In this installment of Cleared & Certified I’d like to point out some of the best resources to help you prepare for and pass the Certified Ethical Hacker certification offered by EC-Council. The first and really the best step you can take to prepare for the exam is to gain some real world experience. This can prove to be difficult if you are not in the security career field. However, there are some ways you can gain some hands on experience. Working in cleared government contracts gives you access to a slew of resources to gain some experience and get your feet wet. Every contract likely will have to interact with an ISSO or ISSE regularly or at least once in your tenure. Find your ISSO/ISSE and pick their brain as it relates to the topics covered on the exam. No, I’m not talking about asking them what’s on the exam, rather asking them about how the exam blueprint topics relate to the real world of cybersecurity. They can show you things like a Nessus scan, and how to analyze the data, along with other interesting things. For the other resources that will help, I’ve created a list below, hopefully it will get you on the path to not only passing the exam but gaining good security experience.
Get the Exam Blueprint and Study it – a lot!
EC-Council’s website is full of great information and tools to help you prepare for the CEH exam. One of the best resources on their site for exam prep is the Official CEH Exam Blueprint. The blueprint will map our all of the topics that will be addressed on the exam and it should give you a good idea of where to start your studying and how to best structure it. For instance, the fourth domain, “Tools, Systems and Programs” makes up 28% of the exam and you can expect to see around 36 questions. If you have a hard time with the topics covered in the fourth domain, it would be very important to study that domain and ensure you are covering your tracks as it is heavily weighted on the exam.
Ethical Hacking Dual Certification Bootcamp
The Infosec Institute offers a certification bootcamp that will almost guarantee your success on the CEH exam. Their Ethical Hacking Dual Certification Bootcamp will not only prepare you for the CEH v10 exam but will also prepare you for CompTIA’s PenTest+. Infosec’s training offers you five days of hands-on ethical hacking training to include, proprietary digital courseware in the classroom or online, hands-on labs, access to replays of your daily lessons and other curated videos from top-rated instructors. This is really one of the best resources in this list to prepare you for the CEH exam.
Practice Makes Perfect
This advice couldn’t be more perfect as you prepare for your CEH exam. There are many different ways you can practice your penetration testing skills by using the tools you will be tested on. There are practice exams online as well as hands-on labs you can do to refine your skills. One of the best sites out there for exam prep is Skillset. Skillset offers a roadmap type of set up for you to go through that starts with easier information and labs and ramps up to more complicated and detailed lab work. Skillset isn’t only about labs, they also provide digital flashcards, and practice exams that will simulate the actual exam. Getting ample time to go through practice exam questions will be a major factor in helping you feel comfortable when it comes to test time, further it will help to reinforce the information on the blueprint that you have already been studying. Skillset’s digital flashcards offer you another study tool that will test your knowledge of the exam blueprint material that makes up the exam.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
There is a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin that reads, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This is 100% true when it comes to preparing for the CEH exam, or any certification exam for that matter. There is so much information on the web that if you just aimlessly start searching websites you can easily get lost and distracted from what you should be doing. Creating a solid study plan will help you get organized and prepare you for success on the CEH exam. I can’t stress enough the importance of using the exam blueprint as the basis for your study plan. Understanding where to start with studying beyond the blueprint, should be based on your level of experience with the content. When it comes to CEH, there is a prerequisite to have a minimum of two years worth of security related professional experience before sitting for the exam, that should be a good benchmark of where to start.