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Erik Choron
Nugget trainer since 2022
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SEC504: Hacker Tools, Techniques, and Incident Handling FAQs: Cost, Training, Value

Is the GIAC Certified Incident Handler Certification (GCIH) worth it?

This is a specialized course that covers the tools and techniques used by hackers, as well as the steps necessary to respond to such attacks when they happen. The skills this SEC504 course develops are highly particular and especially valuable for those in roles where regulatory compliance and legal requirements are important. If your organization needs an officially certified security incident handler, the GCIH and this course are very much worth it.

How much does the GIAC Certified Incident Handler Certification (GCIH) cost?

The certification that this course on hacker tools, techniques and incident handling prepares you for is the GCIH from GIAC. All of GIAC's certification exams cost $949 to attempt, but GIAC also offers courses to help you prepare for the GCIH. If you're planning on taking the GCIH preparatory course, hopefully your employer helps cover the costs, because the courses start at $8,275 before the cost of the exam is added.v

How difficult is the GCIH (SEC504) certification exam?

It's safe to say that the GCIH exam is difficult: it's a 4-hour long, 106-question exam with significant restrictions (no internet and only a few hardcopy books and notes are allowed). Half the GCIH tests your ability to detect covert communications and evasive techniques while detecting exploitation tools and monitoring for endpoint attacks. The other half covers incident response and cyber investigation. It's a difficult exam even for experienced cybersecurity professionals.

Does the GIAC Certified Incident Handler Certification (GCIH) expire?

Yes, the certification that this course on hacker tools, techniques and incident handling (SEC 504) prepares you for expires four years after you earn it. If you wish to keep the certification up-to-date and valid (a legal and compliance requirement for many organizations), then during those four years you'll need to pay GIAC $469 as well as take a number of continuing education credits, the details of which are available on GIAC's website.

How to study for the GIAC Certified Incident Handler Certification (GCIH)?

The GCIH is a robust and specialized certification that covers familiarity with hacking techniques as well as administrative know-how in responding to security incidents. Even in the largest networks, those skills can be hard to come by without direct and deliberate training and preparation. You'll want to prepare for the GCIH with a course that educates you and gives you chances to practice, first-hand, security procedures and techniques in equal measure.
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