GIAC Defending Advanced Threats (GDAT) icon

GIAC Defending Advanced Threats (GDAT)

Practitioner Certification

The GIAC Defending Advanced Threats (GDAT) certification covers both offensive and defensive topics in-depth. GDAT-certified professionals have a thorough understanding of how advanced cyber adversaries operate and how the IT environment can be improved to better prevent, detect, and respond to incidents.

Areas Covered

  • Advanced persistent threat models and methods
  • Detecting and preventing payload deliveries, exploitation, and post-exploitation activities
  • Using cyber deception to gain intelligence for threat hunting and incident response
  • Adversary Emulation

Who is GDAT for?

  • All blue team personnel
  • All red team personnel
  • All purple team personnel
  • Security architects
  • IT administrators

Exam Format

  • 1 proctored exam
  • 75 questions
  • 2 hours
  • Minimum passing score of 70%


NOTE: All GIAC Certification exams are web-based and required to be proctored. There are two proctoring options: remote proctoring through ProctorU, and onsite proctoring through PearsonVUE. Click here for more information.

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.

Exam Certification Objectives & Outcome Statements

  • Command and Control With Exfiltration Fundamentals
    The candidate will be able to explain C2 channels and what strategies attackers use in setting up a C2 channel with well known C2 channels as a reference.
  • Controlling scripts in the enterprise
    The candidate will be able to summarize how VBS, Jscript, and Powershell scripts can be used maliciously within an environment. The candidate will be able to describe how the use of malicious scripts within an environment can be detected and prevented.
  • Controls for Detecting and Preventing Payload Delivery to End Users
    The Candidate will be able to describe how payloads can be delivered to end users through e-mail and the web as well as how to defend against and detect their delivery.
  • Current Threat and Attack Landscape Along the APT Attack Cycle Outline
    The candidate will recognize, at a high level, what motivates people to attack systems, what tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are in general, and the difference between prevention and detection. The candidate will recognize how famous APTs align with the Cyber Kill Chain®.
  • Defining Rules and Visualizing Results
    The candidate will be able to evaluate rules and configurations related to the ELK stack, Suricata, and Yara. The candidate will also be able to explain how these visualizations can be used to detect payload delivery.
  • Detecting and Preventing C2 and Exfiltration
    The candidate will be able to summarize the differences between NetFlow and full packet capture data and where to capture the data within a given architecture. The candidate will be able to describe the different classifications of data, and the standard ways in which the data can be exfiltrated from a network.
  • Detecting and Preventing Installation
    The candidate will be able to summarize typical persistence strategies. The candidate will be able to identify and recommend fixes for commonly found flaws that can be leveraged for persistence. The candidate will be able to evaluate how items like web shells, task schedulers, DLLs, Bootkits, and the registry can be used to gain persistence and how, along with leveraging the principle of least privilege, finding and fixing the flaws can help avoid installation of malware.
  • Detecting and Preventing Lateral Movement
    The candidate will be able to explain how Active Directory can be used to thwart lateral movement within a network. The candidate will be able to apply an understanding of AD architecture, authentication, user and group management, and access control to harden a domained network. The candidate will be able to leverage an understanding of Sysmon to recognize lateral movement.
  • Endpoint Protection
    The candidate will be able to compare the different ways in which vulnerabilities can be found. The candidate will be able to describe the process of protecting endpoints with the use of host based endpoint protection. The candidate will be able to evaluate the installation and configuration of endpoint protection solutions such as antivirus, firewalls, HIDS, and Application Whitelisting. The candidate will be able to summarize the Microsoft patching scheme and how patches can be reverse engineered.
  • Introduction to Post Event Activities
    The candidate will be able to summarize and classify the SANS six step IR process; Preparation, Identification, Containment, Eradication, Recovery, and Lessons Learned.
  • Learning Internal Networks and Conceptualizing Defensible Architectures
    The candidate will be able to compare and contrast different network architectures. The candidate will be able to evaluate an environment using common reconnaissance techniques and recognize reasonable actions to mitigate findings.
  • Leveraging Cyber Deception to Inform Threat Intelligence for Threat Hunting
    The candidate will be able to conceptualize decoys, honeypots, and canaries. The candidate will be able to summarize the process of obtaining, sharing, and operationalizing threat intelligence which can be used to perform threat hunting.
  • Phases of the Software Development Lifecycle
    The candidate will be able to compare and contrast the different phases of the Microsoft Software Development Lifecycle and threat modeling process.
  • Software Attacks and Mitigations
    The candidate will recognize how popular attacks such as buffer overflows and heap spraying work and identify how implementing software protecitons such as ASLR, DEP, SafeSEH, SEHOP, Control Flow, and Stack canaries mitigate the attacks. The candidate will be able to apply the understanding of common exploit techniques to the use of common utilities in mitigating exploitation.

Other Resources

  • Training is available in a variety of modalities including live training and OnDemand
  • Practical work experience can help ensure that you have mastered the skills necessary for certification
  • College level courses or self paced study through another program or materials may meet the needs for mastery.
  • Get information about the procedure to contest exam results.

Practice Tests

  • These tests are a simulation of the real exam allowing you to become familiar with the test engine and style of questions.
  • Practice exams are a gauge to determine if your preparation methods are sufficient.
  • The practice bank questions are limited so you may encounter the same question on practice tests when multiple practice tests are purchased.
  • Practice exams never include actual exam questions.
  • Purchase a GDAT practice test here.
  • GIAC recommends leveraging additional study methods for test preparation.

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