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How to get Malware Certified

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By: Olivia

February 28, 2017

I’ve been on a mission to answer the question, “How do I get _________ certified?”

In recent posts, I’ve dove into how to earn the TCP/IP certification and how to best utilize your hard earned certifications on your resume. With new micro certifications being released weekly, it’s important to show users truly how limitless their options are when it comes to learning new skills on a variety of topics.My hope is to make micro certifications more accessible to ensure that as they increase in popularity, users are aware of the process for getting certified, and which certifications are a best fit for their needs.The most common concern with earning micro certifications is that many are unsure where to start. Maybe you’re new to IT or cyber security in general. Maybe you’ve been in the field for some time but are looking to branch out from your traditional course of work.Whatever the case may be, I advise taking a look at the entire course catalog before jumping right in. Consider what level you are starting at as you browse the available certifications.Each certification description should accompany with it an answer to the question “why do I need this certification?” If the answer to that question aligns with your goals, then chances are it is a best fit for you.I recommend that while you browse the catalog, make a list or add to your favorites any certification that catches your eye so you can easily go back to that page later.If, after following this process, you’re still stuck, considering asking for advice in the forums. Members of the community bring unique perspectives and experience when it comes to a learning skills tailored for a specific goal or job.For this post, let’s take a look at the NEW Malware Fundamentals Micro Certification.But first, let’s delve into malware further.What is malware?An umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs.Okay, tell me more:Malware works to remain unnoticed, either by actively hiding or by not making its presence on a system known to the user. Almost every system or network breach involves a trojan, backdoor, virus, or rootkit.What makes malware so harmful?According to, “The bad news is that malware, once characterized by harmless viruses and annoying adware, is increasingly used for criminal activities. So much so that it is introducing new terms to the computer world, like crimeware. Even completely novel applications of computer code to the crimeware cause are surfacing. A new form of malware known as ransomware attempts to hold a user's computer files hostage.”More startling statistics: According to the Verizon Data Breach Report 2015, “70-90% of malware samples are unique to an organization.”What careers will a malware certification prepare me for?The most common career would be a malware analyst. They work to examine, identify, and understand the nature of cyber-threats. Because malicious code comes in many different forms, a malware analyst must be thoroughly familiar with both interpreted and compiled programming languages and must possess a keen understanding of both reverse engineering and software development.Malware analysts recommend and sometimes carry out procedures designed to help systems recover from any damage inflicted, but the majority of their work is concerned with preventing the spread of malware in the first place.Other related titles this certification will qualify you for are: security analyst, vulnerability researcher, computer crime investigator, incident responder, computer forensics analyst and eventually, CISO.Common personality types of malware analysts:
  • Fast learner
  • Able to make sense of complicated scenarios
  • Likes solving puzzles
  • Able to think outside the box
  • Understands the scientific method and can apply it to an analysis
  • Resourceful
Why get your malware certification?This certification proves your ability to understand characteristics of real-world malware, so you can better respond to incidents and reinforce defenses. Plus, professionals who possess these skills are relatively rare in the industry, but extremely valuable.Who is the target audience?Anyone looking to increase their understanding of the most common vulnerabilities and advance their career to hold one of the positions mentioned above.What will I learn?
  • What malware is
  • What the different types of malware are
  • How different types of malware work
  • How to recognize common malware
  • How to perform dynamic and static analysis on all major file types
  • How to carve malicious executables
What is the best course of study?The best approach when studying for a certification, even a micro certification, is to complete the corresponding course in its entirety. If there is one particular area where you are struggling, use the search bar at the top of the site to locate other resources that explore that area in greater depth. Likewise, notecards are a useful tool to take advantage of during your coursework that can help you review right before testing.Topics to focus on when studying:
  • “Run time” analysis
  • Debugging
  • Disassembling malicious binaries
  • Network traffic analysis
What is the malware exam format?With a skill level of beginner, this multiple-choice exam consists of 40 questions, which you must complete in 60 minutes. In order to obtain the certification, you must receive a passing grade of 70% or higher.By obtaining your micro certification, you also receive 3 CPE/CEU hours.How do I know if I’m ready for the exam?Try the practice exam first. You can access it here.Additional malware study resources:“Done for You” –List of Malware Training VideosSimple Static Malware AnalyzerFileless MalwareHow to Identify Malware/ Spyware AttacksAn Introduction to Trojan Horse MalwareThe Ultimate Malware Removal GuideI’m ready for the exam. Now what?Great! You can take the Malware Fundamentals Micro Certification here. Once, you’ve earned the certification, be sure to include it on LinkedIn and list it within your resume.In a future post crafted especially for students and beginners, I’ll discuss tips for career fairs and how to make the best first impression.One last thing:Use code OBLOG50 for half off your next Micro Certification. The Cybrary team also features micro certifications weekly with discount codes. You can find those codes across social media, in the newsletter and hidden within the site. Promoted codes expire each Sunday at midnight EST.
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