The Best Cybersecurity and Information Security Certifications

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The Best Cybersecurity and Information Security Certifications

Information Security CertificationsLet’s begin with “Information Security” and “Cybersecurity”.  There are two expressions that people often use somewhat interchangeably. They are not quite the same though, as we have already explained in one or our previous blog posts. In any case, both have – naturally – the security aspect in common. This means, that if you are planning for a professional career in this field, not only are your knowledge and skill set of particular importance, but also are your reputable credentials, such as, Cybersecurity and Information Security Certifications.

Let us have a look at some of the best information security certifications to boost your career as an information security professional.


Information Security Certifications

Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (C)PTE)

The Certified Penetration Testing Engineer certification constitutes an upgrade to the Certified Ethical Hacker/CEH. The Techsherpas certification course is based on proven, hands-on penetration testing methods and the Five Key Elements of Pen Testing:

  • Information Gathering
  • Scanning
  • Enumeration
  • Exploitation
  • Reporting

CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

The certification as a CISM/Certified Information Security Manager demonstrates your proficient knowledge and skill set in the field of Information Security Management, such as:

  • Threat analysis and risks
  • Risk and incident management
  • IS security strategy/frameworks
  • Security programs and CISO roles
  • Creation of policies for audit and risk management, compliance and awareness
  • DR and BCP development/deployment/maintenance


CompTIA Security+

With Information Security Certifications like CompTIA Security+ you demonstrate the necessary computer security skills to successfully perform your duties in a wide range of IT security-related roles. Such skills are, for example:

  • Identification of the fundamental computer security concepts
  • Identification of (potential) security threats
  • Data management and application
  • Host security management
  • Network security implementation
  • Identification/implementation of access control
  • Identification/implementation of account management security measures
  • Identification/implementation of compliance and operational security measures
  • Certificate and risk management
  • Troubleshooting and management of security incidents.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery planning


CISSO: Certified Information Systems Security Officer

A Certified Information Systems Security Officer (CISSO) demonstrates proficiency in the knowledge and skill set (including industry best practices) that characterize the work of a security manager/security officer, such as:

  • Expertise regarding the in-depth theory of core security concepts, practices, monitoring and compliance
  • Use of a risk-based approach
  • Ability to implement and maintain cost-effective security controls

The CISSO certification training also covers the exam objectives of the CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional


C)IHE: Certified Incident Handling Engineer

The Certified Incident Handling Engineer (C)IHE) is directed toward IT professionals, such as incident handlers, system administrators and general security engineers. The training, which also covers the GCIH- GIAC Certified Incident Handler, teaches students:

  • Planning, creation and utilization of systems for attack prevention, detection and response
  • Step-by-step approaches as used by hackers worldwide
  • Identification of the latest attack vectors and implementation of safeguarding measures
  • Incident handling procedures
  • Strategies for each type of attack
  • Recovery measures after an attack


Have a look at our public training schedule to find out more about how we can support you to achieve the Cybersecurity and Information Security Certification that is best for your career plans.





Safety and Security Measures You Should Follow

Security is important, especially with computers, internet, and personal information.  Here’s a few cybersecurity tips to keep yourself safe.

Follow These Cybersecurity Tips for Safe Computer Access

Make use of passwords and PINs

Your passwords and PINs are an imperative line of defense, not only for your devices, but especially for your online “existence” – your social media profiles, online-shop accounts and access to your online-banking.

In other words: When your device offers you the option to use are protective password or PIN (personal identification number) in order to access it, then do make use of it. (The access to your various online profiles is usually password-protected as a rule, anyway.)

Avoid easy guesses

Don’t use PINs like 1234 or your birthday – those are combinations that other people often try first to get unauthorized access.

The same goes for passwords: Neither your own name, nor your partner’s or your children’s names are a difficult leap – and would-be hackers know that, too – so it’s better if you stay clear of such password choices.

Make your passwords more complex (and therefore more difficult to guess or hack) by making them at least eight digits and a combination of letters, numbers, and where applicable, even symbols. When you set up an online-profile, the provider often gives you a guideline regarding the minimum security requirements for your password choice.

Don’t use the same password every time

Make sure not to use the same password all over your various accounts, especially not in combination with the same username or email-address. The reason is a simple one: In case one of your accounts should get hacked after all, you don’t want the hackers to have access to your other accounts as well!

Keep changing your passwords periodically

For similar reasons, it is a good idea to change a once determined password after a while, so that even if your account had been compromised at one point, maybe without your noticing, the hacked password will not work for unauthorized people’s future use.

Organize your passwords and keep them safe

It’s obvious that all these different passwords and user names need some organization as well as safekeeping. You might want to write them down somewhere, but if you do, keep them away from open display and if possible not in direct vicinity to your computer. One way to do this electronically is using a special password-manager software (that can even create unique and elaborate passwords for you).

Make sure to log out of your accounts when you leave, especially on computers that are not yours

Many online-shops provide the option to stay logged in your profile with them, so that you are not automatically logged-out once you check out and leave the shop. This is usually done by checking a little box where you log into your account (e.g. “Keep me signed in”).

While this can be a handy little option to use on your personal device in order to do some quick shopping without having to go through the log-in process, you should definitely not use this option on a public computer, or any computer that other people might have access to. This is one of the basic steps to protect your profiles and accounts – so basic, that the providers of this option usually expressly advise against staying logged-in themselves.





Hackers Always Hack: A Career in IT Security

When it comes to knowing which career to go into in our fast-paced world, consider the growing field of IT security. Demand is at an all-time high to protect your financial assets, health records, and other private documents.

Planning A Lucrative Career In IT Security

One need look no further than the Equifax data breach of 143 million Americans, which pales at the 3 billion accounts hacked at Yahoo. However, the Equifax breach was quite startling since the breach was from one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies. An organization of this caliber should have a solid security infrastructure in place. Finding out that that’s not really the case makes consumers nervous. It leads you to believe that there must be numerous other security weaknesses throughout our economy.

Plan Your Successful Future

As a result, a career in IT security will be in strong demand into the foreseeable future. Hackers always hack, which translates into job security for the IT professional. Data experts are confident that the demand for this skill will last a lifetime as it protects (like in the Equifax breach) people’s names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, and other personal information.

Achieve Financial Success In IT Security

Private and public entities, including the military, will pay top dollar for skilled IT professionals who truly can keep the organization safe. The cost to keep business data safe is paramount to every business.

Ransomware is malicious software from cryptovirology that can publish others’ data or block access to it unless a ransom is paid with no guarantee that the data will be unlocked. Even saying the word ransomware frightens any c-level executive, as it can bring a business to its knees. IT security in the military has obvious life and safety repercussions in a real sense.

The Future Of IT Security

Businesses that don’t invest in IT professionals will run into trouble at some point. The question is when. Viruses come in many forms including boot sector, direct action, polymorphic, multipartite, file infector, web scripting, and browser hijackers. All it takes is one significant outage to significantly impact the business bottom line.

A Solid Investment In Your Future

Russia’s potential influence on our recent presidential election is another example of the need for additional IT security personnel. As long as there are bad people willing to use their keyboard for malice, jobs for IT security professionals are recession proof. Sadly, it seems that the bad apples are on a global scale, providing confidence that a career in IT security is a solid investment.


Qualified IT Security Professionals Needed – IT Security Certifications can help

With IT security threats increasing and the number of qualified IT security personnel decreasing, organizations, both public and private, are facing a serious problem. Countless organizations are realizing they need more IT security man power to handle the growing number of threats that can harm their business and their valued customers. The small number of IT security staff is just not cutting it these days, and because of this, IT security is the fastest growing field in IT. Data from Indeed, a popular job site, showed help ads for security professionals increased by 100% during the past five years.  So do you think investing in IT security education is a good idea right now? I would think yes! Not only would a career in IT security provide job security, but the pay isn’t too shabby either. The average salary of a Security Specialist or Network Administrator is almost $94,000. Be the solution organizations are looking for by getting qualified in IT security.

Getting qualified for an IT Security CareerIT Security Certifications

Pursuing a career in IT security is an excellent path to travel down, when deciding how you want to create job and financial stability. So where should you begin? There are several ways that you can build your resume to showcase your IT security skills. What can you do to land the security job you are looking for? What will help you stand out from the group?

1)      Know IT Security – Be knowledgeable on the subject. Read about IT security news and events both historical and current. Follow the trending topics. There are plenty out there, as you can’t turn on the TV without hearing about some IT security threat. These threats are even making great story plots for Hollywood.

2)      Obtain Security Certifications – Having a solid foundation, understanding, and skillset is also crucial to successful deployment of IT security practices. It’s these skills that save organizations money and hassles, and also give them peace of mind. Certification and specialized training are excellent ways to get those skills and build the knowledge of a highly respected IT security professional. There are various certifications you can get, which we will discuss in more detail.

3)      Hands-On Experience – Set-up your own “working lab”. Take things apart, and put them back together. Hack into your system, and then create security features to prevent those break ins. Hands-on experience is always best. Experience allows you to put your skills and knowledge to use. Get in an entry-level position as soon as possible, or volunteer. Experience is developed by working through the problems.

Security Certifications

When it comes to IT security there are several certifications that are worth looking into and obtaining. Depending on your level of IT experience, you will want to start with more entry-level certifications, and build up to the more advanced ones as you feel more comfortable, gain more experience, and are ready to advance your IT security career.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is an international, vendor-neutral certification. It is an entry/foundation –level certification that demonstrates competency in:

  • Network security
  • Compliance and operational security
  • Threats and vulnerabilities
  • Application, data and host security
  • Access control and identity management
  • Cryptography

CompTIA Security+ not only ensures that candidates will apply knowledge of security concepts, tools, and procedures to react to security incidents; it       ensures that security personnel are anticipating security risks and guarding against them. Candidate job roles include security architect, security engineer, security consultant/specialist, information assurance technician, security administrator, systems administrator, and network administrator. Kick start your IT security career – start training for your CompTIA Security+ certification.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Certified ethical hackers aka “Whitehats” are those highly skilled IT professionals that have the ability to beat hackers at their own game by uncovering systems’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities. By revealing these vulnerabilities and identifying the access points, these can be addressed before the “bad guys” have the opportunity to penetrate the system and create havoc on the company as well as its customers. The CEH credential is an intermediate certification, and demonstrates competency in:

  • foot-printing and reconnaissance,
  • scanning networks, enumeration
  • system hacking
  • Trojans
  • worms and viruses
  • sniffers
  • denial of service attacks
  • social engineering
  • session hijacking
  • hacking webservers, wireless networks and web applications
  • SQL injection
  • Cryptography
  • penetration testing
  • and evading IDS, firewalls, and honeypots

Those with a CEH certification are good candidates for the following positions: Network Testing, Systems Analyst Specialist, Information Technology Security Specialist, IT Vulnerability Specialist, and Tester/Ethical Hacker. To kick-off your IT security career, and start training for your Certified Ethical Hacker certification click here.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

For those IT professionals that are serious about a career in IT security the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a must. These IT professionals possess expert knowledge and technical skills necessary to develop, guide, and then manage security standards, policies, and procedures within their organizations. This is an advanced vendor-neutral IT security credential that is recognized world-wide, and demonstrates competency in:

  • Access Control
  • Application Development Security
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Cryptography
  • Information Security Governance and Risk Management
  • Legal Regulations
  • Compliance and Investigations
  • Operations Security
  • Physical Environmental Security
  • Security Architecture and Design and Telecommunications and Network Security

The CISSP certification is meant for experienced IT professionals and offers three concentrations for targeted areas:

  • CISSP Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Management

Those with a CISSP certification are good candidates for the following positions: Senior Analyst, IT Security Threat & Vulnerability Director, Principal Security Strategist, and Network Engineer. To advance your career in IT security, start training for your Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) certification.

Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE)

Another certification based around ethical hacking, Certified Penetration Engineer (CPTE) specializes in penetrating systems – they learn how to locate a system’s vulnerabilities and exploit a system’s weakness, which allows them to create safeguards against the real threats. The CPTE certification demonstrates competence in several area of penetration testing:

  • Information Gathering
  • Scanning
  • Enumeration
  • Exploitation
  • Reporting

Through utilizing and mastering these important techniques, penetration engineers are able to discover the latest vulnerabilities, threats, and techniques blackhat hackers are using today. To build a career with a focus penetration testing, start training for your Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE) certification..

Job Security through IT Security

IT Security threats are everyday occurrences that organizations world-wide, both private and public, need to be aware of and face head-on. They need to be pro-active in preventing breaches and penetration of their valuable and confidential systems. These are real threats that can be devastating to any organization, big or small. This is the reason the need for IT security professionals is increasing on a daily basis, with no sign of slowing. The world needs more, many more, qualified IT professionals to handle the growing threat. Get knowledgeable in the IT security world. Know the threats that are out there. Even better, get certified! Contact TechSherpas to start your journey of a successful career in IT security.

Hackers make History and Hollywood

“Uh-uh. You didn’t say the magic word!” The skill of hacking has definitely made a place for itself in Hollywood. You may recall Lex’s hacking skills got Jurassic Park back on track after dinosaurs wreaked havoc on a secluded island. Then there was Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) who stole $9.5 billion from a secret government slush fund, codenamed Swordfish, for a high tech robber villain. And you can’t talk about hacking and not mention the Matrix trilogy (1999), Tron (1982), or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009).  Even President Obama made a recent comment that the manhunt for 29 year old hacker, Edward Snowden will make for a good movie someday. The Best Hacking movies, are exciting, and although they can seem like a bit of a stretch from reality, there is some truth behind these plots.Code 2600 is a documentary film worth watching because it is both accurate and entertaining, and will open your eyes to the truth about hacking.

Hollywood Hacker - Learn how to be an ethical hacker.

Hollywood Hacker – Learn how to be an ethical hacker.

The terms hacker and hacking typically carry a negative connotation and as they are commonly associated with the skill of unlawfully breaking into computer systems. But not all hackers are bad. In fact, hackers have the ability todiagnose security flaws. Crackers, on the other hand, use their hacking skills for malicious gain, stealing private information and sometimes large amounts of money. Crackers are hackers who have gone to the dark side. The White Hat versus the Black Hat….the good versus the evil.

The Infamous Crackers aka the Black Hat Bad Guys

Since the development of computer technology there have been a number of notorious hackers that have created real-life dramas, off the big screen, and no doubt have provided inspiration for big Hollywood directors. Here is a list of the some of the most infamous real life black haters that give hackers a bad rep. Some of them are now respectable White Hat hackers!

  • Kevin Mitnick – Kevin Mitnick started out just wanting a free ride on the bus, starting his hacking career at the age of 12. Mitnick went on to become the most wanted computer hacker in the country, known primarily for his hack into Digital Equipment Corporation’s network to steal their software. It may have been his first notable break-in, but Mitnick went on to other big targets, including cell phone giants Nokia and Motorola. After hacking into fellow hacker Tsutomu Shimomura’s computer, Mitnick was tracked down by Shimomura and the FBI in 1995.Today, Mitnick has served a five-year sentence and come clean, but he continues to profit off his former title, authoring books and working as a security consultant. The movie Takedown (2000) is based on Kevin’s capture.
  • Kevin Poulsen (aka Dark Dante) – Today, Kevin Poulsen is an editor at tech-savvy Wired magazine, but back in the 1980s, he phone-phreaking hack. Poulsen rigged s Los Angeles radio station phone line to allow only him to get through and win a trip to Hawaii and a Porsche. Dark Dante’s more serious targets included his break-in to the FBI’s database which led to his 1991 arrest and five years prison time. Since then, he’s gone respectable using his power for good by racking sex offenders on MySpace.
  • Gary McKinnon – Conspiracy-theorist McKinnon broke into computers at the U.S. Department of Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force and NASA sometime in 2001 and 2002. McKinnon believed the U.S. government was hiding alien technology that could solve the global energy crisis. The U.S. government claims McKinnon’s hack job cost them significant amounts of money to fix.
  • Robert Tappan Morris – Back in 1988, while a graduate student at Cornell University, Morris created the first worm and released it on the Internet. He claimed it was all an experiment gone awry, a test to see how big the then-new Internet was. The worm turned out to be more than a test: it replicated quickly, slowing computers to the point of non-functionality and virtually crippling the Internet. He was eventually fined and sentenced to three years probation. Since then, he’s earned his Ph.D. from Harvard and made millions designing software. Today, he’s a computer science professor at MIT.
  • Jonathan James – Infamous by the age of 16, this kid was charged for hacking into NASA and the Department of Defense computer systems, stealing information and causing serious downtime while the security breaches has to be addressed. This would cost tens of thousands of dollars. He basically informed NASA and DOD that their systems had weaknesses, which was the defense his father was using. The judge didn’t buy it, and he was sentenced as a juvenile, and received 6 months in juvenile institution. Trouble seemed to follow him, as he was later associated with the TJX scandal (listed below). He committed suicide after his suspected involvement in this case.
  • Albert “segvec” Gonzalez – This is the guy that was responsible for the TJX hacking scandal of 2009, in which a group of hackers stole 36 million credit card numbers.  He was an informant to the secret service providing information on other credit cards thieves! TJX spent over $170 million responding to the attack, and Albert was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which is the longest sentence handed down to a convicted hacker in the US.
  • 23 (1998) – The movie’s plot is based on the true story of a group of young computer hackers from Hannover, Germany. In the late 1980s the orphaned Karl Koch invests his heritage in a flat and a home computer. At first he dials up to bulletin boards to discuss conspiracy theories inspired by his favorite novel, R.A. Wilson’s “Illuminatus”, but soon he and his friend David start breaking into government and military computers. Pepe, one of Karl’s rather criminal acquaintances senses that there is money in computer cracking.

The Famous Hackers aka the White Hat Good Guys

When you take a look at the computer technology and hacker movies, you will notice that the majority of hackers are in fact, good guys. These are the guys that give hackers a good name. Although they may have gotten into a little trouble here and there, by forgetting about the ethics of hacking, White Hat hackers have really contributed to improvements in technology security.  Hackers, can build a career around their skill and become IT Security Professionals through certification. These IT security gurus are important members of successful organizations, and are in high demand these days as security crime and threat is on the rise. Here are a few White Hat hackers whose discoveries changed the world of technology as we know it.

  • Bill Gates – At 14 years old, he dialed into a nationwide computer network, uploaded a virus he had created causing the entire network to crash. That boy was Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft.
  • Steve Wozniak – He and Steve Jobs got their start building blue boxes, a device that could bypass traditional telephone switch mechanisms in order to make free long-distance calls. Wozniak and Jobs built these boxes together and ended up selling them to their college classmates. From there, they progressed to bigger and better ideas so users could make free long distance calls. The money helped start up Apple computers and now, we have iPhones as a result. The movie, Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999), is based on the young founders of Apple. Also Stan Jobson (Hugh Jackman’s character in Swordfish) is named after Steve Jobs. He’s modeled after the cool computer geniuses of William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels.
  • Joanna Rutkowska – This Polish researcher has made it an obsession to figure out how stealth malware, such as rootkits, can be so well hidden in software and hardware that few are ever likely to find it. Her “Blue Pill” attack against Microsoft’s Vista kernel protection mechanism, which brought a crowded room of security geeks at Black Hat to a standing ovation in 2006, was just her first revelation publicly to show how easy it is for dangerous code to hide in plain sight.
  • Mark Maiffret – Once the bad boy ‘Chameleon’ in hacking group “‘Rhino9,” Maiffret luckily realized his hacking skills could be put to use in protecting Windows-based computers when, at age 17, he turned over a new leaf to co-found eEye Digital Security in 1997. Maiffret also played a role in zeroing in on the infamous “Code Red” worm in 2001, which exploded across the Internet ravaging Microsoft-based computers.
  • Zane Lackey – This co-author of “Hacking Exposed: Web 2.0″ and contributing editor to “Hacking VoIP” and “Mobile Application Security” digs into flaws in mobile and VoIP systems. In the past, some of his public talks and demos about compromising VoIP systems have been so detailed that chief information security officers at major corporations said they couldn’t advocate investing in VoIP until the issues raised were addressed by vendors.
  • Tim Berners-Lee – Tim is credited as the brilliant mind behind the creation of the World Wide Web–not to be confused as the creator of the Internet, which he isn’t. He is the creator of the actual system that we all use to navigate the Internet in order to access particular files, folders, and websites. He got his start with electronics at a relatively young age. When he was a student at Oxford University, Berners-Lee managed to build a computer from scratch using a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor, and parts from an old television.

Hacking –  Career vs. Jail Time

Wanted Hacker - Kevin Mitnick

Wanted Hacker – Kevin Mitnick

Hacking not only makes exciting crime dramas, but can also earn someonea good honest living, or it can earn someone some jail time, depending on the route taken. White hacking can help prevent the black hacking so hacking is an important topic to understand, learn, and get certified, if you want to pursue a career in hacking or IT security. To learn more about how to become a White Hat hacker, visit our IT Security Certification & Coursepages for classes near you. Who knows…maybe your skills will go down in history and make the big screen one day!

Which one of these people/stories would make the best Hollywood film? Do you think Edward Snowden will make it to the big screen? What is your favorite hacker movie?