GIAC – GPEN Certified!

I took my GPEN certification exam on Thursday and I passed. I was rather nervous to be honest about the exam considering two of my fellow co-workers struggled with it. I waited until the very last day to take the exam and I’m glad I did. Luckily I scored a 91%. Even though it was open book, it was a doozy of an exam. I had my notes, index, and the texts to work from…and it was still a challenge. TBH – I’m really proud of my index (no I won’t share it with you). It looks like a unicorn threw-up on a notebook, but it had just about everything I needed. I’m also excited because I scored high enough to be in the advisory council and to possibly be a SANS mentor! I’m very humbled and honored!

Just a little tip thought: I won’t go into specifics, but I would advise anyone taking the exam to brush up specifically on the netcat switches and really learn scapy backwards and forwards. Not only will it help you with the exam, but I’ve found myself using both tool in my day to day roles a lot now.

So…what’s the first thing I do now that I don’t have a certification deadline looming over me? Go pick out another cert to tackle. My wife tells me that I’m goal driven. I need a goal to strive for if I want to be productive. At this point I’m strongly considering either the CCSP from (ISC)2 or one of the Amazon certifications. I need to skill-up on cloud a little bit before I go after the OSCP. So let me know. What do you think? What certification should I go after next?


One last thing….


Dearest people outside of the realm of InfoSec,

Someone mentions the word ‘Penetration’ in proper context, and you folks lose your damn minds. Get your heads out of the gutter. Thanks.

16 thoughts on “GIAC – GPEN Certified!

  1. What study material do you have other than the SANS course? I am struggling to find a suitable self-study material.

    1. To be honest, I think that’s done on purpose.
      I looked as well and didn’t find hardly anything of value relative to the 560 exam outside of the SANS provided content. The free cheat-sheets SANS provided relative to netcat and scapy were extremely valuable. I brought my Red Team Field Manual along with my SANS texts with me to the exam, but I never even cracked the binding once during the test. SANS does have at-home training materials and online course. I believe that would be the best thing you can prepare with other than taking an on-prem course.

  2. Hi, could you send me copy of index too?
    I am planning to take the exam end of this month and found your blog post.

    Thank you,

  3. Man, I’m envious – I’ve been struggling just to find the time to build my index ( mother having had quad-bypass surgery ) with finding the time 🙁

  4. FYI – I’m sure the printed materials have changed since I took the exam. My index isn’t useful anymore. I’m sorry.

    1. Hey Garth,
      The test materials have changed. I’d be happy to send you my index, but it’s outdated and worthless at this point.

      1. Hi, even that test materials have changed would you mind sending me a copy to build my own with yours as an example ?
        Thx in advance,

  5. Please send me a copy of your index. It will at least give me an idea about how to create mine. I’ve been in the hospital and now I have to take the exam I am out of time.
    I do thank you in advance, I need to pass this exam.

  6. Hey there! I would be very interested in seeing a copy of your index to help me craft my own. Would be super appreciative! Thank you for this post.

  7. Hey there! I would be very appreciative if I could view a copy of the index you made for reference as I craft my own for the new version of the test. Thank you for this post and for any help you can provide!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.