Cyber Security Certification: GCWN

Cyber Security Certification: GCWN

The GIAC Certified Windows System Administrator (GCWN) certification validates a practitioner's ability to secure Microsoft Windows clients and servers. GCWN certification holders have the knowledge and skills needed to configure and manage the security of Microsoft operating systems and applications, including: PKI, IPSec, Group Policy, AppLocker, DNSSEC, PowerShell, and hardening Windows against malware and persistent adversaries.

Areas Covered

Who is GCWN for?



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 GCWN exam has been determined to be 66% for all candidates receiving access to their certification attempts on or after October 26th, 2012. To verify the format and passing point of your specific certification attempt, read the Certification Information found in your account at


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.

Exam Certification Objectives & Outcome Statements

The topic areas for each exam part follow:

Defensible Networking
The candidate will be able to understand and harden essential Windows protocols and services which are vulnerable to attack, such as PowerShell Remoting (WSMAN), Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), DNSSEC, Kerberos, NTLMv2, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), IPv6 tunneling, SSL/TLS cipher suites, and Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.
Endpoint Protection
The candidate will be able to understand and configure the Windows Firewall, use IPsec to control access to UDP/TCP ports based on Active Directory group memberships, deploy IPsec and firewall rules through Group Policy and PowerShell, deploy AppLocker application whitelisting, restrict access to removable devices, and configure PowerShell Constrained Language Mode.
Operating System and Applications Hardening
The candidate will be able to plan and implement a comprehensive hardening strategy for the Windows operating system and other popular applications which are vulnerable to attack, using techniques such as application whitelisting, applying security templates through Group Policy, and server hardening through PowerShell automation.
PKI Management
The candidate will be able to plan and implement a full Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) using Windows Server and Active Directory for the sake of secure authentication, smart cards, smart tokens, data encryption, digital signatures, private key escrow, Group Policy Auto-Enrollment, and private key credential roaming.
Restricting Administrative Compromise
The candidate will be able to plan and implement a strategy to reduce how often hackers or malware can compromise administrative accounts and to reduce the harm which follows from an administrative compromise, using techniques such as constrained delegation of authority, role-based access control, limiting unnecessary privileges, PowerShell JEA, secure authentication, and proper management of service accounts and scheduled tasks.
Securing PowerShell
The candidate will be able to plan and implement a strategy to secure the use of PowerShell, including transcription logging, AMSI anti-virus scanning, Just Enough Admin (JEA) endpoints, code signing, application whitelisting, and User Account Control (UAC) restrictions.

*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.*

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