mobile code.
The following answers are incorrect:
Rootkit: Sorry, this isn't correct because a rootkit isn't ordinarily classified as network mobile code like a worm is. This isn't to say that a rootkit couldn't be included in a worm, just that a rootkit isn't usually classified like a worm. A rootkit is a stealthy type of software, typically malicious, designed to hide the existence of
certain processes or programs from normal methods of detection and enable continued privileged access to a computer. The term rootkit is a concatenation of "root" (the traditional name of the privileged account on Unix operating systems) and the word "kit" (which refers to the software components that implement the tool). The term "rootkit" has negative connotations through its association with malware.
Adware: Incorrect answer. Sorry but adware isn't usually classified as a worm. Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically renders advertisements in order to generate revenue for its author. The advertisements may be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The functions may be designed to analyze which Internet sites the user visits and to present advertising pertinent to the types of goods or services featured there. The term is sometimes used to refer to software that displays unwanted advertisements.
Logic Bomb: Logic bombs like adware or rootkits could be spread by worms if they exploit the right service and gain root or admin access on a computer.
The following reference(s) was used to create this question:
Which of the following technologies is a target of XSS or CSS (Cross-Site Scripting) attacks?
Intrusion Detection Systems
XSS or Cross-Site Scripting is a threat to web applications where malicious code is placed on a website that attacks the use using their existing authenticated
session status. Cross-Site Scripting attacks are a type of injection problem, in which malicious scripts are injected into the otherwise benign and trusted web sites. Cross- site scripting (XSS) attacks occur when an attacker uses a web application to send malicious code, generally in the form of a browser side script, to a different end user. Flaws that allow these attacks to succeed are quite widespread and occur anywhere a web application uses input from a user in the output it generates without validating or encoding it.
An attacker can use XSS to send a malicious script to an unsuspecting user. The end user’s browser has no way to know that the script should not be trusted, and will execute the script. Because it thinks the script came from a trusted source, the malicious script can access any cookies, session tokens, or other sensitive information
retained by your browser and used with that site. These scripts can even rewrite the content of the HTML page.
Configure your IPS - Intrusion Prevention System to detect and suppress this traffic. Input Validation on the web application to normalize inputted data.
Set web apps to bind session cookies to the IP Address of the legitimate user and only permit that IP Address to use that cookie.
See the XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Prevention Cheat Sheet See the Abridged XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet
See the DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet
See the OWASP Development Guide article on Phishing.
See the OWASP Development Guide article on Data Validation. The following answers are incorrect:
Intrusion Detection Systems: Sorry. IDS Systems aren't usually the target of XSS attacks but a properly-configured IDS/IPS can "detect and report on malicious string and suppress the TCP connection in an attempt to mitigate the threat.
Firewalls: Sorry. Firewalls aren't usually the target of XSS attacks.
DNS Servers: Same as above, DNS Servers aren't usually targeted in XSS attacks but they play a key role in the domain name resolution in the XSS attack process.
The following reference(s) was used to create this question:
Which of the following should be performed by an operator?
Adding and removal of users
Installing system software
Of the listed tasks, installing system software is the only task that should normally be performed by an operator in a properly segregated environment.
Source: MOSHER, Richard & ROTHKE, Ben, CISSP CBK Review presentation on domain 7.
At which of the basic phases of the System Development Life Cycle are security requirements formalized?
System Design Specifications
Development and Implementation
Functional Requirements Definition
During the Functional Requirements Definition the project management and systems development teams will conduct a comprehensive analysis of current and possible future functional requirements to ensure that the new system will meet end-user needs. The teams also review the documents from the project initiation phase and make any revisions or updates as needed. For smaller projects, this phase is often subsumed in the project initiation phase. At this point security requirements should be formalized.
The Development Life Cycle is a project management tool that can be used to plan, execute, and control a software development project usually called the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
The SDLC is a process that includes systems analysts, software engineers, programmers, and end users in the project design and development. Because there is no industry-wide SDLC, an organization can use any one, or a combination of SDLC methods.
The SDLC simply provides a framework for the phases of a software development project from defining the functional requirements to implementation. Regardless of the method used, the SDLC outlines the essential phases, which can be shown together or as separate elements. The model chosen should be based on the project. For example, some models work better with long-term, complex projects, while
others are more suited for short-term projects. The key element is that a formalized
SDLC is utilized.
The number of phases can range from three basic phases (concept, design, and implement) on up.
The basic phases of SDLC are:
Project initiation and planning Functional requirements definition System design specifications Development and implementation
Documentation and common program controls
Testing and evaluation control, (certification and accreditation) Transition to production (implementation)
The system life cycle (SLC) extends beyond the SDLC to include two additional phases: Operations and maintenance support (post-installation)
Revisions and system replacement System Design Specifications
This phase includes all activities related to designing the system and software. In this phase, the system architecture, system outputs, and system interfaces are designed. Data input, data flow, and output requirements are established and security features are designed, generally based on the overall security architecture for the company. Development and Implementation
During this phase, the source code is generated, test scenarios and test cases are developed, unit and integration testing is conducted, and the program and system are documented for maintenance and for turnover to acceptance testing and production. As well as general care for software quality, reliability, and consistency of operation,
particular care should be taken to ensure that the code is analyzed to eliminate common vulnerabilities that might lead to security exploits and other risks. Documentation and Common Program Controls
These are controls used when editing the data within the program, the types of logging the program should be doing, and how the program versions should be stored. A large number of such controls may be needed, see the reference below for a full list of controls.
In the acceptance phase, preferably an independent group develops test data and tests the code to ensure that it will function within the organization’s environment and that it meets all the functional and security requirements. It is essential that an independent group test the code during all applicable stages of development to prevent a separation of duties issue. The goal of security testing is to ensure that the application meets its security requirements and specifications. The security testing should uncover all design and implementation flaws that would allow a user to violate the software security policy and requirements. To ensure test validity, the application should be tested in an environment that simulates the production environment. This should include a security certification package and any user documentation. Certification and Accreditation (Security Authorization)
Certification is the process of evaluating the security stance of the software or system against a predetermined set of security standards or policies. Certification also examines how well the system performs its intended functional requirements. The certification or evaluation document should contain an analysis of the technical and nontechnical security features and countermeasures and the extent to which the software or system meets the security requirements for its mission and operational environment.
Transition to Production (Implementation)
During this phase, the new system is transitioned from the acceptance phase into the live production environment. Activities during this phase include obtaining security accreditation; training the new users according to the implementation and training schedules; implementing the system, including installation and data conversions; and, if necessary, conducting any parallel operations.
Revisions and System Replacement
As systems are in production mode, the hardware and software baselines should be subject to periodic evaluations and audits. In some instances, problems with the application may not be defects or flaws, but rather additional functions not currently developed in the application. Any changes to the application must follow the same SDLC and be recorded in a change management system. Revision reviews should include security planning and procedures to avoid future problems. Periodic application audits should be conducted and include documenting security incidents when problems occur. Documenting system failures is a valuable resource for justifying future system enhancements.
Below you have the phases used by NIST in it's 800-63 Revision 2 document As noted above, the phases will vary from one document to another one. For the
purpose of the exam use the list provided in the official ISC2 Study book which is presented in short form above. Refer to the book for a more detailed description of activities at each of the phases of the SDLC.
However, all references have very similar steps being used. As mentioned in the official book, it could be as simple as three phases in it's most basic version (concept,
design, and implement) or a lot more in more detailed versions of the SDLC. The key thing is to make use of an SDLC.
C:\Users\MCS\Desktop\1.jpg SDLC phases Reference(s) used for this question:
Schneiter, Andrew (2013-04-15). Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK, Third Edition: Software Development Security ((ISC)2 Press) (Kindle Locations 134-157). Auerbach Publications. Kindle Edition.
ISC2 SSCP Exam (Systems Security Certified Practioner) Detailed Information
SSCP® - Systems Security Certified Practitioner
Operational Excellence in Information Security
The SSCP certification is the ideal credential for those with proven technical skills and practical security knowledge in hands-on operational IT roles. It provides industry-leading confirmation of a practitioner’s ability to implement, monitor and administer IT infrastructure in accordance with information security policies and procedures that ensure data confidentiality, integrity and availability.
The SSCP indicates a practitioner’s technical ability to tackle the operational demands and responsibilities of security practitioners, including authentication, security testing, intrusion detection/prevention, incident response and recovery, attacks and countermeasures, cryptography, malicious code countermeasures, and more.
The SSCP is ideal for those working in or towards positions such as, but not limited to:
Network Security Engineer
Globally Recognized Proficiency in Information Security
Offered by (ISC)², the world leader in educating and certifying security professionals worldwide, SSCPs benefit from a global network of 110,000 certified members and valuable resources and support to help them to continually develop and advance in their careers.
The SSCP credential draws from a comprehensive, up-to-date global body of knowledge that ensures candidates have the right information security knowledge and skills to be successful in IT operational roles. It demonstrates competency in the following CBK Domains:
Security Operations and Administration
Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis
Incident Response and Recovery
Network and Communications Security
Systems and Application Security
SSCP Exam Information
Length of exam 3 hours
Number of questions 125
Question format Multiple choice questions
Passing grade 700 out of 1000 points
Exam languages English, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese
Testing center Pearson Vue Testing Center
Official (ISC)² Guide to the SSCP CBK Textbook
Official (ISC)² SSCP Study Guide
Official Study App
Official (ISC)² Training
SSCP®- Why Certify
Without the Right People, No Organization is Secure
Attacks on organizations’ information assets continue to escalate while attackers also refine and improve their tactics. Employers know that the best way to combat these assaults starts with qualified information security staff armed with appropriate practices and controls. Easier said than done.
That’s why organizations and professionals, across the globe, turn to (ISC)²®, the only not-for-profit body charged with maintaining, administering and certifying information security professionals via the compendium of industry best practices known as the (ISC)² CBK® -- the premier resource for information security professionals worldwide.
How SSCP Certification Helps the Professional
Demonstrates proven technical ability gained through hands-on operational experience or technical roles
Confirms breadth and depth of hands-on technical knowledge expected by employers, including authentication, security testing, intrusion detection/prevention, incident response and recovery, attacks and countermeasures, cryptography, malicious code countermeasures, and more
Bolsters standing career and offers a differentiator, with enhanced credibility and marketability for desirable opportunities
Indicates commitment to the field and ongoing relevancy through continuing professional education and understanding of the most current best practices
As a member of (ISC)², provides access to valuable career resources, such as networking and ideas exchange with peers
How SSCP Certification Helps the Enterprise
Strengthens security posture with qualified practitioners who have proven hands-on technical ability to competently handle day-to-day responsibilities to secure the organization’s data
Increases organizational understanding and implementation of best practices, as indicated by the (ISC)² CBK, the premier resource for information security professionals worldwide
Improves information security coherence across the organization with practitioners that speak the same language across disciplines and have cross-department perspective
Increases organizational integrity in the eyes of clients and other stakeholders
Enables access to a network of global industry and subject matter/domain experts
Satisfies certification mandate requirements for service providers and subcontractors
Ensures practitioners stay current on emerging and changing technologies, and security issues related to these technologies through the continuing professional education requirements
How to Get Your SSCP® Certification
Here are the steps to get your SSCP certification from (ISC)²:
1. Obtain the Required Experience
Valid experience includes information systems security-related work performed, or work that requires information security knowledge and involves direct application of that knowledge. For the SSCP certification, a candidate is required to have a minimum of 1 year of cumulative paid full-time work experience in one or more of the 7 domains of the SSCP CBK. If you do not have the required experience, you may still sit for the exam and become an Associate of (ISC)² until you have gained the required experience.
2. Schedule the Exam
Create an account at Pearson Vue and schedule your exam. The SSCP exam is available in English, Japanese, and Portuguese.
Complete the Examination Agreement, attesting to the truth of your assertions regarding professional experience, and legally committing to the adherence of the (ISC)² Code of Ethics.
Review the Candidate Background Questions.
Submit the examination fee.
3. Pass the Exam
Pass the SSCP examination with a scaled score of 700 points or greater. Read the Exam Scoring FAQs .
4. Complete the Endorsement Process
Once you are notified that you have successfully passed the examination, you will be required to have your application endorsed before the credential can be awarded. An endorsement form for this purpose must be completed and signed by an (ISC)² certified professional who is an active member, and who is able to attest to your professional experience. With the Endorsement Time limit, you are required to become certified within 9 months of the date of your exam OR become an Associate of (ISC)². If you do not become certified or an Associate of (ISC)² within 9 months of the date of your exam you will be required to retake the exam in order to become certified. [(ISC)² can act as an endorser for you if you cannot find a certified individual to act as one.] Please refer to the Endorsement Assistance Guidelines for additional information about the endorsement requirements.
5. Maintain the Certification
Recertification is required every 3 years by meeting all renewal requirements, which include:
Earn and submit a minimum of 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits each year of the 3-year certification cycle and total of 60 CPE credits by the end of the 3-year certification cycle
Pay the annual maintenance fee (AMF) of US$65 each year of the 3-year certification for a total cycle for a total of US$195
Abide by the (ISC)² Code of Ethics
For more details concerning the SSCP annual maintenance and renewal requirements, please contact (ISC)² Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passing candidates will be randomly selected and audited by (ISC)² Member Services prior to issuance of any certificate. Multiple certifications may result in a candidate being audited more than once.
SSCP CBK Domains
The SSCP examination domains and weights are:
1. Access Control
2. Security Operations and Administration
3. Risk Identification, Monitoring and Analysis
4. Incidence Response, and Recovery
6. Network and Communication Security
7. Systems and Applications Security
Access Controls - Underlying principles of access control systems and how to implement, manage and secure those systems, including internetwork trust architectures, federated identity management, identity management lifecycle, and various access control frameworks.
Implement Authentication Mechanisms
Operate Internetwork Trust Architectures
Participate in the Identity-Management Lifecycle
Implement Access Controls
Security Operations and Administration - Identification of information assets and documentation of policies, standards, procedures and guidelines that ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability.
Understand and Comply with Code of Ethics
Understand Security Concepts
Document and Operate Security Controls
Participate in Asset Management
Implement and Assess Compliance with Controls
Participate in Change Management
Participate in Security Awareness and Training
Participate in Physical Security Operations
Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis - Identification, evaluation and prioritization of potential threats and the systematic application of resources to monitor, manage and mitigate those threats. Includes risk management concepts, assessment activities, and monitoring terminology, techniques and systems.
Understand the Risk Management Process
Perform Security Assessment Activities
Operate and Maintain Monitoring Systems
Analyze Monitoring Results
Incident Response and Recovery - Properly implement and exercise incident handling processes and procedures that provide rapid and consistent approach to addressing security incidents, supporting forensic investigations, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP).
Participate in Incident Handling
Understand and Support Forensic Investigations
Understand and Support Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)
Cryptography - Understand common cryptographic concepts, methodologies, and technologies, including legal and regulatory requirements, key management concepts, public key infrastructure, and the implementation and use of secure protocols.
Understand and Apply Fundamental Concepts of Cryptography
Understand Requirements for Cryptography
Understand and Support Secure Protocols
Operate and Implement Cryptographic Systems
Networks and Communications Security - Encompasses network architecture, transmission methods, transport formats, control devices, and security measures used to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information transmitted over communication networks.
Understand Security Issues Related to Networks
Protect Telecommunications Technologies
Control Network Access
Manage LAN-based Security
Operate and Configure Network-based Security Devices
Implement and Operate Wireless Technologies
Systems and Application Security - Common attack vectors and associated countermeasures, including impact of virtualization, mobile devices, cloud computing, and Big Data vulnerabilities, configuration and security.
Identify and Analyze Malicious Code and Activity
Implement and Operate Endpoint Device Security
Operate and Configure Cloud Security
Secure Big Data Systems
Operate and Secure Virtual Environments
Article by ArticleForge
Maintaining the Relevancy of (ISC)² Certifications: CISSP and ">SSCP Credential Enhancements
Over our 26-year history, (ISC)² has earned a reputation for providing gold standard information security credentials. Maintaining the relevancy of those credentials amidst the changes in technology and the evolving threat landscape occurring in this industry is a core strategy upon which this organization was built.
As a result of a rigorous, methodical process that (ISC)² follows to routinely update its credential exams, I’m pleased to announce that enhancements will be made to both the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (">SSCP) credentials, beginning April 15, 2015. We conduct this process on a regular basis to ensure that the examinations and subsequent training and continuing professional education requirements encompass the topic areas relevant to the roles and responsibilities of today’s practicing information security professionals.
Both credentials reflect knowledge of information security best practices, but from different facets. ">SSCPs are typically more involved in hands-on technical, day-to-day operational security tasks. Core competencies for ">SSCPs include implementing, monitoring and administering IT infrastructure in accordance with information security policies, procedures and requirements that ensure data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. CISSPs, while also technically competent, typically design, engineer, implement and manage the overarching enterprise security program.
">SSCPs and CISSPs speak the same information security language with unique perspectives that complement each other across various IT departments and business lines.
The content of the official (ISC)² ">SSCP CBK has been refreshed to reflect the most pertinent issues that security practitioners currently face, along with the best practices for mitigating those issues. The result is an exam that most accurately reflects the technical and practical security knowledge that is required for the daily job functions of today’s frontline information security practitioner.
The domain names have been updated as follows to describe the topics accurately:
">SSCP Domains, Effective April 15, 2015
Security Operations and Administration
Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis
ident Response and Recovery
Networks and Communications Security
Systems and Application Security
Refreshed technical content has been added to the official (ISC)² CISSP CBK to reflect the most current topics in the information security industry today. Some topics have been expanded (e.g., asset security, security assessment and testing), while other topics have been realigned under different domains. The result is an exam that most accurately reflects the technical and managerial competence required from an experienced information security professional to effectively design, engineer, implement and manage an organization’s information security program within an ever-changing security landscape.
The domain names have been updated as follows:
CISSP Domains, Effective April 15, 2015
Security and Risk Management (Security, Risk, Compliance, Law, Regulations, Business Continuity)
Asset Security (Protecting Security of Assets)
Security Engineering (Engineering and Management of Security)
Communications and Network Security (Designing and Protecting Network Security)
Identity and Access Management (Controlling Access and Managing Identity)
Security Assessment and Testing (Designing, Performing, and Analyzing Security Testing)
Software Development Security (Understanding, Applying, and Enforcing Software Security)
Some candidates may be wondering how these updates affect training materials for the CISSP and ">SSCP credentials. As part of the organization’s comprehensive education strategy and certifying body best practices, (ISC)² training materials do not teach directly to its credential examinations. Rather, (ISC)² Education is focused on teaching the core competencies relevant to the roles and responsibilities of today’s practicing information security professional. It is designed to refresh and enhance the knowledge of experienced industry professionals.
The content within (ISC)² training materials will be revised to align with the updated CISSP and ">SSCP domains, according to the schedule provided in the FAQs. If candidates have recently participated in or plan to soon participate in an (ISC)² training course for the CISSP or ">SSCP, we encourage them to go ahead and schedule their examination at a Pearson VUE testing center for a date prior to April 15, 2015. If candidates are currently in a training course or are unable to sit for the CISSP or ">SSCP credential examination prior to April 15, 2015, I believe that an (ISC)² training course is still a beneficial step in their study plan.
I am confident that these updates positively reflect on our commitment to ensure that our certifications remain relevant to the industry today and continue to earn the gold standard reputation.
For more information, please refer to the FAQs on our website. And as always, our global Member Services Department is available to answer any additional questions at membersupportisc2 or directly via phone in accordance with your respective region at
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uCertify ">SSCP ISC2 ">SSCP practice test
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ST Electronics, ISC offer ">SSCP training in Singapore
ST Electronics (Info-Security) and ISC have signed a partnership agreement to offer the official Systems Security Certified Practitioner (">SSCP) Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) training with hands-on practical in Singapore. DigiSAFE Cyber Security Centre (DCSC), the training arm of ST Electronics (Info-Security), will provide an integrated ">SSCP CBK training curriculum with hands-on practical tools by using the Centre's cyber range exercise system to prepare security professionals for the ">SSCP certification and a career in information security.
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Palm Harbor, Fla., USA, Jan. 9, 2006 – The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium [(ISC)2®], the non-profit international leader in educating and certifying information security professionals worldwide, today announced that the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) United States representative, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has accredited (ISC)2’s ">SSCP® (Systems Security Certified Practitioner) credential under ISOIEC 17024 standard in the area of information security.ISOIEC 17024 establishes a global benchmark for the certification of personnel. ANSI accredits standards developers, certification bodies and technical advisory groups to both the ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).This accreditation meets the new requirements by the U.S. DoD (Department of Defense) Directive 8570.1, which requires its information assurance (IA) workers to obtain a commercial certification that has been accredited by ANSI or equivalent authorized body under the global ISOIEC 17024 standard. This DoD-wide policy was made official in August 2004 and approved for implementation in December 2005.
“(ISC)2 was the first organization within the information technology sector to earn accreditation for personnel certification for the CISSP® (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) credential, and we are proud to announce that (ISC)2 is continuing to set standards for competency in the information security field, meeting the changing demands of industry and government through the accreditation of our ">SSCP credential,” said John Colley, CISSP, chairman of the board of directors of (ISC)2.
“We are committed to the industry and to supporting the DoD’s efforts to certify those information assurance personnel who are critical to safeguarding the agency’s networks and ensuring that mission-critical information gets to the right people at the right time,” said Rolf Moulton, CISSP-ISSMP, president and CEO (interim) of (ISC)?.
“(ISC)2 is commended for completing this rigorous process a second time and receiving ANSI accreditation,” said Dr. Roy Swift, program director for certification accreditation for ANSI. “ISOIEC 17024 was developed in response to businesses and governments seeking a valid benchmark for agencies who certify people. Employers in the public and private sectors can be confident that information security professionals holding the (ISC)2 ">SSCP credential possess the necessary skills to implement information security policies, processes and procedures anywhere in the world.”
The ">SSCP is awarded by (ISC)2 to information security professionals who successfully pass a comprehensive examination based on the (ISC)2 ">SSCP CBK®, a compendium of global information security best practices, possess at least one year cumulative work experience in the field, subscribe to the (ISC)2 Code of Ethics, and are endorsed by an existing CISSP or equivalent professional. Continuing Professional Education credits are required to maintain certification.
The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, . [(ISC)2®] is the internationally recognized Gold Standard for educating and certifying information security professionals. Founded in 1989, (ISC)? has certified over 40,000 information security professionals in more than 100 countries. Based in Palm Harbor, Florida, USA, with offices in Vienna, Virginia, USA, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, (ISC)2 issues the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP?) and related concentrations, Certification and Accreditation Professional (CAPCM), and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (">SSCP?) credentials to those meeting necessary competency requirements. The CISSP and ">SSCP are among the first information technology credentials to meet the stringent requirements of ANSI under ISOIEC Standard 17024, a global benchmark for assessing and certifying personnel. (ISC)? also offers a portfolio of educational related products and services based upon (ISC)2’s CBK®, a compendium of industry best practices for information security professionals, and is responsible for the annual (ISC)? Global Information Security Workforce Study. More information about (ISC)2 is available at .isc2.
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ISC-Squared Security Certifications
The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, ., known as (ISC)2, offers two security certifications. The first is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) program, a senior-level credential aimed at full-time security professionals and consultants. The second is the Systems Security Certified Professional (">SSCP), a junior-level credential aimed at those whose system or network administration duties also include routine security matters. CISSPs analyze, design, implement, and verify security policies and procedures; ">SSCPs carry them out and perform related maintenance tasks. The CISSP program has been around since 1992 and is widely recognized and well respected; the ">SSCP program has been around since 1998 and is gaining recognition as a useful entry-level security certification.
Editor's Note: This article was updated with new information on August 8, 2003.
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The full name for the organization responsible for two popular security certifications—the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (">SSCP)—is the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, . (IISSCC). Everybody takes the easy way out and calls this group (ISC)2 (pronounced "ISC-squared")—even the organization itself, although the preferred representation takes the form (ISC)2.
The (ISC)2 includes representatives from numerous security companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and professional associations. Working groups composed of members created and maintain the requirements for two vendor-neutral security certifications, as follows:
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). The (ISC)2's senior-level security certification, the CISSP, identifies individuals who can effectively design and develop information security policies, standards, and related practices and procedures. This certification also recognizes those who can additionally manage and maintain security policies and standards as well as operational security matters across an entire organization. (ISC)2 offers three CISSP concentrations: Information System Security Architecture Professional (ISSAP), Information System Security Management Professional(ISSMP), and Information System Security Engineering Professional(ISSEP). Because the CISSP certification has been around since 1992, it's the oldest such certification that we know about. It also boasts a certified population of about 15,000.
Systems Security Certified Practitioner (">SSCP). The other (ISC)2 security certification is more entry-level. It identifies network and systems administrators who can implement and manage the policies, standards, practices, and procedures that CISSPs create and manage, on whatever hardware and software is involved. Thus, the ">SSCP complements the CISSP as an operations certification.
(ISC)2 offers a program called the Associate of (ISC)2, which recognizes candidates who have passed the ">SSCP or CISSP exam and are in the process of gaining the required experience to become ">SSCP or CISSP certified. The Associate of (ISC)2 is not a certification but rather a stepping stone on the way to the ">SSCP or CISSP. According to the (ISC)2 Web site, Associate candidates benefit from obtaining "career-related support" through (ISC)2 early on in their professions.
The best source of information for these (ISC)2 certifications is in their respective study guides. To download study guides, visit
About the CISSP Program
Becoming a CISSP requires that you pass one exam, but it's a challenge: This exam consists of 250 multiple-choice questions pulled from 10 different security-related knowledge domains. That's why candidates are given up to six hours to complete this exam. In fact, the CISSP is a senior-level certification intended to identify individuals who are fully qualified to work as security professionals full-time. In practice, working full-time in security means filling one of two kinds of jobs:
A full-time job as a security professional inside a corporation or organization big enough need its own in-house security staff full-time.
A full- or part-time job as a security consultant, either freelance or within a consulting organization, in which a full-time security professional handles as many accounts as are necessary to generate the right level of billing. Thus, such a job could fall in any kind of organization, from a small, focused security professional practice to a large, multinational consulting firm that offers security consulting among its other professional services.
For serious, advanced security professionals, the knowledge domains associated with the CISSP cover a lot of ground, but the exam sticks closely to subjects and technologies intimately related to security matters. The 10 knowledge domains relevant to the CISSP include the following:
Access Control Systems and Methodology. This involves planning, design, use, maintenance, and auditing of user and group accounts; access controls; rights and permissions; and various authentication mechanisms.
Application and Systems Development. This area involves understanding how security relates to application development and data management, including technologies and threats such as worms, viruses, Trojan horses, active content, and more. It also encompasses working with databases and data warehouses, managing and controlling data stores, working with systems development and security control systems and architectures, managing system integrity levels, recognizing and dealing with malicious code, and understanding common system and network attacks.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning. This includes mastering common practices, data requirements, and arrangements necessary to maintain business continuity in the face of disruptions. It also involves planning, preparation, testing, and maintenance of specific actions to prevent critical business processes and activities from being adversely affected by failures and interruptions.
Operations Security. In this area, topics include planning, design, implementation, and management of system and network security, including basics of administrative management. Also included are important concepts in security operations such as antivirus management, backups, and need-to-know regimes; kinds and methods for applying operational security controls; access control requirements; auditing needs, methods, and reports; monitoring types, tools, and techniques; and intrusion detection and penetration testing needs, methods, and tools.
Cryptography. Candidates must understand basic cryptography and how it applies to confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and nonrepudiation. In addition, key areas include cryptographic concepts, methods, and practices, including digital signatures; encryptiondecryption and related algorithms; key distribution, escrow, and recovery; error detectioncorrection; hashes, digests, and ciphers; public and private key algorithms; public key infrastructure (PKI); architectures for implementing cryptography; and well-known cryptographic attacks and countermeasures.
Law, Investigation, and Ethics. This requires a basic understanding of laws and regulations on licensing, intellectual property, importsexports, liability, and data flows across borders relevant to system or network security or business operations. This includes knowledge of computer crime laws and regulations, investigative procedures, evidence gathering, incident handling, and ethical and conduct issues.
Physical Security. This involves understanding facilities requirements, controls, and environmental and safety issues as well as understanding physical security threats and elements of physical security such as threat prevention, detection, and suppression; fire, water, and toxic material threats; and alarms and responses.
Security Architecture and Models. This includes basic principles of computer and network architecture; common security model architectures and evaluation criteria; and common security flaws and issues linked to specific architectures and designs.
Security Management Practices. Basic concepts and principles include privacy, confidentiality, availability, authorization, identification and authentication, and accountability. Also included are change control and management, data classification schemes (government and private), employment policies and practices, and ways to work with procedural security for formulating policies, guidelines, and procedures.
Telecommunications, Network, and Internet Security. This area includes the ISOOSI Network Reference Model; communications and network security through topology, protocols, services, APIs, and remote access; Internetintranetextranet equipment and issues such as firewalls, routers, switches, proxies, and gateways; TCPIP and related protocols and services; and connection services. Also included is a broad range of communications security techniques such as tunneling, VPNs, NAT, and error detection and correction methods; security practices for email, fax, and voice services; and common network attacks and associated countermeasures.
CISSP candidates must agree to abide by the CISSP code of ethics, submit an Endorsement Form signed by a CISSP, and, if selected, pass a background and experience audit. Candidates must have four or more years of experience in at least one of the 10 knowledge domains (or three years’ direct experience along with a college degree or the equivalent life experience).
By virtue of its length and its broad coverage, the CISSP exam is regarded as something of an ordeal. That's why we urge you to obtain and review the CISSP Study Guide mentioned earlier in this article, especially the reference materials cited therein. You might be interested to learn that the (ISC)2 calls the objectives based on its 10 CISSP information domains the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). That's why you might want to take an authorized CBK Review Seminar to help prepare for this exam.
CISSPs can choose a concentration much like a college student chooses a "major" in a college degree program. Currently, (ISC)2 offers three concentrations: ISSAP (Architecture), ISSMP (Management), and ISSEP (Engineering). The ISSAP and ISSMP exams consist of 125 items; the ISSEP exam consists of 150 items. Candidates have up to 3 hours to complete each concentration exam.
A CISSP certification lasts 3 years; to recertify, you must either take 120 hours of continuing education during the interim or retake the exam; see isc2cgi-bincontent.cgi?page=43 or isc2cgi-bincontent.cgi?category=24 for more information.
About the ">SSCP Program
Obtaining an ">SSCP also means passing one exam. The number of questions is half that for the CISSP: 125 questions, with up to 3 hours to complete it. The ">SSCP is an entry-level security certification that identifies individuals who can integrate day-to-day security activities into full-time jobs as system or network administrators. Although the descriptions for all seven of the knowledge domains for the ">SSCP match those for the CISSP, an ">SSCP candidate's knowledge need not be as deep or intimate as a CISSP candidate's.
The seven information domains for the ">SSCP are as follows:
Access Control. This involves using, applying, monitoring, and maintaining access controls to determine what users can do, which resources they may use, and the operations that they can perform on a system. This includes familiarity with access controls such as biometrics, hardware tokenssmart cards, and passwords, with an understanding of the levels of confidentiality, integrity, and availability that each type allows.
Administration. This means identifying information assets and documenting security policies, standards, practices, and procedures necessary to protect them. This includes privacy issues; data integrity; security audits; organizational roles and responsibilities; security policies, practices, procedures, and guidelines; and security education, awareness, and ongoing security maintenance.
Audit and Monitoring. luded here are the topics of monitoring system activities and events, plus auditing use and assignment of access controls and related system objects or resources. This area also covers data collection, including logging, sampling, and reporting; audit review and compliance checking; and legal issues related to monitoring and auditing.
Cryptography. Cryptography provides mechanisms to alter data to maintain its integrity, confidentiality, and authenticity. Topics included are basic cryptography terms and concepts; definitions, applications, and uses for public and private key technologies; and the use of digital signatures.
Data Communications. This area covers network structures, transmission methods, transport formats, and protocol- and service-level measures used to maintain data integrity, availability, authentication, and confidentiality. This includes issues related to communications and network security for local and wide area networks; remote access; roles that networking devices—such as routers, switches, firewalls, proxies, and so on—play on the Internet, extranets, and intranets; security aspects of TCPIP protocols and services; and techniques for detecting and preventing network attacks.
Malicious CodeMalware. Malicious code means any software-based security threat that can compromise access to, operation of, or contents of systems or networks, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses, active content, and other threats. Candidates should understand mobile and malicious code, be able to identify related threats, explain how such code enter networks, and describe and apply appropriate protection, repairs, and recovery methods.
Risk, Response, and Recovery. Risk management means identifying, measuring, and controlling losses associated with business interruptions and disruptions, or system and network compromises or failures. This includes security reviews, risk analyses, evaluation and choice of safeguards, cost benefit analyses, management decisions, plus implementing safeguards and efficacy reviews.
The ">SSCP exam is relatively easy, when compared to the CISSP exam, but it's no pushover. That why we urge you to obtain and review the online ">SSCP Study Guide—especially the reference materials—cited earlier in this article. Although the course covers all 10 CBK domains (and the ">SSCP covers only 7 of those 10), you might want to investigate an authorized CBK Review Seminar to help you prepare for this exam.
Like the CISSP, the ">SSCP certification lasts for three years. You can recertify by taking 60 hours of continuing education during the interim or by retaking the CISSP exam; see