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Forensic Certification: GCFA

Forensic Certification:

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.

*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 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


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:

Identification of Malicous System and User Activity
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the techniques required to identify and document indicators of compromise on a system, detect malware and attacker tools, attribute activity to events and accounts, and identify and compensate for anti-forensic actions.
Incident Response in an Enterprise Environment
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of how to rapidly assess and analyze systems in an enterprise environment and scale tools to meet the demands of large investigations.
Incident Response Process and Framework
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the steps of the incident response process, attack progression, cyber threat intelligence, malware and adversary fundamentals.
Timeline Artifact Analysis
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the Windows filesystem time structure and how these artifacts are modified by system and user activity.
Timeline Collection
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the process required to collect timeline data from a Windows system.
Timeline Processing
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the methodology required to process Windows timeline data from multiple system sources.
Volatile Artifact Analysis
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of normal and abnormal activity within the structure of Windows volatile memory and be able to identify artifacts such as malicious processes, network connections, system data and memory resident files.
Volatile Data Collection
The candidate will demonstrate and understanding of how and when to collect volatile data from a system and how to document and preserve the integrity of volatile evidence.
Windows Filesystem Structure and Analysis
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of core Windows filesystems, and the ability to identify, recover, and analyze evidence from any file system layer, including the data storage layer, metadata layer, and filename layer.
Windows System Artifact Analysis
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of Windows system artifacts and how to collect and analyze data such as system back up and restore data and evidence of application execution.

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