Penetration or pen testers conduct simulated cyberattacks on a company's computer systems and networks to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risks. This way, security vulnerabilities, and weaknesses can be identified before malicious hackers can exploit them.
The career of a pen tester is often considered successful. The position requires a solid understanding of information security, computer systems, and network protocols. These days when cyberattacks are on the rise, pen testers are highly in demand.
Let's learn more about penetration testers and what career opportunities are available.
What is the GIAC GPEN certification?
The GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) is a vendor-neutral and prominent penetration testing credential administered by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC). GIAC GPEN is an internationally recognized certification validating advanced-level penetration testing skills, among other penetration testing certifications.
This certification is designed for security personnel who target networks for vulnerabilities. The GIAC GPEN certification exams test applicants' knowledge of penetration testing methodologies, legal issues, and technical and non-technical aspects of pen testing.
Who should earn the GPEN?
With the GIAC GPEN, you can demonstrate your understanding of pen testing and reporting as a process. The GIAC GPEN certification may be beneficial to the following professionals:
- Security personnel responsible for identifying and remediating vulnerabilities in networks and systems
- Penetration testers
- Ethical hackers
- Red team members
- Blue team members
- Defenders, auditors, and forensic specialists who want to understand offensive tactics better
33 Different approaches to pen testing
When it comes to different types of pen testing approaches, pen testing can be classified into three main types:
- Black box testing: The tester has no prior knowledge of the system being tested.
- Gray box testing: The tester has limited knowledge of the system being tested.
- White box testing: The tester has complete knowledge of the system being tested.
Top skills you will learn with the GIAC GPEN certification
Penetration testing methodology
The GIAC GPEN certification program covers a comprehensive penetration testing methodology that includes reconnaissance, scanning, exploitation, and post-exploitation techniques. You will learn how to perform a systematic and methodical approach to testing the security of a network or system. The methodology provides a framework for conducting effective and efficient penetration testing that can help identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in a system.
Network scanning and enumeration
Network scanning and enumeration are critical skills for any penetration tester. The GIAC GPEN certification program provides a detailed understanding of different scanning techniques, such as port scanning, vulnerability scanning, and web application scanning. You will also learn how to use different tools and techniques for network enumeration, such as NetBIOS, SNMP, and DNS.
Exploitation is the process of taking advantage of vulnerabilities found in a system or network. The GIAC GPEN certification program provides hands-on training in exploiting vulnerabilities, including buffer overflows, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and command injection. You will learn to use different tools and techniques to exploit vulnerabilities, such as Metasploit, Nmap, and Burp Suite.
Post-exploitation is maintaining access to a system or network after successful exploitation. The GIAC GPEN certification program covers various post-exploitation techniques, such as privilege escalation, lateral movement, and data exfiltration. You will learn to use different tools and techniques for post-exploitation, such as PowerShell, Mimikatz, and BloodHound.
Report writing and communication skills
Penetration testing is about finding and exploiting vulnerabilities and effectively communicating the findings to stakeholders. The GIAC GPEN certification program emphasizes the importance of report writing and communication skills. You will learn to write a concise report with an executive summary, technical details, and remediation recommendations. You will also learn how to effectively communicate the findings to stakeholders, including technical and non-technical audiences.
What does a penetration tester do?
As a penetration tester, your job is to proactively test the security of a company's digital systems by simulating attacks. Using various hacking tools and techniques, you will attempt to identify vulnerabilities that real hackers could exploit. As you perform these tests, you will keep detailed records of your actions and create a report outlining your findings and the success of breaching security protocols.
Penetration tester salary
In the US, penetration testers earn an estimated $97,638 annually, according to Glassdoor. In this case, the average base salary is $90,673, and the additional pay is $6,965. The additional pay can include profit sharing, a commission, or a bonus. Several factors must be considered to determine your salaries, such as location, experience, education, and certifications. Many industries offer higher salaries than others, such as financial services and military contracting.
In today's ever-evolving IT environment, penetration testers are in high demand. They identify vulnerabilities and provide organizations with actionable measures based on their knowledge and expertise to secure their systems.
If you want to take the GIAC GPEN certification exam, you can choose CBT Proxy. We can help you pass the exam on your first attempt, saving you time and money. Click the chat button below if you would like to learn more about the exam and how you can get started.