Security Certification: GPEN

Security Certification:

GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)


The GPEN certification is for security personnel whose job duties involve assessing target networks and systems to find security vulnerabilities. Certification objectives include penetration-testing methodologies, the legal issues surrounding penetration testing and how to properly conduct a penetration test as well as best practice technical and non-technical techniques specific to conduct a penetration test.

*No Specific training is required for any GIAC certification. There are many sources of information available regarding the certification objectives' knowledge areas. Practical experience is an option; there are also numerous books on the market covering Computer Information Security. Another option is any relevant courses from training providers, including SANS.*


  • 1 proctored exam
  • 115 questions
  • Time limit of 3 hours
  • Minimum Passing Score of 74%


GIAC reserves the right to change the specifications for each certification without notice. Based on a scientific passing point study, the passing point for the GPEN exam has been determined to be 74% for all candidates receiving access to their certification attempts on or after December 20th, 2012. To verify the format of your current certification attempt, please read the Certification Information found in your portal account at


Certifications must be renewed every 4 years. Click here for details.


NOTE: All GIAC exams are delivered through proctored test centers and must be scheduled in advance.
GIAC certification attempts will be activated in your GIAC account after your application has been approved and according to the terms of your purchase. Details on delivery will be provided along with your registration confirmation upon payment. You will receive an email notification when your certification attempt has been activated in your account. You will have 120 days from the date of activation to complete your certification attempt. GIAC exams must be proctored through Pearson VUE. Please click the following link for instructions on How to Schedule Your GIAC Proctored Exam GIAC exams are delivered online through a standard web browser.


Bulletin (Part 2 of Candidate Handbook)

Exam Certification Objectives & Outcome Statements

The topic areas for each exam part follow:

Advanced Password Attacks
The candidate will be able to use additional methods to attack password hashes and authenticate.
Attacking Password Hashes
The candidate will be able to obtain and attack password hashes and other password representations.
Enumerating Users
The candidate will be able to enumerate users through different methods.
Exploitation Fundamentals
The candidate will be able to demonstrate the fundamental concepts associated with the exploitation phase of a pentest.
Initial Target Scanning
The candidate will be able to conduct port, operating system and service version scans and analyze the results.
The candidate will be able to use and configure the Metasploit Framework at an intermediate level.
Moving Files with Exploits
The candidate will be able to use exploits to move files between remote systems.
Password Attacks
The candidate will understand types of password attacks, formats, defenses, and the circumstances under which to use each password attack variation. The candidate will be able to conduct password guessing attacks.
Pen-testing Foundations
The candidate will be able to demonstrate the fundamental concepts associated with pen-testing.
Pen-testing Process
The candidate will be able to utilize a process-oriented approach to pentesting and reporting.
Penetration Testing using Power Shell
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the use of advanced Windows Power Shell skills during a penetration test.
Penetration Testing using the Windows Command Line
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the use of advanced Windows command line skills during a penetration test.
The candidate will understand the fundamental concepts of reconnaissance and will understand how to obtain basic, high level information about the target organization and network, often considered information leakage, including but not limited to technical and non technical public contacts, IP address ranges, document formats, and supported systems.
Scanning for Targets
The candidate will be able to use the appropriate technique to scan a network for potential targets.
Vulnerability Scanning
The candidate will be able to conduct vulnerability scans and analyze the results.
Web Application Attacks
The candidate will be able to utilize common web application attacks.
Web Application Reconnaisance
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the use of tools and proxies to discover web application vulnerabilities.

Where to Get Help

Training is available from a variety of resources including on line, course attendance at a live conference, and self study.

Practical experience is another way to ensure that you have mastered the skills necessary for certification. Many professionals have the experience to meet the certification objectives identified.

Finally, college level courses or study through another program may meet the needs for mastery.

The procedure to contest exam results can be found at

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