Professionals who work in information security, computer forensics, or incident response are ideal candidates to earn the GIAC GCFA certification. In order to earn this certification, you need to know the basic skills required to collect and analyze data from both Windows and Linux-based computers.
With the GIAC GCFA certification, you can demonstrate your knowledge and skills in conducting formal incident investigations and handling advanced incident scenarios, including intrusions from inside and outside the data environment, advanced persistent threats, anti-forensic techniques used by attackers, and complex digital forensic investigations.
GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA) certification
The GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA), offered by GIAC, is a vendor-neutral certification that validates an individual's knowledge and skills in digital forensics and incident response. It demonstrates the ability to conduct forensic investigations, analyze digital evidence, and develop and implement effective incident response strategies.
To earn the GIAC GCFA certification, candidates must pass a proctored exam covering digital forensics and incident response. This includes evidence acquisition and analysis, file system forensics, memory forensics, and network forensics.
The GIAC GCFA certification exam consists of 82 multiple-choice questions. The exam duration is three hours long. To earn the GCFA certification, you must score at least 71% or higher. The GCFA certification is ideal for incident response team members, threat hunters, SOC analysts, experienced digital forensic analysts, information security professionals, penetration testers, and exploit developers.
Here are the areas covered in the GCFA certification exam:
- Advanced Incident Response and Digital Forensics
- Memory Forensics, Timeline Analysis, and Anti-Forensics Detection
Who can take the GIAC GCFA certification exam?
- Incident response team members
- Threat hunters
- SOC analysts
- Experienced digital forensic analysts
- Information security professionals
- Federal agents and law enforcement professionals
- Red team members, penetration testers, and exploit developers
- GCFE and GCIH certification holders
GCFA certification exam objectives and outcome statements
Analyzing volatile malicious event artifacts
Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of abnormal activity within Windows memory structure and be able to identify malware techniques such as code injection and rootkits, as well as malicious processes and suspicious drivers.
Analyzing volatile Windows event artifacts
Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of how Windows memory works and be able to identify artifacts such as network connections, memory resident command line artifacts, handles, and threads.
Enterprise environment incident response
Candidates will assess and analyze systems rapidly in an enterprise environment scaling tools to meet the demands of large investigations and demonstrating an understanding of the steps of the incident response process, the attack progression, and adversary fundamentals.
File system timeline artifact analysis
Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of how the system and user activity alters the Windows filesystem time structure.
Identification of malicious system and user activity
Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of techniques for identifying and documenting indicators of compromise, detecting malware and attacker tools, tagging activity to events and accounts, and identifying and compensating for anti-forensic actions based on memory and disk artifacts.
Identification of normal system and user activity
Candidates will demonstrate expertise in identifying, documenting, and differentiating normal from abnormal system and user activity.
Introduction to file system timeline forensics
Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of the methodology required to collect, process, and analyze timeline data gathered from Windows computers.
Introduction to memory forensics
Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of how and when volatile data should be collected from a system and how to document and preserve volatile evidence's integrity.
NTFS artifact analysis
Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of core filesystem structures and their ability to identify, recover, and analyze evidence at any file system layer, such as the data storage layer, metadata layer, and filename layer.
Windows artifact analysis
Candidate will demonstrate knowledge of Windows artifacts, including system backups and restores, and evidence of application execution.
What you will learn
Over the past few years, threat-hunting and incident response tactics and procedures have developed rapidly. The use of antiquated incident response and threat-hunting techniques no longer makes sense because they fail to identify compromised systems, contain breaches ineffectively, and ultimately fail to quickly resolve an incident or stop ransomware from spreading. In order to generate accurate threat intelligence, incident response and threat-hunting teams need to identify and observe malware indicators and patterns of activity.
GIAC's GCFA certification prepares threat hunters and responders for tracking, identifying, countering, and recovering from a wide range of threats within enterprise networks. These threats include APT nation-state adversaries, organized crime syndicates, and ransomware syndicates.
The GIAC GCFA certification program will help you with the following:
- Comprehend attacker tradecraft to assess compromises
- Determine when and how a breach occurred
- Detect compromised or infected systems quickly
- Conduct damage assessments and determine what was stolen, changed, or read
- Manage incidents of all types and remediate them
- Assess a network's threat landscape and track adversaries
- Investigate additional breaches based on the adversary's knowledge
- Develop advanced skills in forensics to counter antiforensics and data hiding
You will be able to:
- Master the tools, techniques, and procedures for hunting, detecting, and containing a variety of adversaries and resolving incidents.
- Find unknown malware in memory across multiple Windows systems in an enterprise environment, whether live, dormant, or custom.
- With PowerShell or F-Response Enterprise and SIFT Workstation, search and respond to hundreds of unique systems simultaneously.
- Track malware beacons exchanging data with its command and control channels (C2) by analyzing memory forensics, registry analysis, and network connection residue.
- Identify the root cause, the beachhead systems, and the initial attack mechanisms to determine how the breach occurred.
- Detect living off-the-land techniques, including PowerShell and WMI misuse.
- Investigate advanced adversary anti-forensics techniques, including hidden and time-stamped malware, along with moving in the network and maintaining an attacker's presence.
- Use SIFT Workstation tools to detect hidden processes, malware, attacker commands, rootkits, and network connections using memory analysis, incident response, and threat hunting.
- Analyze the system you are analyzing second-by-second through in-depth timeline and super-timeline analysis.
- Recover deleted data via Volume Shadow Copy and Restore Point analysis after it has been cleared using anti-forensics techniques.
- Identify how attackers move from system to system without being detected within your enterprise.
- Learn how attackers can obtain legitimate credentials - including domain administrator rights - even in secured environments.
- Analyze how attackers collect critical data and move it to exfiltration points.
- Analyze Volume Shadow Copy and Restore Points to recover data removed using anti-forensics techniques.
- Implement effective remediation across the enterprise using collected data.
What are the benefits of becoming a GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA) professional?
The GIAC GCFA certification demonstrates the ability to identify and analyze digital evidence, perform incident response, and investigate computer crimes. With GCFA certification, you can expand your job prospects and increase your earning potential. The GIAC GCFA certification can lead to career opportunities such as e-business security, computer systems administrators, legal professionals, or IT managers.
To prevent and protect their digital infrastructure, security breaches, and other computer-related crimes, corporations and government agencies look for candidates with computer hacking forensic investigator skills. So this is a hgh time to sit for the GIAC GCFA certification exam.
The bottom line
The GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA) certification is the most recognized computer forensics certification from the Global Information Assurance Certification organization. There is a high demand for digital forensic analysts in the industry, waiting for GCFA-certified professionals to fill the job positions. On this note, there are three broad industries that need qualified digital forensics expertise all the time: information security, legal, and law enforcement.
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