GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)
The GCFA certification is for professionals working in the information security, computer forensics, and incident response fields. The certification focuses on core skills required to collect and analyze data from Windows and Linux computer systems.
The GCFA certifies that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and ability to conduct formal incident investigations and handle advanced incident handling scenarios, including internal and external data breach intrusions, advanced persistent threats, anti-forensic techniques used by attackers, and complex digital forensic cases.
Preparing for the GCFA Exam: Candidates may choose to prepare for the GCFA exam by taking the SANS Training Course: FOR508: Advanced Computer Forensic Analysis and Incident Response
*No Specific training is required for any GIAC certification. If candidates need help in mastering the objectives for this certification, there are many sources of information available. Practical experience is one option; there are also numerous books on the market covering Computer Information Security. Another option is SANS training, or any relevant courses from other training providers.*
- 1 proctored exam
- 115 questions
- Time limit of 3 hours
- Minimum Passing Score of 69%
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 GCFA exam has been determined to be 69% for all candidates receiving access to their certification attempts on or after August 2nd, 2012. To verify the format of your current certification attempt, please read the Certification Information found in your portal account at https://exams.giac.org/pages/attempts.
Certifications must be renewed every 4 years. Click here for details.
NOTE: GIAC exams are NOT given the day after the conference ends.
GIAC certification attempts purchased without SANS training will be activated in your SANS/GIAC account within 24 business hours of purchase. GIAC certification attempts purchased with SANS training will be activated in your SANS/GIAC account 7 days after the end of the conference. In both cases, 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.
- Certified Professionals (GCFA)
- Exam Feedback Procedure
- Grievance Procedure
- Proctored exam procedure
- SANS Information Security Reading Room
Bulletin (Part 2 of Candidate Handbook)
Exam Certification Objectives & Outcome Statements
The topic areas for each exam part follow:
- File Carving and Data Extraction
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of stream-based data carving and extraction, using tools like those contained in The Sleuth Kit.
- Filesystem Structure and Analysis
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of FAT and NTFS filesystems, and the ability to recover and analyze evidence from file system layers, including the data storage layer, metadata layer, and filename layer.
- Forensic Image Acquision, Preservation, and Handling
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of how and when to collect, document, and handle logical and physical images from file systems for the purpose of performing evidence analysis, and how to preserve evidence integrity.
- Incident Response and Forensic Framework
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the steps in the enterprise incident response process, attack progression, the role of risk components in developing security intelligence, and the duties of a forensic analyst.
- Indicators of Compromise and Malware Detection
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of techniques to uncover indicators of compromise on a system, detect malware, and counter anti-forensic actions.
- Timeline Analysis
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of creating timelines and supertimelines using data from multiple sources, and will be able to analyze timelines to identify relevant events.
- Volatile Data Analysis
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of identifying abnormal processes, network connections, and other malicious artifacts stored in volatile evidence, using tools like Redline and Volatility.
- Volatile Data Preservation and Collection
- The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of how and when to collect volatile data from a system, and how to document and preserve the integrity of volatile evidence.
- Windows File System Artifacts
- The candidate will demonstrate the ability to extract and analyze artifacts from Windows-specific elements, including volume shadow copies and restore points.
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 http://www.giac.org/about/procedures/grievance.