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Ace the GIAC GCIH Exam: Insider Strategies for Top Scores

What Is the GIAC GCIH Certification?

The GIAC GCIH (GIAC Certified Incident Handler) Certification is a globally recognized accreditation that validates your skills and expertise in incident handling, response, and recovery within cybersecurity. This certification is awarded by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), known for its rigorous testing and high standards in the field. Achieving the GCIH certification demonstrates your ability to effectively manage and respond to security incidents, making you an asset to any organization concerned about its digital security.

Exam Format

The GIAC GCIH certification exam is designed to test your practical skills in incident handling. The exam format includes.

  • Exam Name: GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
  • Exam Code: GCIH
  • Exam Price: $949 (USD)
  • Duration: 240 minutes (4 hours)
  • Number of Questions: 106
  • Passing Score: 70%

Regarding GIAC exams, here’s the positive aspect – they are conducted in an open-book format. This means you have the privilege of bringing certain printed books and notes into the testing area to aid you during the exam. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution because the workspace allocated for your use is limited. Therefore, it’s essential to plan your resources accordingly. While you’re granted permission to have reference materials on hand, there are specific limitations you should be aware of. Although the GCIH certification exam is an open book, it is not available for internet access or computer use. Additionally, it’s important to note that any printed materials containing or referencing practice exam questions or their answers are strictly prohibited.

GIAC GCIH Certification Exam Topics

The GCIH exam covers a vast range of syllabus topics, including but not limited to.

  • Detecting Covert Communications: The candidate will showcase a comprehension of how to detect, protect against, and alleviate the utilization of concealed utilities like Netcat.
  • Detecting Evasive Techniques: The candidate will show an understanding of how to recognize, safeguard against, and reduce the effectiveness of techniques employed by attackers to erase signs of intrusion and conceal their presence.
  • Detecting Exploitation Tools: The candidate will exhibit comprehension of methods to recognize, safeguard against, and mitigate the utilization of Metasploit.
  • Drive-By Attacks: The candidate will showcase an understanding of how to recognize, protect against, and mitigate drive-by attacks in contemporary settings.
  • Endpoint Attack and Pivoting: The candidate will display an understanding of how to recognize, protect against, and mitigate attacks targeting endpoints and attack pivoting.
  • Incident Response and Cyber Investigation: The candidate will exhibit an understanding of Incident Handling, its significance, comprehension of the PICERL incident handling process, and industry best practices in Incident Response and Cyber Investigations.
  • Memory and Malware Investigation: The candidate will showcase an understanding of the essential steps required to conduct basic memory forensics, encompassing the collection and analysis of processes and network connections and rudimentary malware analysis in traditional and cloud-based environments.
  • Network Investigations: The candidate will display an understanding of the procedures required to conduct successful digital investigations involving network data.
  • Networked Environment Attack: The candidate will exhibit an understanding of how to recognize, protect against, and mitigate attacks in shared-use environments, encompassing Windows Active Directory and cloud-based environments.
  • Password Attacks: The candidate will show a comprehensive understanding of the three techniques for password cracking.
  • Post-Exploitation Attacks: The candidate will exhibit an understanding of how attackers establish persistence, gather data, and detect and defend against an intruder already present in both traditional network and cloud environments.
  • Reconnaissance and Open-Source Intelligence: The candidate will display an understanding of how to recognize, protect against, and reduce the impact of public and open-source reconnaissance techniques.
  • Scanning and Mapping: The candidate will showcase a grasp of the basics of identifying, defending against, and mitigating scanning techniques, which include network and host discovery, service mapping, and vulnerability detection.
  • SMB Scanning: The candidate will exhibit an understanding of how to recognize, protect against, and mitigate reconnaissance and scanning activities targeting SMB (Server Message Block) services.
  • Web App Attacks: The candidate will show an understanding of how to recognize, defend against, and mitigate web application attacks.

It’s crucial to fully grasp these topics before attempting the exam.

Who is GIAC GCIH Certification for?

  • Incident Responders
  • Incident Response Team Leaders
  • IT Administrators
  • Cybersecurity Professionals
  • Security Designers
  • Any Security Personnel Serving as Initial Responders

Benefits of GIAC GCIH Certification

Obtaining a GCIH (GIAC Certified Incident Handler) certification offers several benefits, as it equips individuals with the basic skills needed to handle and respond to computer security incidents effectively. Here are some of the key benefits.

  • Enhanced Cybersecurity Skills: GCIH certification provides individuals with a solid incident handling and response foundation. It equips them with the knowledge and skills to promptly identify, assess, and mitigate security incidents.
  • Improved Incident Response: Certified professionals are better prepared to respond to security incidents efficiently. They understand the best practices for containing and remediating incidents minimizing potential damage to systems and data.
  • Reduced Business Risks: With GCIH-certified personnel on board, organizations can reduce the risks associated with security incidents. Effective incident response can help prevent data breaches, financial losses, and damage to an organization’s prestige.
  • Career Advancement: GCIH certification is widely recognized in the cybersecurity field. It can open doors to new job opportunities and career advancement. Employers often seek certified incident handlers to strengthen their cybersecurity teams.
  • Demonstrated Expertise: A GCIH certification verifies your expertise and commitment to cybersecurity incident handling. It validates your knowledge and skills, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.
  • Increased Confidence: Knowing how to handle security incidents effectively can boost the confidence of IT professionals and cybersecurity teams. They are better prepared to deal with unexpected situations and challenges.
  • Compliance Requirements: Some organizations and industries have compliance requirements that mandate having certified incident handlers as part of their cybersecurity strategy. GCIH certification can help meet these requirements.
  • Networking Opportunities: Becoming GCIH-certified allows you to join a community of cybersecurity professionals who share knowledge and experiences. Networking within this community can provide valuable insights and support throughout your career.
  • Continuous Learning: Maintaining GCIH certification often requires ongoing education and training, keeping professionals updated with the latest trends and techniques in incident handling and response.

Getting Ready for Achievement

1. Study Resources

Live Training

  • Live training refers to instructor-led courses or workshops where a qualified trainer imparts knowledge and skills to participants in a real-time, interactive setting.
  • These sessions can be guided in person or virtually through webinars or video conferencing.
  • Live training provides immediate feedback and the ability to ask questions directly to the instructor.
  • It’s an effective learning method, especially for complex or hands-on subjects.


  • OnDemand training typically involves accessing pre-recorded video lectures or instructional materials at your own pace.
  • These resources are available 24/7, allowing you to learn at your convenience.
  • OnDemand courses often contain supplementary materials like quizzes, assignments, and discussion forums for self-assessment and peer interaction.

Practical Work Experience

  • Practical work experience involves applying the knowledge and skills learned in training or coursework to real-world situations.
  • This can be accomplished through internships, training, or job positions related to the subject matter.
  • Practical experience is crucial for gaining hands-on proficiency and often plays a significant role in achieving certification.

Self-Paced Study through Another Program or Materials

  • The self-paced study involves learning independently using resources like textbooks, online tutorials, or specialized study materials.
  • It allows you to set your learning pace and customize your study approach.
  • This method suits self-motivated individuals who prefer flexibility in their learning process.

2. Practice Tests

Practice tests are planned to simulate the exam experience, helping you become familiar with the test engine and the types of questions you’ll encounter. They serve several purposes.

  • Familiarization: Practice tests allow you to get comfortable with the format of the actual exam. This includes understanding the test interface and how questions are presented.
  • Assessment: They serve as a gauge to assess whether your preparation methods are sufficient. You can identify areas to improve your knowledge or skills by taking practice tests.
  • Repetition: It’s important to note that the practice bank of questions is limited. You may encounter the same questions in different tests if you purchase multiple practice tests. This repetition can help reinforce your understanding of key concepts.
  • No Actual Exam Questions: Practice exams are created to help you prepare but do not include actual questions from the real exam. GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) ensures that exam questions remain confidential and secure.

While practice tests are a valuable tool for exam preparation, GIAC recommends using additional study methods alongside them to enhance your chances of success in the actual exam.


You’ve embarked on a journey toward becoming a certified incident handler with the GIAC GCIH Certification. Remember, preparation is the key to success. Use the information and tips in this guide to plan your path to certification.