All posts by CertBlaster

A+ (Plus) Certification 220-1101

We are well on the way to have a new A+ certification available in the first quarter of 2022. The new exam version is A+ (Plus) Certification 220-1101. Here are important details regarding the new test and the previous release.

Click here for our A+ Exam Simulator for 220-1001 & 220-1002

The date and pricing are estimates based on our experience. We know that the life cycle on the A+ exam is 3 years and given that the current A+ Core 1 (A+220-1001) release date was Jan 15, 2019, we can expect to see the new A+ Core 1 test be available in January 2022, presumably January 15th. The CompTIA voucher cost is likely to be $232.00. Would pricing information change we would update this information if and when a new price would listed.

Exam Release vs. Certification Status

Understanding the difference between Exam availability and Certification validity is important when deciding which test you want to take. Your certification will be valid for a full 3 years from the date you become certified regardless of which test you take. If you pass the 220-1001 Core 1 in December 2021 your certification will be valid until December 2024 and even though the exam is retired, you will still be certified. There will be an approximately six months overlap period, the “grace period”, where both the 220-1001 and 220-1101 tests will be available simultaneously. This allows you to take either version of the test depending on the state of your preparation. Certifications achieved during this overlap period will be valid for the full 3 years irrespective of the version you choose to sit for, so make sure to take the version you are best prepared for.

Some Details on A+ (Plus) Certification 220-1101

It is recommended (but not required) that you have a minimum of 12 months of hands-on experience as a help desk support technician, desktop support technician, or field service technician. If you do not have that level of experience you may be able to compensate for that with training. Your test will contain a maximum of 90 questions, and you will have 90 minutes to complete it. The questions will be multiple choice and performance based. The new A+ (Plus) Certification 220-1101 Objectives break down as follows:

Domain Description Percentage of Exam
1.0 Mobile Devices 15%
2.0 Networking 20%
3.0 Hardware 25%
4.0 Virtualization and Cloud Computing 11%
5.0 Hardware and Network Troubleshooting 29%
Total 100%

Each Domain will contain specific sub-domains with all the items necessary to cover the A+ (Plus) Certification 220-1101. These exam objectives will be published at the same time that the A+ (Plus) Certification 220-1101 is released to the testing centers.

Question Types

There are two main question types multiple-choice, and performance based. We will use the CertBlaster Exam Simulator to illustrate these.

Multiple Choice Questions – MCQ

First here is a standard multiple-choice single answer that we all know from school if nothing else. There is only one correct response to this type of question. Next is a variation on the multiple-choice single answer that uses a graphic to display an object that needs to be identified. In CertBlaster clicking, the Show Exhibit button brings up the item that needs to be identified, see below.

screenshot of A+ 220-1101 Exhibit question
Example of an Exhibit question for A+ 220-1101

The next question type is the multiple-choice multiple answers. We are still within the domain of multiple-choice but In this question, there is more than one correct response. A quick visual marker to help alert you to the fact that you need to provide more than one answer is the square checkboxes as opposed to the round radio buttons for single answer questions. All CompTIA exams have that particularity.

Screenshot of an A+ 1101 Multiple choice - multiple answer
A+ 220-1101 Multiple choice multiple answers. Note the square checkboxes.

Performance based questions (PBQ)

Performance based questions have you perform a task. Here you are asked to create a RAID Level 1 mirrored disk. We’ll just show two steps out of this multiple step task to illustrate the process, see PBQ 1 and PBQ 2 below. In this question, you launch the Disk Management console then take the steps necessary to complete the required action. The simulations used in both the CompTIA A+ and the CertBlaster are just that, simulations. You won’t be able to simply click around and hope to get lucky. Below is the start screen of a Performance Based Question.

Screenshot of CertBlaster A+ 1101 Performance base question start screen
Performance based question start screen – PBQ1
Screenshot of CertBlaster A+ 1101 Performance base question Disk Management console
Performance based question: Disk Management console – PBQ2

Test Taking Tips for the A+ (Plus) Certification 220-1101

All CompTIA tests are timed and need to be completed before the timer expires. The A+ (Plus) Certification 1101 exam must be taken within a 90-minute span and the number of questions is a maximum of 90 (typically 84-85) so time management is of the essence to your success. Some questions will only take a few seconds to answer, while others will take a bit longer. Do not get stuck on anything that will eat your clock. You can mark these questions for later and return to them later. We strongly suggest that you go through the test completely and answer the items you can quickly respond to and skip nut mark the ones that require more time. You will see that after this first pass you will have answered a considerable number of questions in a relatively short amount of time. Now you can go back and deal with anything that you need more time for. This approach is the safest because it ensures you answer everything you know first. It also builds confidence by letting you develop a time bank and so enables you to spend more time on the more challenging questions.

Click here for our A+ Exam Simulator for 220-1001 & 220-1002

Good luck with the test!


Published August 3, 2021 in A+ 220-1101CompTIA

Difference between A plus 220-1102 and A+ 220-1001 exams

There is much anticipation for the new A plus 220-1102 exam. Here we share what we believe you should expect to see in the new exam objectives. These are not exactly what you will see on the test, only our best guess as to what is new based on our considerable history with the certification. We compare the A plus 220-1102 exam to the A+ 220-1001 CompTIA Main Domain by Main Domain.

Main Domain 1.0 – Operating systems

Microsoft OS Editions

Naturally, you will have to have a good working knowledge of Windows 10. We expect to see deeper coverage in the Windows features included in each edition. Understand, for example, why you cannot use Remote Desktop on a Home edition installation. Will your current version support BitLocker? Know each edition and its capabilities. You will need to know the processors and the amount of RAM supported by the various editions.

Screenshot of a Performance Based question for A+
A+ Performance-Based Question on Windows 10 in the CertBlaster Exam Simulator

Features and Tools

Understand the relationship between the MMC and its Snap-ins including gpedit.msc to edit Group Policies. The MMC is a powerful interface, and the available snap-ins can control most aspects of system and user operation. Here you can manage your storage devices, schedule tasks, and monitor system performance. The MMC can control both local and remote devices.  Event Viewer is accessed through the MMC and will display crucial information from the local or remote host. pretty handy.

Command Line

You should be prepared to execute the appropriate Microsoft command-line tools to diagnose or repair a Windows system based on a given scenario. Why would pathping provide more useful information in your scenario than tracert? Your objectives will contain a complete list of these commands. Navigation at the Command Prompt is important. You should have a solid foundation and be comfortable in this environment. Make directories, remove them change to a different drive and directory. move files between these drives. This type of knowledge will help you if you find yourself in a situation where a GUI is inaccessible.

Control Panel

The “go-to” configuration tool for most aspects of the system, the Control Panel contains all important system configuration options.  You will need to know how to access the Control Panel and modify your system settings. Know all the utilities here.

Microsoft has made some of these settings user-friendly by incorporating a Settings interface that provides a lower level of configuration and keeps novice users from doing any harm. In Settings, you can personalize your system, install apps and features, check and change your connection settings, and review and adjust your privacy settings. You will need to know the system requirements for any apps you intend to install.

A screenshot of Windows 10 Control Panel in Category View.
Windows 10 Control Panel in Category View.

Expect to see a greater amount of Linux and macOS covered. Be familiar with these Operating Systems. The Linux portion will surely contain a litany of commands. Get into a Linux OS and learn the commands. You can use the 220-1001 commands as a partial guide. The same is true for the macOS, while it is more GUI-based the old objectives are a good foundation.

We expect this domain to remain close to 1.0 in A+ 220-1001 but adding the above items and generally go a little more into detail. Below is a link to the current A+ exam objectives would you need to review them.

Click here to download the A+ 1001 & 1002 exam objectives.

Main Domain 2.0 – Security

Expect all aspects of security covered in previous editions to be included here. The physical aspects won’t be changed appreciably. Security is a broad topic so expect to see everything from user permissions and port blocking to be covered. Browser configuration best practices will address vulnerabilities. Be sure to know how to secure your browser.

Graphic showing a complex wide area network connected to the internet
Security+ complex network

Click here to access our free A+ 220-1002 Study Guide.

Main Domain 3.0 – Software Troubleshooting

Here we’ll see an increased emphasis on imaging and restoration. These will most likely be scenario-based so read them carefully.

the proliferation of new apps can be problematic. Expect to see new objectives aimed at how to deal with misbehaving applications.

Screenshot of Troubleshooting applet
Troubleshooting applet

Be ready for specific content aimed at mobile device security and how to troubleshoot common OS and app security.

Click here for a free sample of A+ 220-1002 practice questions.

Main Domain 4.0 – Operational Procedures

Here we expect to see a deeper look at how problem resolution is documented and tracked. We anticipate coverage of the handling of trouble tickets from top to bottom including severity, escalation, and documentation.

You can expect to see more coverage regarding app testing in VMs and Sandboxes.

The new A plus 1102 is expected to go live end of Q4, 2021

December 31, 2021, is the expected release date for the new A plus 1102. Things can change but even if they do it should not be by too much as CompTIA is on a three-year plan for the update of all its main certification programs.

This is it for now but we will update this post as more information becomes available so stay tuned!


Published June 18, 2021 in A+ 220-1102CompTIAExam Objectives

Expected difference between the A plus 220-1101 and A plus 220-1001 exams

The new A plus 220-1101 and A+ 220-1102 are coming within the next six months or so. Here we are taking a quick look, Main Domain by Main Domain, at the difference we expect to see between the A plus 220-1101 and A+ 220-1001 exams. We are soon going to post another one covering the expected differences between A plus 220-1102 and A+ 220-1002 so stay tuned!

Click here to download the A+ 1001 & 1002 exam objectives.

The main domains listed below are the ones found in A+ 220-1001 but we discuss, from that vantage point, the areas we expect CompTIA to add for the new A plus 1101.

Main Domain 1.0 – Mobile Devices

Laptop hardware has always been covered, but now we can expect to see additional changes surrounding the security of these devices. In one of those changes, you can expect CompTIA to add the installation and configuration of biometric security features including fingerprint scanners and facial recognition covered in more depth. You will likely also need to understand how to safely and optimally migrate data from traditional Hard disks to newer faster SSD drives.

photo of a Micron 500 GB SSD
Example of an SSD, the Micron 500 GB SSD.

The display technologies you will need to know are no longer confined to laptop displays. Expect to see a deeper look at the mobile device display technologies. Not only are the types of display like LCD and OLED covered but expect to see comparisons of the technologies involved that affect latency, color accuracy, and viewing angle.

We anticipate considerable changes to the area of mobile device connectivity. The 220-1001 covers wireless/cellular data network connectivity. This will almost certainly be expanded to include the configuration for 3G/4G/5G cellular networks as well as the apps used by these networks and conventional wireless networks. We believe mobile device synchronization will be covered in more depth, including the apps that used any possible limitations like data caps.

5G network illustration on a background of a large city at night/
5G network illustration.

Click here to access our free A+ 220-1002 Study Guide.

Main Domain 2.0 Networking

There should not be very significant changes concerning ports and protocols. They are important enough to re-emphasize. You will, in all likelihood, still need to know the port numbers, the associated protocols, and their purpose.

The typical SOHO network has evolved to include IoT devices and fiber optic devices like the optical network terminal (ONT) so expect to see more of this in the new A+ 220-1101 exam objectives too.

Expect the standard 802.11 based protocols to be expanded to include 802.11ax i.e. WiFi 6.

You can also expect deeper coverage of network configuration protocols like DNS and DHCP.

Main Domain 3.0 Hardware

The network cabling in A+ 220-1101 should remain largely unchanged from the A+ 220-1001 with the probable addition of Cat 6a which doubles the bandwidth provided by Cat 6 from 250MHz to 500MHz.

The fastest RAM that is widely available is DDR4. We believe that when the 220-1101 test is available there will be a new DDR choice. DDR5 will effectively double today’s best DDR4, at a price, of course. Provided CompTIA squeezes this in time, it should be on the new exam.

3-D printers should be on the test. They have now become ubiquitous and are deployed in many companies while the prices are falling into the affordable range for consumers. Be familiar with the terminology used to describe the components, consumables, and process.

Click here for a free sample of A+ 220-1002 practice questions.

Main domain 4.0 Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Virtualization is a familiar topic and will not be new to A plus 220-1101. We expect to see increased emphasis on desktop virtualization. You should see Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in local deployments and in the cloud.

We also expect client-side virtualization to be included in the A plus 220-1101. Virtual Machines (VM) are useful in testing and development. The concept of a sandbox creates an environment where there is no interaction with the host.

Main Domain 5.0 Hardware and Network Troubleshooting

In this domain, we are not expecting too many differences with the A plus 220-1101 exam. The processes of hardware and network troubleshooting are well established.

When is the A plus 220-1101 going live?

We expect this exam to go live at the end of quarter 4, 2021. It could possibly be delayed by a bit but, if so, not by much.

Should I take the A plus 220-1001 now or wait for the new A+ 220-1101 exam?

The default is typically to just take the version available at the time you need to get certified, generally, there is no good reason to wait around for a future version. No matter what A+ version you sit for, you will be just as certified for three years from the date of the exam irrespective of “new” vs. “old”.

Grace Period

As with every major CompTIA exam release, there will be a six months “grace period” between the introduction of the new A plus 220-1101 and the retirement of the A+ 220-1001 exam. During this period, and only this period, you will be able to pick between the A plus 1101 and the A+ 1001 exam objectives.

What should then guide that choice? Mainly your state of training. If at the time of the grace period you have been training for A+ 220-1001, and are ready to go up for the test, then without hesitation sit for that exam. If you have not trained specifically for the A+ 220-1001, then just take a long hard look at both exam objectives and just pick the one you feel the most comfortable with.

No matter which version you pick, you will still remain certified for three years. One reason you may want to take the A+ 220-1001 over A plus 1101 is “the devil we know…”. Right now, there is more predictability in committing to A+ 220-1001…

Free A+ Study Guides

Are you studying for the A+ Exams? If so, check out our free A+ Study guide for exams 220-1001 and 220-1002, it covers every last A+ 1001 & 1002 exam objective as well as all the sub-objectives.

Five Steps to the CompTIA A+ Exam

This a six-page white paper explaining the CompTIA A+ exam in detail. Click on the link 5 Steps to A+ Certification Success. Under “Preferred Certification Track” select your exam.

Reasons given in a survey by employers for requiring certification.
Reasons given by employers for requiring certification.

Published June 14, 2021 in A+ 220-1101CompTIAWhats New

Why IT Certification?

NOTE: What we won’t cover here are salaries, compensation, and job growth. If that is what you are curious about click here for our article about IT pay in 2021.

Competence is front and center

The number one reason why you would care about certification, other than having it required by your employer, is probably to deepen and formalize your skills and knowledge and by doing so setting yourself apart. There is no question you can go far on trial and error and the experience that comes with that. However, you know that this method leaves you with blind spots. Filling those blind spots is a not trivial confidence booster. Not only that but guess what? Many employers rely on formal knowledge and skills to make sure they don’t hire too many blind spots…

Infographic showing certification statistics
The root cause of certification in the IT sector is the high need for competency.

Requirements

Although fundamentally important, pure competency is not the only factor behind the growth of certification. This is maybe especially true for IT certification for support personnel where some employers will require certification for specific job roles.  An example that stands out is of course the Department of Defense (DoD) that has a whole list of certifications it requires. A notable one is Security+ certification that it often requires not only for its own employees but also for its sub-contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and many more.

So between employers seeking to hire to a known standard of competency, IT professionals wanting to sharpen their skills, and some large organizations mandating certification it’s no wonder that IT certification has grown so strong.

We above, a little vaguely, talked about “setting you apart” with IT Certification. Here we can see here that a bit more specifically that IT Certification puts you in the top 20% among IT professionals.

Shows man at his desk thinking about reasons to be IT certified.
Ten million individuals are IT certified worldwide.

Varying corporate needs

We have touched above on the main reasons employers want IT professionals to be certified and below is a survey performed by the Frost & Sullivan consultancy that goes a little deeper into those reasons. It comes as no surprise that the number one consideration is competency as discussed above. The second choice, “quality of work” is intimately related to the first one if not the same thing altogether. Regulatory requirements here seem to be related to the last one “customer requirements”. which relates to the DoD example we cited above.

“Company policy” we can see an example of at Best Buy’s Geek Squad which as a policy requires all their support technicians to be A+ Certified. This is of course because they want qualified employees but also because they want to be able to demonstrate to their customers, and indeed reassure them that only qualified people will work on their equipment.

Reasons given in a survey by employers for requiring certification.

Reasons that were given by employers for requiring certification.

Who demands it?

So, in addition to the DoD and the Geek Squad, who else requires some or all of their IT staff to be certified? Below graphic shows a partial list. Many of these employers are manufacturers of computer hardware or devices. They have generally been a strong driver of IT certification because some of them require that only IT-certified staff work on any warranty-related claims not only within their company but they also put that same requirement on the retailers selling their equipment. This puts the retailers in a situation where they also have to employ certified staff. You can see how those things will snowball and impart a lot of momentum for certification.

Graphic of office buildings showing logos of companies.
Employers that require all or some of their employees to be IT certified.

Sources for this post: CertBlaster, DTI Publishing Corp, CompTIA, Frost & Sullivan. Robert Half International, Microsoft, ComputerWorld, Linux Foundation, (ISC2) Foundation.


Published February 17, 2021 in Jobs and careerLPIC-1Network+ N10-007PMP CertificationSecurity+ SY0-601

Security+ SY0-601 Practice Test

Below are 25 Security plus SY0-601 practice test questions. In all of them, you will have the question text first, the distracters, and correct answer(s) second, then an explanation, and finally which CompTIA main domain and exam objective the question pertains to. Any Security+ preparation should start with an in-depth review of the exam objectives. If you do not have them then click here to download the Security+ SY0-601 Exam Objectives PDF.

This Security plus SY0-601 practice test offers you questions addressing all the CompTIA Main Domains and many of the exam objectives.

Security plus SY0-601 Practice Test  – Question 1 

This technique adds malicious code to the beginning of a file. It ensures that the malware is activated when the user opens the modified file.

Prepending
Tainting
Appending
None of these

Correct answer: Prepending

Explanation: Prepending is adding code to the beginning of a presumably safe file. It activates when the file is opened. Appending malware adds the code to the end of the file. Tainting is not relevant to the subject.

Main Domain 1.0 Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
Exam Objective 1.1 Compare and contrast different types of social engineering techniques.

Question 2

Of the choices shown, which is the MOST prevalent malware attack vector?

Email
Wireless
Removeable media
Supply chain

Correct answer: email

Explanation: Easily over 90% of malware is delivered via good old-fashioned email, where the user can be tricked into activating the malicious payload. Wireless attacks exist in the open, but the current WAPs are configured to protect the users. USB sticks are prevalent and can be used maliciously by simply dropping an infected item in your company’s parking lot. Most users would simply plug it in at their desk and they are infected. The supply chain consists of manufacturers, vendors and any source that helps implement delivery of the finished product. There are numerous opportunities to infect products.

Main Domain 1.0 Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
Exam Objective 1.2 Given a scenario, analyze potential indicators to determine the type of attack.

Question 3

Which of the choices does BEST describe the purpose of diversity training?

Enable employees with dissimilar backgrounds to operate effectively together
Encourage the employee to view situations from the perspective of others
Help employees discredit and overcome common prejudicial stereotypes
Improve the employee’s values and relations in the corporate environment
All of these are correct

Correct answer: Enable employees with dissimilar backgrounds to operate effectively together

Explanation: While all the choices are relevant, the best choice would be to enable employees with dissimilar backgrounds to operate effectively together as this is the main objective of diversity training. The three detractors, although all in and by themselves correct statements are the means to the end that can be achieved by assisting the employee in improving their personal values by viewing things from the perspective of others and discrediting prejudice.

Main Domain 5.0 Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Exam Objective 5.3 Explain the importance of policies to organizational security

Question 4

In 2015 researchers Lindsey, King, Hebl, & Levine tested three diversity training techniques for employee development. Which choice is NOT one of those techniques?

Perspective-taking
Goal setting
Sensitivity training
Stereotype discrediting

Correct answer: Sensitivity training

Explanation: The research conducted by Lindsey, King, Hebl, & Levine in 2015 tested
three strategies of diversity training. These were Perspective taking, Goal setting, and Stereotype discrediting. Sensitivity training, while important, was not part of the study.

Main Domain 5.0 Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Exam Objective 5.3 Explain the importance of policies to organizational security

Question 5

Credit card transactions are prime targets for hackers. Which of the choices listed specifies the controls necessary to provide secure transactions?

State laws
GPDR
NIST
PCI DSS

Correct answer: PCI DSS

Explanation: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) provides the framework to continuously monitor and enforce the controls specified. The General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR is a legal framework focused on personal information. The National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST is also broader in scope. State laws although necessary, are not sufficient as they, in and by themselves, would not stop a hacker.

Main Domain 5.0 Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Exam Objective 5.2 Explain the importance of applicable regulations, standards, or frameworks that impact the organizational security posture

Question 6

Secure network provenance (SNP) enables network operators to understand why they are in a particular state. Which of the choices is part of SNP?

Use forensic analytics
Determine why suspicious entries appear in routing tables
Determine the origin of a suspicious entry
Identify faulty network equipment
All of these are correct

Correct answer: All of these are correct

Explanation: Secure network provenance uses forensic techniques to analyze the how’s and why’s of adversarial tactics. Routing tables are scrutinized as they can be the origin of suspicious activity on devices. This process will also allow operators to identify faulty equipment.

Main Domain 4.0 Operations and Incident Response
Exam Objective 4.5 Explain the key aspects of digital forensics

Question 7

You are in a meeting with the members involved in your business continuity plan (BCP) to address a simulated emergency. This hands-off discussion centers around the actions to be taken in an emergency along with how those actions will be tested. How is this meeting classified?

Walkthrough
Tabletop
Simulation
Eradication

Correct answer: Tabletop

Explanation: A tabletop exercise is designed to allow all parties responsible for security and business continuity to share the actions that would be taken in an emergency scenario. This is a setting where concept sharing is encouraged. A walkthrough exercise involves taking the outcome of a tabletop exercise and validating the processes recommended. Simulation uses a backup of the assets in an emergency scenario. Eradication includes the actions necessary to neutralize the threat.

Main Domain 4.0 Operations and Incident Response
Exam Objective 4.3 Given an incident, utilize appropriate data sources to support an investigation

Question 8

Which of the choices shown is an embedded system IC (integrated circuit) chip? (Choose two)

Arduino
FPGA
Raspberry Pi
Subscriber Identity Module
Wearables

Correct answers: FPGA and Arduino

Explanation: Intel’s field-programmable gate array (FPGA) allows system designers to easily make changes to the code embedded on the chip. Arduino is a microcontroller that runs a single instruction repeatedly. Raspberry Pi is a mini-computer and operating system that runs on embedded components. A Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) holds the activation information on cell phones or smartphones. Wearables are not embedded systems.

Main Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
Exam Objective 2.6 Explain the security implications of embedded and specialized systems

Question 9

You have a new drone and take it to a large field out near the airport. It seems that you can fly freely in all but one direction. What would cause this?

Geotagging
Geolocation
Geofencing
GPS tagging

Correct answer: Geofencing

Explanation: Geofencing around the airport ensures your drone is prevented from flying towards the airport. Airports, government facilities, and other critical sites use geofencing to create a no-fly zone that the drone software will not cross. Geolocation is the process of using GPS to determine your exact location or the location of some device. Geotagging adds additional location data to images and messages sent from your device. GPS tagging is simply another term for geotagging.

Main Domain 3.0 Implementation
Exam Objective 3.5 Given a scenario, implement secure mobile solutions

Question 10

This cyber-attack framework utilizes a globally accessible database based on real-world attacks and techniques.

MITRE
Diamond
Cyber Kill Chain
None of these

Correct answer: MITRE

Explanation: The MITRE ATT&CK framework contains methods and techniques used in real-world attacks and can be referenced globally. It is updated frequently. Cyber Kill Chain is a model as is the Diamond Model of Intrusion Analysis.

Main Domain 4.0 Operations and Incident Response
Exam Objective 4.2 Summarize the importance of policies, processes, and procedures for incident response

Question 11

Which of the malware and threats shown runs automatically as a Windows Startup program or service and does NOT use its own executable file?

Worm

Crypto malware

Fileless virus

Logic bomb

Correct answer: Fileless virus

Explanation: The fileless virus is different than traditional malware that is launched by the user opening an infected object. This type loads directly into memory and can persist through system reboots.

Main Domain: 1.0 Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Exam Objective: 1.2 Given a scenario, analyze potential indicators to determine the type of attack.

Question 12

Adversarial artificial intelligence (AI) attacks are remarkably effective when the malware can manipulate which of these choices? Choose the best answer.

Ports

Machine training data

Downgrading

None of these are correct

Correct answer: Machine training data

Explanation:  AI learns from input and operational feedback from the device. Its evolution is reliant on the integrity of the data provided to it. When an adversary can access the machine training data the smallest change to the instructions can have exponential results.

Main Domain: 1.0 Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Exam Objective: 1.2 Given a scenario, analyze potential indicators to determine the type of attack.

Question 13

Using an unmanned aerial device to identify accessible WAPs is commonly referred to as one of the choices below.

War tagging

War flying

Footprinting

War driving

Correct answer: War flying

Explanation: The familiar process of war driving has been given wings in the form of drones. Now reconnaissance can be conducted using drones fitted with Wi-Fi analyzers to gather information about accessible WAPs.

Main Domain: 1.0 Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Exam Objective: 1.8 Explain the techniques used in penetration testing.

Question 14

Which of the intrusion detection models listed addresses mitigation of the attack?

MITRE

Diamond

Cyber Kill Chain

None of these

Correct answer:  Diamond

Explanation: The Diamond model of intrusion detection analysis is a process that identifies threats and provides analytic techniques to actively respond to attacks as opposed to simply identifying them.

Main Domain: 4.0 Operations and Incident Response

Exam Objective: 4.2 Summarize the importance of policies, processes, and procedures for incident response.

Question 15

This command will allow you to query the contents of the systemd journal when used without arguments.

Sudo

Cat

Journalctl

Logger

Correct answer: Journalctl

Explanation: By default, the journalctl command will display the contents of the system file. Sudo escalates privilege. Cat reads files but requires a target file. Logger enables you to add instructions to a logfile.

Main Domain: 4.0 Operations and Incident Response

Exam Objective: 4.3 Given an incident, utilize appropriate data sources to support an investigation.

Question 16

Which of the choices is a password attack type that reduces multiple attempt account lockouts by using a single common password against a large number of accounts?

Combing

Spraying

Sequenced

Rainbow

Correct answer: Spraying

Explanation   Password spraying is essentially the opposite of a brute force attack. A brute force attack will target a single account and attempt huge numbers of password combinations. The account is locked by policy. Password spraying is often called low and slow.  It works by using the same password against every account. This works because the amount of time it takes to cycle through all the accounts is long enough to allow the process to repeat using a new password without causing a lockout. Lockouts occur when multiple incorrect logins are attempted in a short period of time.

Main Domain: 1.0 Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities

Exam Objective: 1.2 Given a scenario, analyze potential indicators to determine the type of attack.

Question 17

This object can be used to maliciously gain unauthorized workstation and network access.

USB cable

Flash drive

Card clone

All of these

Correct answer: All of these

Explanation: All the responses are true. Removable media like a flash drive can transmit malware with ease. Card cloning (aka. Skimming) creates a duplicate copy of the card data. The data can be manipulated and/or transferred to another card. The reduction in the size of transceivers now makes it possible to create a USB cable that can communicate with the attacker wirelessly without the user’s knowledge.

Main Domain: 1.0 Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities

Exam Objective: 1.2 Given a scenario, analyze potential indicators to determine the type of attack.

Question 18

Which of the choices provided defines a threat using services accessed by different apps without approval. It does this using the OAuth from an approved SaaS app like Microsoft 365 or Google G Suite.

Dark web

Shadow IT

SSO

None of these.

Correct answer: Shadow IT

Explanation: With IT based hardware proliferating, users are likely to use smartphones for example, to check corporate email. OAuth-enabled apps can be allowed access to shared data with a user’s credentials creating a larger attack surface. The apps can access shared data cloud to cloud, bypassing the company network and its protections.

Main Domain: 1.0 Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities

Exam Objective: 1.5 Explain different threat actors, vectors, and intelligence sources.

Question 19

Which of the choices shown is an embedded system IC (integrated circuit) chip? (Choose two)

Arduino

FPGA

Raspberry Pi

Subscriber Identity Module

Wearables

Correct answer: FPGA, Arduino

Explanation: Intel’s field programmable gate array (FPGA) allows system designers to easily make changes to the code embedded on the chip. Arduino is a microcontroller that runs a single instruction repeatedly. Raspberry Pi is mini-computer and operating system that runs on embedded components. A Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) holds the activation information on cell phones or smartphones. Wearables are not embedded systems.

Main Domain: 2.0 Architecture and Design

Exam Objective: 2.6 Explain the security implications of embedded and specialized systems.

Question 20

You have been asked to update your campus wireless coverage area. The objective is to identify signal leaks around your buildings that can be intercepted by hackers. The campus consists of four buildings spread over 600 acres. Choose the best option for quickly performing this assessment?

Drone

Wireless cracker

Packet capture

Collector

Correct answer: Drone

Explanation: The best way to collect your data is to use a drone fitted with a Wi-Fi analyzer. This will illustrate any areas where a misplaced or overpowered WAP can compromise your data. A wireless cracker is not needed, nor is packet capture at this point. A collector would not be used here.

Main Domain: 3.0 Implementation

Exam Objective: 3.5 Given a scenario, implement secure mobile solutions.

Question 21

You have a new drone and take it to a large field out near the airport. It seems that you can fly freely in all but one direction. What would cause this?

Geotagging

Geolocation

Geofencing

GPS tagging

Correct answer: Geofencing

Explanation: Geofencing around the airport ensures your drone is prevented from flying towards the airport. Airports, government facilities, and other critical sites use geofencing to create a no-fly zone that the drone software will not cross. Geolocation is the process of using GPS to determine your exact location or the location of some device. Geotagging adds additional location data to images and messages sent from your device. GPS tagging is simply another term for geotagging.

Main Domain: 3.0 Implementation

Exam Objective: 3.5 Given a scenario, implement secure mobile solutions.

Question 22

Which of the intrusion detection models listed addresses mitigation of the attack?

MITRE

Diamond

Cyber Kill Chain

None of these

Correct answer:  Diamond

Explanation: The Diamond model of intrusion detection analysis is a process that identifies threats and provides analytic techniques to actively respond to attacks as opposed to simply identifying them.

Main Domain: 4.0 Operations and Incident Response

Exam Objective: 4.2 Summarize the importance of policies, processes, and procedures for incident response.

Question 23

The ipfix utility exports the data regarding the flow of IP based traffic to a _______.

Tcpdump

Collector

Logger

All of these

Correct answer:  Collector

Explanation: Ipfix captures IP traffic flow on a connection and pushes it to the collector.

Main Domain: 4.0 Operations and Incident Response

Exam Objective: 4.3 Given an incident, utilize appropriate data sources to support an investigation.

Question 24

You are in a meeting with the members involved in your business continuity plan (BCP) to address a simulated emergency. This hands-off discussion centers around the actions to be taken in an emergency along with how those actions will be tested. How is this meeting classified?

Walkthrough

Tabletop

Simulation

Eradication

Correct answer: Tabletop

Explanation: A tabletop exercise is designed to allow all parties responsible for security and business continuity to share the actions that would be taken in an emergency scenario. This is a setting where concept sharing is encouraged. A walkthrough exercise involves taking the outcome of a tabletop exercise and validating the processes recommended. Simulation uses a backup of the assets in an emergency scenario. Eradication includes the actions necessary to neutralize the threat.

Main Domain: 4.0 Operations and Incident Response

Exam Objective: 4.2 Summarize the importance of policies, processes, and procedures for incident response.

Question 25

Credit card transactions are prime targets for hackers. Which of the choices listed specifies the controls necessary to provide secure transactions?

State laws

GPDR

NIST

PCI DSS

Correct answer: PCI DSS

Explanation: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) provides the framework to continuously monitor and enforce the controls specified. The GDPR is a legal framework focused on personal information. The NIST is also broader in scope. State laws although necessary are not sufficient as they, in and by themselves, would not stop a hacker.

Main Domain: 5.0 Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Exam Objective: 5.2 Explain the importance of applicable regulations, standards, or frameworks that impact organizational security posture.

End of the Security plus SY0-601 practice test.

We hope you enjoyed these Security plus SY0-601 practice test questions. Best of luck with the exam!

Security plus SY0-601 Practice Test
Security Configuration and Analysis

Security plus SY0-601 Practice Test

 


Published November 30, 2020 in Security+ SY0-601

IT Salaries and Openings are Up in 2021!

Considering our incessant use of smartphones, tablets, computers, and other high-tech devices we are all dependent on, no wonder professionals IT salaries and openings are up in 2021! We are not kidding about those devices being constantly used and you know it because you are reading this on one of those!

IT Salaries and Openings are Up in 2021 - IT Skills Gap in the USA - 1 in 6 jobs go unfilled per CompTIA
IT Skills Gap in the USA per CompTIA

Here is some good news for anyone interested in IT Support: Several of the leading studies forecasting the 2017 IT job markets are listing PC Support, Networking, and Cyber Security in the top 10 fastest-growing jobs. This is just a quick overview as all this data is brand new and we wanted to share the gist of it with you all. We will take out the time to dig deeper into these studies and others and present a more detailed picture within a month or so.

2020 IDG Insider Pro and Computerworld IT Salary Survey

Let’s start with Computerworld’s study. According to their 2020 survey of 1,889 IT workers, a little over 70% of IT professionals saw a salary increase this year in spite of the Covid-19 situation. For IT staff the average increase is 6.1% going from a mean salary in 2019 of 83,472 to $88,571.

US News 10 Best Technology Jobs 2021

Moving on to US News’ 2021 “10 Best Technology Jobs” we are told that PC Support, Networking, and Cyber Security all made it to the top ten. The below table shows an excerpt from that data. The last column is just us matching the most relevant CompTIA IT Certification(s) for the positions listed.

Ranking* Position Projected openings Median salary Certification
#5 Information Security Analyst 35,500 $98,350 Security+
#6 Computer System Analyst 56,000 $88,740 Network+ and/or Security+
#8 Computer Systems Administrator 18,200 $82,050 Network+ and/or Security+
#9 Computer Support Specialist 83,100 $53,740 A+ (220-1001 & 220-1002)

*) Out of “top 10”.

Robert Half International 2021

IT salaries and openings are up in 2021 according to the staffing agency Robert Half International as well. Help desk and cybersecurity remains in high demand regardless of Covid-19. Help Desk professionals are part of the most in-demand tech jobs for 2021. Their annual survey for 2021 shows that annual Help Desk salaries are ranging from $35,250 (lower quartile for Tier 1 workers) to $82,000 for the 95th percentile for the top Tier 3 professional (see table below).

Technology Services & Operations – Help Desk

Position Lowest Quartile1) Upper 95th 2) Certification
Help desk Tier 1 $35,250 $57,250 A+ (220-1001 & 220-1002)
Help desk Tier 2 $41,500 $67,000 A+ (220-1001 & 220-1002)
Help desk Tier 3 $50,750 $82,000 A+ (220-1001 & 220-1002)
  • Lowest Quartile: Little or no prior experience, still developing relevant skills.
  • Upper 95th: Exceptionally strong skills, expertise, and experience.

Technology Services & Operations – Networking

Position Lowest Quartile1) 95th 2) Certification
Systems Engineer $90,000 $149,500 Network+ and/or Security+
Systems Administrator $70,000 $118,500 Network+ and/or Security+
Hardware Analyst $63,750 $108,500 Network+ and/or Security+
  • Lowest Quartile: Little or no prior experience, still developing relevant skills.
  • Upper 95th: Exceptionally strong skills, expertise, and experience.

Technology Services & Operations – Security

Position Lowest Quartile1) 95th 2) Certification
Network Security Engineer $105,500 $174,500 Security+ and/or Network+
Network Security Administrator $98,500 $166,250 Security+ and/or Network+
Systems Security Administrator $100,000 $168,500 Security+ and/or Network+
  • Lowest Quartile: Little or no prior experience, still developing relevant skills.
  • Upper 95th: Exceptionally strong skills, expertise, and experience.

That’s it for now but come back and visit us as we keep updating these reports as more data points come in. In the meantime, the good news is that IT salaries and openings are up in 2021 in spite of the Covid-19 situation we are all going through.

Shows man at his desk thinking about reasons to be IT certified.
Ten million individuals are IT certified worldwide.

Published September 25, 2020 in A+ 220-1001A+ 220-1002CompTIANetwork+ N10-007Security+ SY0-501Security+ SY0-601

New Security+ SY0-601

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! In this edition, we will try to answer some of the questions we hear most frequently relative to the new Security+ SY0-601 certification. Much of the concerns, as usual, center around what is new in this test revision but there is more to it so let’s get right into it.

What version should I take?

First, there is no black and white answer to this question. This is a decision an individual decision that needs to be made in part based on what level of prerequisite you possess. So you need to assess your current status. Here are some of the considerations that can guide your decision-making process.

Security+ dates and timelines

CompTIA refreshes exam content every 3 years by releasing a new exam in the case of Security + the SY0-501 was released in English on October 4th, 2017 giving it a retirement date on or about October 4th, 2020. The 3-year cycle applies to the exam itself, NOT your actual certification status. After passing the test your certification is good for 3 years from your certification date, regardless of which version of the exam you sat for. Given that a candidate who certifies on the last day of SY0-501 availability is certified for 3 years from that date, compared to a candidate who certifies on the SY0-601 on the same day, both candidates are just as Security+ certified until their expiration date 3 years later.

Existing or newly acquired knowledge

If you are currently an IT professional with hands-on experience in the subject matter and minimal study needs, you are in a good position to take the SY0-601. Use the exam objectives as your guide and make sure you know what the concepts are and also how they relate to other areas. At the time of this writing, there is not a great deal of information available at the “usual” sites like blogs and newsletters. This will grow over time but above all else make sure you are using reputable sources not exam crams and brain dumps.

Click here for the New Security+ SY0-601 Exam Simulator and Practice Test

If you are updating your certification you may be able to update it using Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Essentially these are credits for achievements outside of CompTIA that can be applied to your Security+. You may recertify at a reduced cost and without the uncertainty that a new test present. Most of the major companies’ certifications from Amazon to Symantec can be used to certify. At the time of this writing 50 CEUs are required to renew your Security+. Many Certification bodies provide enough CEUs to obtain the Security+ credential. CompTIA actually provides an app you can use to certify with your CEUs.

Time and expense invested in SY0-501 exam preparation

If you are new to the certification and have begun a course of study for the SY0-501 don’t worry. You have not wasted your time, money, and energy. After the release of the new Security+ SY0-601 at the exam centers, CompTIA offers a six months “grace period” during which you are still able to sit for the (then) old Security+ SY0-501. So if you are deep into your Security+ SY0-501 studies, you can just pick that one.

What’s new on the Exam?

In the objectives, content points have changed conceptually from terms like “Identify “something to “Compare and contrast” this with something else. Where the Security+ 501 asked you to identify objects, processes, or features, the new Security+ 601 expects you to be able to compare these points and their interoperability or lack thereof.

We expect to see the latest release of Security+ SY0-601 to cover the changes needed to keep pace with the dramatic evolution of the cybersecurity environment. The major changes are in the areas of Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities, and the tools and technologies used to mitigate these. Also expect deeper coverage of overall risk management strategies.

Not too long ago a lot of office setups looked a bit like this simple network:

Graphic showing New a simple network connected to the internet

…now it’s closer to this! A larger attack surface:

Graphic showing a complex wide area network connected to the internet

The most critical changes on the new Security+ SY0-601 Exam

Far and away the most critical changes relate to cloud technologies including the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) model. The world we live in has changed dramatically and the tools and technologies we use to safely navigate in this new environment have evolved rapidly to meet these new challenges.

The distinction between home and work has been lastingly blurred (in no small part due to COVID-19). This means that the devices we once only used casually can now be incorporated into our workspace. But not without security! Cloud security controls and solutions are critical components of cloud protection as mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones proliferate. Here you’ll see multiple device types, manufacturers, software, and operating systems interoperating.

Click here for the New Security+ SY0-601 Exam Simulator and Practice Test

What is essential here is your ability to quickly identify a problem by type and move towards a solution. Since you have dozens of physical device manufacturers producing the equipment being used along with the multiple operating systems (including different versions of the same OS), the tools you use to monitor your traffic and identify weaknesses have become more robust. For example, the UTM is not new to Security+ but the emphasis on this has moved from treating it as a troubleshooting tool to it being an integral part of a secure network implementation.

Another area that had been more or less glossed over is monitoring diagnostics and logging analytics. You will now be expected to identify the output of a log file and identify any issues. Now If you see the graphic below You’ll know how to tailor the packet tracer (sniffer) app to get you the information you need.

packet tracer aka sniffer

More information on the new Security+ SY0-601

This was posted earlier this year but it makes a few points this post does not cover so could still be worth a quick glance. This other post is more focused on the content differences between the two Security+ exam versions.

For CompTIA exam retirement dates click here.


Published August 18, 2020 in CompTIASecurity+ SY0-601

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster!

This edition will focus on the methods to use to maximize your chances of success when taking the CompTIA A+ Exams i.e. succeeding at the A+ Exam. We’ll look at the testing environment, the test itself, and the psychology of the exam and how you can use that to your advantage.

OK, let’s get started!

First is First…

Before getting into the last steps of test prep let us point out that the most crucial element in our approach is your foundational knowledge and understanding of the content that the exam tests you on. Before going into test-prep, you must be comfortable with the subject matter.

Start by downloading and printing the exam objectives for A+ 220-1001 and A+ 220-1002 so you can mark them up, check them off when mastered, etc. These objectives reflect every concept or process that CompTIA can use to test your knowledge. Each objective is broken down into sub-objectives and content points that address these core concepts. In addition to that use any offline or online resources, you can lay your hands on. Textbooks and/or self-tests are also great resources. Get as much information as possible. A free content source is our ExamNotes for A+ 1001 & 1002.

The objectives also provide insight as to the context of any of the concepts. As you review them look for subtle manipulations in the language that can have a great impact on how to define a correct answer to a question.  You may be set in a scenario with a defective device or even a malfunctioning user. The ways the exam defines a scenario will provide clues to the response elements CompTIA wants to point you to. Whether the scenario calls for a situation that addresses an Installation, configuration, identification, or a compare-and-contrast situation, the context of the question formulation will, in part, determine the correct answer (more on this below).

At the Test

Complete the prerequisite permissions and agreements and pay attention to the non-disclosure agreement. Take as long as you need to understand what you’re doing and what is expected of you as the exam clock will only start after you review these preliminaries. There will be a complete recording of your entire session. Take a deep breath and get started!

Time management

Succeeding at the A+ Exam requires crisp time management. When you start the test, you will see your test timer counting down. 90 questions in 90 minutes?!!? Is that even possible?  OK, Stop right there. It is possible and you will probably find yourself with extra time on your hands when you are satisfied and ready to grade the test. How is this possible? Here’s how to transform the timer from a source of anxiety into a tool for success.

The key is a small checkbox labeled “Mark for later”. Marking a question does not stop the clock or provide some hidden benefit but it does, very importantly, allow you to move on to the next test question and return to it later. You will see that some questions will only take a few seconds to answer and so provide a time saving that you will benefit from later when you are more relaxed and comfortable with the process.

Question and answers

You will be presented with three primary question types:

Multiple choice single answer (MCSA)  This question type contains the question and four possible responses. With only one being correct. You can identify it by the responses having round (radio) buttons.

Multiple choice multiple answer (MCMA) This question has the question and more than four possible responses. With more than one being correct. Here you need to select all correct choices. These questions are identified by Square checkboxes for each response.

Interactive questions – some of which are the dreaded Performance Based Questions – PBQ, cover several types of interaction. These are usually graphic based. You may need to drag a label to an object on the screen, arrange a list of labels in order.

Screenshot of Performance based question for A+ exam
Performance based question for the A+ exam. Here the candidate is using the Disk Management utility to organize storage on this computer.

Determining the correct answer

CompTIA questions are not always the “one and only correct answer in the universe”. Because the questions are more subtle than that, they mostly require the “Best Answer” to be picked. The “Best Answer” is arrived to in part by looking at the context of the question and in part by deduction. The context of the question can include the scenario presented in the question text or the available distractors or both. In any case, what you believe is a wrong answer can still be a “best answer” given the alternatives. In an MCSA question each response you can disregard increases your chances of being correct by 25%! It is completely reasonable to arrive at the correct response by deductive reasoning.

Here is a good example. The question is:

“On the backside of a notebook, you generally see two connectors, one electrical for power and one non-electrical for security. Which of the choices best describes these two connections?“ and the available responses are:

NIC

HDMI

Cable lock

USB port

12vDC jack

Here is how you apply deductive reasoning to determine the two correct answers:

First, we need to know what will satisfy the question. Here there are two ports on the device one is for power. Check the answers and the only one relative to power is 12v DC jack. Now you have one of your two answers since none of the others reference power at all. You’ll see other voltages in the field but remember that the world you are in right here only has one listing a power rating and so it is your “BEST” choice. Now to Security, we want to know which choice has no electrical properties and provides security.  On the list you can see a NIC, HDMI, and a USB port. All of those use some form of electrical energy, so they are out. We’ve used the 12v answer and we are left with the Cable lock which is correct because it is a security component.

Testing strategy

During the test, monitor your timing. The A+ Exam allows for approximately one question per minute. You will find that easy questions (i.e. any question for which you know the answer immediately) may take as little as five seconds to complete. However, as the questions become more complex, they may take you a lot longer. This is where you need to determine when something is taking too long and mark the question and jump to the next question. We recommend that, if after a minute you are still completely in the dark, you use the “Mark for later” feature and come back to the question after having had the opportunity to answer all the other questions you are comfortable with. This way you are less likely to run out of time. Also, your brain may have processed the question “in the background” while you were answering the rest of the questions. When that happens you may find that a question that seemed impossible to answer on the first brush is now suddenly “easy”.

Take the test in stages where you can look at (and answer) every question during your first look. Mark for later anything any question that will cost too much time and slow you down. When you do Mark for later an MCQ do take a quick guess as with four choices a completely random selection will yield a 25% chance vs. zero if you don’t take a guess. When you come back to all your Marked for later questions, the correct response may jump right out at you, if so great! Answer it and move on.  You want to work yourself down the exam questions to where you only “leave on the table” the questions you have no idea about (still take a guess on those though) but where you gave yourself the opportunity to answer every question you know the answer to.

Ending the session

Take the opportunity to review your questions. And responses. You may find that after seeing the whole test bank you may want to answer something differently or make a change. Often one question will shed light on another you can fix it. Having said that do not click through the questions making arbitrary changes.

When you are satisfied you can end the test and get your grade. You will be asked some demographic information and questions about your experience at the site.

Want more exam strategy for A+?

Click to download our 5 steps to A+ Certification Success (220-1001& 220-1002).

 

Best of luck in your quest for A+ certification!

The CertBlaster Team

 


Published July 20, 2020 in A+ 220-1001A+ 220-1002CompTIA

Addressing the Corona virus: One for all, all for one!

If there ever was a circumstance where that spirit is needed, our response to the Corona virus pandemic would be it!

The Challenge

Whatever steps we take individually to shield ourselves from this pandemic will also benefit all of us. We are committed to doing whatever is in our power to support you and our community at large. As we take in the COVID-19 (corona virus) updates, we’re very aware of the fact that the situation is constantly changing. This is no more business as usual, and the health and safety individually and collectively of everyone is the top priority of the moment.

We are obviously not the experts, so we are closely tracking recommendations from government and health authorities, and we are taking this news seriously as we evaluate the situation and try to provide relevant sources of information while attempting to tune out the drumbeat of anecdotal information.

Two valuable sources of information

The Google coronavirus search portal

World Health Organization: Corona virus disease advice

How about CertBlaster?

Luckily for the CertBlaster team and its customers, we make a product that, as a team, allows us all to work from home – keeping each team member safer. And for our customers, the fact that our product is digital also makes it safe to use.  Want a safe activity during downtime? Here is a link to free certification learning resources.

Why is it called the “corona” virus?

The virus is rendered, in scientific circles, as a sphere with protruding spikes which, to some, evoke a crown. The etymology of which is Latin (some 2,000 years ago) where corona meant garland, wreath or crown. Latin, in its turn, borrowed that terminology from the ancient Greek “korṓnē” a crown or garland bestowed as a reward for valiant deeds, in particular victory in battle. It came down to us as the crown associated with the royal symbol. Below is a picture of that scientific rendering.

Color graphic of the scientific rendering of the corona virus.
A scientific rendering of the corona virus.

Published March 23, 2020 in Whats New

What You Need

You need to pass two exams, A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002 to be A+ certified. These are not easy tests to pass because they cover so much material. The complete definition of the exams is the official CompTIA A+ Exam Objectives and between the two exams, it lists over 1,200 possible topics that CompTIA can ask questions about. So, how do you study for the A+ exam? Answer: Just like you start eating an elephant: One bite at a time! You should have the three first items on this list, the last two are useful but are not minimum requirements:

1. CompTIA’s published objectives for your Exam.
2. Study guides, eBooks, and Authorized self-tests
3. A good working PC with internet access
4. This is more optional but quite useful: An older functional PC
5. Optional: Peripheral devices mentioned in the objectives.

Click here for more info about our Exam Simulator for A+ Exams 1001 & 1002

IMPORTANT: What you need to stay away from

Avoid using any study material obtained from unauthorized parties. Stay AWAY from:

Brain Dumps, Cheat Sheets and anything of questionable legality and even more questionable quality!

Understand that your main worry may not even be as much the “questionable legality” as the unquestionably poor reliability and quality of those sources. Rest assured that sites that push illegal materials to save money on content development are not going to spend any money on editorial control… We have seen brain dumps labeled A+ materials for 1001 & 1002 while the content was based on content written for exams 801 & 802 (that is two versions back – obsolete over obsolete!). The user could be wasting untold hours of study before finding out. Worst yet, go up for the 1001 or 1002 exams with a guarantee to fail.

Now, back to the questionable legality angle of this. Here’s the kicker: Any candidate found out, by CompTIA, to have used a brain dump, will forfeit his/her A+ certification and will receive a lifetime ban on all CompTIA exams! Because all this stuff happens online it is not as hard as it may seem for CompTIA to find out.

Free online study resources by CertBlaster

A+ ExamNotes is a complete and absolutely free A+ Study Guide for 1001 & 1002

Sample of free A+ 220-1001 Practice Questions

Sample of free A+ 220-1002 Practice Questions

A+ Exam Objectives

How to succeed at the A+ exams

1. CompTIA’s published objectives for your Exam

This is the first step. The exam objectives for CompTIA A+ can be found here. A+ requires candidates to pass two exams, 220-1001 (Core 1) and 220-1002 (Core 2). Download the objectives for the test(s) you need. Read them completely before you begin, and you will get substantial insight to guide your effort.

When you review the Objectives, you’ll see that they are arranged by main domains that contain sub-domains and topics. They also show what percentage of the examination each domain represents. Here are the 220-1002 Core 2 Main Domains.

Screenshot of the A+ 220-1002 Exam Main Domains and percentage of examination
A+ 220-1002 Exam Main Domains and relative weight at the examination.

You can see four main domains. Within each domain are subdomains that contain the topic points. Use the topics to target your studies. The Core 2 objectives alone are 19 pages long It is a good idea to print these for quick reference since there are over 30 sub-objectives that are all loaded with topics. Here’s a small chunk of the Core 2 Objective 1.0 Operating Systems. You will see the sub-domains shown here are numbered as 1.1,1.2,1.3 etc… This is where you should concentrate. The objectives are written in a manner that provides some perspective as to what they’re looking for.

Screenshot of CompTIA A+ 220-1002 Exam main Domain 1.0 with subdomains and content points
A+ 220-1002 Exam main Domain 1.0 with subdomains and content points.
For a guided tour and review of CertBlaster 5.0 click here

2. Study guides, eBooks, and legitimate self-tests

There is no shortage of material aimed at the A+ certification. There are Study guides, eBooks, and Authorized self-tests. Many are available from reputable authors and publishers. You want to stick with the major authors and publishers. Do your homework before you spend your money! Research each vendor, look at the customer comments for common complaints.  Remember, no Crams, no Cheats, no Brain Dumps!

CertBlaster offers legitimate free A+ ExamNotes that address every Exam objective and topic for your certification along with a sample of the test content. All the free Learning content on CertBlaster is there primarily to help you certify. You can get thousands of questions in the CertBlaster test for your chosen exam.

Just one more thought: If you are thinking about Brain Dump materials. Aside from being illegal this type of material is widely known to be inaccurate. The legal issue stems from an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) you must accept before you even see a question at a testing center. The NDA prohibits you from disclosing anything about the test contents. CompTIA finds and prosecutes every instance of this behavior.

Now on to accuracy. Let’s say a certification has a grade range of 100 to 900 with a passing score of 700 and our brain dump author scores 750. They will sit down and crank out as much as they can remember questions and answers. The Problem? Our dump expert answered over 20% of their questions incorrectly. Compound this with the sad fact that those wrong questions will be the ones they remember because they felt harder than the others. And there’s your brain dump… Beware!

3. A good working PC with internet access

You’ll need a PC with internet access. Much of your courseware and tests are available only as online resources. Make sure you have a machine that you can “trust”. This PC will carry the load of your studies Use this PC as your personal A+ related storage location. It is important that the PC we’re discussing here has the correct Processor support, sufficient memory, and free disk space. The system should be running a current Operating System.

4. Optionally: An older functional PC

Yes! This is the one you get to operate on! But Wait! The main objective is to do no harm. Confirm the old PC boots and runs. Now for any change, hardware or software you should confirm the system operation.

5. Optionally: Any peripheral devices mentioned in the objectives.

You may have a collection of devices that you kept after a change. That’s a good start! Now ask friends if they have anything to contribute. You’ll be surprised at the number of working devices you get. Take stock then compare to the CompTIA suggested system configuration.

Below are a few more questions relating to the A+ exam that we answer on our blog. We are writing these posts right now and post them as we go, so come back soon!

How many questions are on the A+ exam?

What kind of questions are on the A+ certification test?

Is the A+ certification worth it?

How much money can you make with a A+ certification?

We all wish you the best in your quest for A+ certification.


Published January 20, 2020 in A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002CompTIA

To be successful in your A+ certification you need to know what kind of question formats you should expect on the A+ certification test. There are two main question types, multiple-choice and interactive questions. The multiple-choice in its turn are of two types multiple choice single answer and multiple choice with multiple answers. The interactive questions come in four different “flavors” (see below) but the, by far, most important is the performance-based questions (PBQ). These are the real hands-on questions where A+ tests your skills rather than just your knowledge.

Read on for a detailed explanation of each of the question types.

Multiple choice – single answer

This is the most familiar of the question types you’ll see. These are questions that require a single response you provide by clicking the radio button next to your choice.

This is a screenshot of a multiple choice question with a single correct answer for the A+ certification exam
Multiple choice question with a single correct answer

Multiple choice – multiple answers

These questions require more than one response. On any CompTIA exam, you can recognize this type by the square checkboxes next to each response. Your instructions may say (Choose two) or similar instruction to let you know how many choices are expected. If a question requires two correct answers it will present five choices.   If a question requires three correct answers it will present six choices.

For a guided tour and review of CertBlaster 5.0 click here

Performance Based Questions (PBQ)

These are the “crown jewels” of the CompTIA A+ exam! The PBQs have you perform tasks in a simulator. These questions will really test your proficiency. You will be presented with a simulation of a computer, router or other device and asked to resolve a problem. In the simulator, you will take the steps necessary to identify and/or resolve the issue. Here is a PBQ that requires OS interaction. We took the first step in the CertBlaster question. We opened the Administrative Start menu to give you a bit of a feel of what these simulations can look like.

This is a screenshot of a Performance Based Question PBQ for the CompTIA A+ certification exam
Performance Based Question – PBQ

Important Note Regarding Performance Based Questions

The simulations used in both the CompTIA A+ and the CertBlaster are just that, simulations. Don’t think that you can simply click around and hope to get lucky. For example, in the CertBlaster each simulation consists of several steps but most other menu entries will not work in these simulators.

Interactive questions

The other interactive question types are exhibit-based questions, drag and drop questions, and fill in the blank.

Exhibit based

This question category will ask the question and then you display the exhibit. There are three exhibit-based types. Based on what you see you will respond by providing the correct answer or dragging a checkbox to a location onscreen.

Another Exhibit based question type requires you to interpret the exhibit to determine the correct response. Familiarity with the Operating System used is crucial here.

This is a screenshot of a Exhibit Based Question type
Exhibit Based Question

Drag and Drop Questions

This question presents a list of labels that you will drag into the correct order or location specified. Take your time and place the labels in the appropriate location.

Fill-in-the-blank

Hopefully, you’ve seen this type in your studies to this point. It is a straightforward question that requires you to know the correct term or phrase and enter it in the answer field. Depending on the question your response should be complete and use the correct command syntax or utility. In the example here you are asked to use the Linux command to change the owner of a file. Since there is no other information in the question like “Change the Owner of a file to user 502 – or – Mikeb” The only feasible response is chown. The majority of responses will be no more than three words.

Well, there it is! Now you know a little more about your “enemy” and have a better chance for success!

Need a complete but free A+ study guide? Try out our A+ ExamNotes

Click here for our completely free A+ ExamNotes for exams 220-1001 and 220-1002 – This is a full version (no “limited’ free stuff here!) and it covers every last A+ exam objective and sub-objective.

Here are a few more questions relating to the A+ exam that we answer on our blog:

How many questions are on the A+ exam?

How do you study for the A+ exam?

We are writing below posts right now and we post them as they get written so come back soon!

Is the A+ certification worth it?

How much money can you make with a A+ certification?

 

Good luck in your quest for A+ certification! We all wish you the best in your quest for A+ certification.

 


Published January 17, 2020 in A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002CompTIA

The short answer is “a maximum of 90” but it’s a little more complicated than that. CompTIA does not give out exact numbers for any of their exams, only a maximum number. For the A+ certification exams (the current versions are exams 220-1001 and 220-1002) that maximum is set to 90 questions for an exam duration of 90 minutes so at most an average of one question per minute.

Experience tells us that it seems the actual number of questions on these exams is in the low 80s. Expect about 82 – 83 questions. In part, this is due to the fact that CompTIA has batteries of questions in a question bank that the exam is pulled from. The objective is to make sure every candidate’s exam is at least to some degree different from the next candidates. This is one of the ways CompTIA protects the integrity of its exams. No matter what the actual number of questions end up being on your exam, you will still have 90 minutes. There is zero variability on the time you get to sit for the exam.

The impact on your exam time management of PBQs

In addition to “How many questions are on the A+ exam?” an important time factor to take into consideration is the Performance-based questions (PBQ). These questions are typically a handful at each exam and each of those takes a lot longer to answer than any of the multiple-choice questions. The reason for that is that the PBQs are interactive tasks aimed at testing your skill as opposed to just knowledge. Because of that, the PBQs are made up of procedures involving several steps. For more on the PBQ see our “What kind of questions are on the A+ certification test?” blog post.

The reason we bring up the PBQ here is that they need to be addressed within the framework of your time management strategy for the A+ certification exams. There is a misconception that CompTIA will not certify you unless you succeed at these questions. Not only is that not true, but CompTIA doesn’t even give you extra points for these questions. Why should that be important to you? Because it means that unless you are supremely confident you can tackle all the questions easily and fast during your exam session, you will want to mark the PBQs “for later” (a feature made available to you in the exam-taking software) and answer all the multiple-choice questions first as you can answer more of those a lot faster (provided you know the answers) than the PBQs. Once you have been through all the MCQs you can then calmly allocate the remaining time to the PBQ. This will be a lot less stressful and so increases your chances of getting them right. Again, you don’t have to get all of them right. To obtain a passing score you will need to get about 85% of the questions right.

For a guided tour and review of CertBlaster 5.0 click here

ExamNotes – Our free A+ Study Guide

Are you studying for the A+ Exams? Check out our completely free A+ Study guide for exams 220-1001 and 220-1002 – This is a full version (no “limited’ free stuff here) and it covers every last A+ exam objective and sub-objective.

Additional questions?

Here are a few more questions we address on our blog that may be of value to you:

What kind of questions are on the A+ certification test?

How do you study for the A+ exam?

We are writing below posts right now and we post them as they get written so come back soon!

Is the A+ certification worth it?

How much money can you make with a A+ certification?

Good luck in your quest for A+ certification!

 


Published January 17, 2020 in A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002CompTIA

The Expected difference between CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 and SY0-601

Every three years CompTIA releases a new and updated version of its exams. Update: We are now expecting it in November 2020. Although CompTIA is not telling when the new Security+ SY0-601 Exam will be released, we hear that November should be the month. Below we will take a look at what we believe the difference between CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 and SY0-601 maybe. UPDATE! The release date is November 12, 2020

The current Security+ SY0-501 was released on October 4, 2017, and will be retired in the spring of 2021, probably in April- there is a 6 month “grace period” where these two versions will overlap and you will actually be able to choose which exam you prefer to sit for (see bottom of this post for more on that).

How much of the content will change?

Between the new Security+ SY0-601 and the current SY0-501 we should expect about a 25% overall change in content with the rest being carried forward. The new exam will likely focus more on:

  • Cybersecurity threats
  • Risk management techniques
  • IoT threats – Alexa said that this isn’t a problem…
  • …and hands-on skills using technologies and tools

The main exam objectives will be re-organized to better reflect the changing emphasis of industry cybersecurity trends as well as instructional design enhancements.

Click here for free Security+ SY0-601 practice questions

So, what kind of new content can you expect to see in the Security+ SY0-601?

Understanding that the Security+ exam is about a mile wide and an inch deep, we need a really broad brush.  Essentially, the new material in CompTIA’s Certification Exam Objectives for Security+ SY0-601 will cover technologies that were not yet widely adopted at the time the Security+ SY0-501 was released.

These newer technologies include the following (some or all of which would end up on the new exam objectives):

– Cloud support to likely be enhanced as is and cloud security
– Growth of Virtualization platforms and how to secure them
– Common mobile device security breaches
– Securing online payment systems and cart technology
– More on monitoring tools, their metrics, and the analysis of their data
– Emphasis on network access control models
– Manufacturer-specific issues regarding mobile device security

Like previous CompTIA Security+ updates, the SYO-601 will also most probably increase the emphasis on practical knowledge through Performance Based Questions (PBQs). The sub-objectives affected by that would start with a phrase like “Given a scenario…”

Analysis of the Job Task

The first step in any CompTIA exam update is to perform a Job Task Analysis (JTA), in which CompTIA consults subject matter experts drawn from administrators of large networks, device manufacturers and industry leaders. These experts tell CompTIA exactly what changes are occurring in the profession and what developing trends to anticipate. CompTIA then updates its exam questions accordingly.

What is NOT changing: The job roles

The Security+ SY0-601 exam remains grounded in the same job roles as the SY0-501: security administrator and information assurance specialist.

Typical SY0-601 role titles include:

  • Cyber Security Specialist
  • Cyber Security Administrator
  • Cyber Security Consultant
  • Systems Administrator
  • Network Administrator
  • Junior IT Security Auditor
  • Junior Penetration Tester

Nature of changes to the exam content

There are several new themes for the new Security+ 601 exam. Here are the main changes:

  • Risk mitigation with increased device configuration
  • Best practices for cybersecurity and organizational security
  • Deeper penetration test and vulnerability scan

This is the result of seeing more Distribute Denial of Service (DDoS), cryptographic ransomware, phishing, and business email attacks. These and other attacks have over the last few years become more varied, sophisticated and therefore more successful, it is more important than ever for security professionals to accurately identify these threats and act decisively. The resolution of a threat or attack depends on quick identification of the threat type and the rapid deployment of the most effective solution.

There is also an increased emphasis on policy-based decisions, as well as understanding frameworks. Increasingly, security procedures have become a policy-based. The exam includes an emphasis on SS0, multifactor authentication techniques, and tools.

Cyber Security for what?

It is important to set these very long lists of exam objectives in a meaningful context. Therefore, the Security+ exam now includes an emphasis on how security techniques, policies, and best practices all are the foundation for privacy. For the security administrator (one of the job roles defined by the Security+ JTA) this must remain a crucial focus.  The surveys in preparation for the SY0-601 update will probably show a prerequisite for any organization id that it must first have its security practices in order before it can address privacy in a meaningful way.

Should I take the Security+ SY0-501 now or wait for the new SY0-601 exam?

Logic would indicate that you should take the version available at the time you need to be certified. That’s simple enough. However, there are other things to consider too. One is that although the “latest and greatest” always has its appeal, chances of success at the exam matters too. When it comes to CompTIA certification your certification is valid for three years from the date you pass the exam. It doesn’t matter if that date happens to be one day before the retirement date of the exam, you are still certified for three years no matter what. The other consideration is always a tendency to prefer “the devil you know”. There is predictability in committing to Security+ SY0-501 that the SY0-601 objectives can’t offer just yet as it is known that CompTIA adjusts and recalibrates an exam for the first six months to a year after the release date.

Performance Based Question Security+ SY0-501 Practice Test
Performance Based Question (PBQ) Security+ Practice Test

Published January 6, 2020 in CompTIASecurity+ SY0-501Security+ SY0-601

CertBlaster® Salary Metastudy

In this article, the salaries of the jobs listed below are averaged over a sample of employees who have shared their salaries as public information. The total sample size is 57,702 individuals.

The sample sizes for each certification are:

  • 17,881 reported salaries for A+
  • 16,471 reported salaries for Network+
  • 23,350 reported salaries for Security+

In order to examine the expected salary of an IT certified worker in one of these categories, the salaries of the jobs related to the skillsets of these CompTIA categories, as well as cities and work experience are reported below.

Job Titles, Cities and Experience

The job titles below are not exhaustive but rather a short sample of actual titles held by professionals currently working in the field with the indicated certifications. In a similar way, the cities listed are just a small sample of cities with a large IT presence, and therefore have a high concentration of CompTIA IT jobs.

All the reported salaries are representative of individuals with experience in the IT field of less than a year, to over twenty years (any amount of experience). Although this doesn’t narrow down the expected salaries for each period of experience, the distribution is displayed in the pie charts below where inferences can be made as to the expected salary by years of experience based on the range of salaries.

A+ Certification: Avg. $59,000

Network+ Certification: Avg. $63,000

Security+ Certification: Avg. $72,000

Linux+ Certification: Avg. $70,000

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer: Avg. $92,000

All pay range numbers are based on experience levels ranging from less than a year to 20+ years. This is a very wide range which is reflected in the width of the pay ranges listed.

Source: PayScale Human Capital – www.payscale.com

All the above data originates from the PayScale Human Capital website. Established in 2002 PayScale, Inc. aka payscale.com is a corporation that provides salary, benefits and compensation information online.

Preparing for the A+ Exam?

These free resources CertBlaster has put together may help you jumpstart your studies at no cost at all!

A+ ExamNotes, it is a complete and absolutely free A+ Study Guide for 1001 & 1002

Sample of free A+ 220-1001 Practice Questions

Sample of free A+ 220-1002 Practice Questions

A+ Exam Objectives

Need a strategy?

Below questions relating to the A+ exam that we answer on our blog may be of value to you. We are writing these posts right now and post them as we go, so come back soon!

How many questions are on the A+ exam?

What kind of questions are on the A+ certification test?

How to study for the A+ Exam?

Is the A+ certification worth it?

How much money can you make with a A+ certification?

We all wish you the best in your quest for A+ certification.


Published August 1, 2019 in A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002CompTIALinuxNetwork+ N10-007Security+ SY0-501Security+ SY0-601

Free CompTIA A+ 1001 Study Guide

CertBlaster’s ExamNotes for CompTIA Exam 220-1001 (Core 1) are a series of articles covering each and every single CompTIA A+ 220-1001 Main Domain, Exam Sub-Objective, and below that level every single topic point in CompTIA’s published Exam Objectives for A+. Just to give you an idea: There are over 1,200 topic points in those objectives! You will have a lot of work going through this content and we are having a ton of work writing it. Here’s the good news, it’s all for free to you the A+ candidate. Now, because 1) we are not perfect, and 2) we are doing this for you we want you to do something in return: If you find a typo, error or omission please give us the feedback so we can correct it for all to benefit. And who knows? With your continued support and help maybe one day, our CompTIA A+ 1001 study guide will be perfect!

CompTIA A+ Exam Objectives

Below are the main A+ Exam Objectives that make up our CompTIA A+ 1001 study guide. These are the highest level objectives and each is a link that will take you to another table of content where you will be able to click on all the Exam Sub-Objectives and get to the content you want to study.

Main Domain 1.0 Mobile Devices

Main Domain 2.0 Networking

Main Domain 3.0 Hardware

Main Domain 4.0 Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Main Domain 5.0 Hardware and Network Troubleshooting

Here is a short intro to these exam objectives and the CertBlaster for A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002:

Good luck on your quest for A+ Certification!


Published March 15, 2019 in A+ 220-1001CompTIA

ExamNotes for A+

There is one article for each A+ Exam Sub-Objective as defined by CompTIA. Together these articles would together represent a hefty book of highly concentrated and focused A+ test preparation.

A+ ExamNotes for CompTIA Exam 220-1001 – Core 1

A+ ExamNotes for CompTIA Exam 220-1002 – Core 2

Click here for more info about our A+ Practice Test Bundle for A+ Exams 220-1001 & 220-1002

Please Contribute! This is a group effort and will not be all it can be without your watchful eyes. At the bottom of each post, there is a field under the “Leave a Reply” header. If you see a typo, a grammatical error or anything at all please let us know! All your fellow students will benefit if you do!

Understanding the CompTIA A+ Exam

This a 6 – 7 page PDF explaining the CompTIA A+ exam in some detail. Click on the link 5 Steps to A+ Certification Success. It will take you to a form, under “Preferred Certification Track” pick your exam.

We have designed these ExamNotes to be easily used in conjunction with our CertBlaster A+ practice test and Exam Simulator. CertBlaster in Certification or assessment Mode will generate your custom Personal Testing Plan (PTP). It is based on your answers and will list all the areas that have been identified as your weaker points. The CertBlaster PTP will identify these points by A+ Sub-objectives, just like these ExamNotes. This allows you to go down the list in your custom PTP and just select the Notes that pertain to you as per that PTP. You will now have a very enhanced and efficient exam prep tool in your hands. Good luck on your quest for A+ certification!


Published March 15, 2019 in A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002CompTIA

The A+ 220-1001 and A+ 220-1002 exams

We at CertBlaster are cornerstone funding partners of the A+ certification program, having been involved since the inception of the first exam. Members of the CertBlaster team has been on CompTIA advisory boards, executive committees, and design committees, and has provided Subject Matter Experts to the various committees. We have also been consulted on exam affairs throughout the evolution of this career gateway. When we look at a new version we can, out of our long experience, discern the salient factors from the noise and that is exactly what we are trying to do for you here.

The competencies measured by the CompTIA A+ exam

The A+ competencies are targeted at the current and projected needs of the IT industry. The exam objectives are gathered in a very structured process referred to as the Job Task Analysis. This is an in-depth survey of the IT industry collecting data from IT managers, interviews with hiring managers, and data collected from help desk tickets. Once this study is completed the conclusions are presented to the subject matter experts (SMEs) who then write the questions reflecting the needs and technologies.

Each version of the A+ has a three-year exam life cycle. The current exams are the A+ 220-1001 and A+ 220-1002 (aka Core 1 & Core 2 respectively). These exams reflect the latest in technology and the current ways legacy technologies are being utilized. With regards to the scope of the two exams, in simple terms, the A+ 220-1001 will ask how a device or process connects while the A+ 220-1002 will ask what the device or process will do once it is connected. For both exams, be prepared for more performance-based questions than in prior versions.

While all the core objectives are important, the exams place a greater emphasis on security, cloud technologies, and virtualization. This transpires clearly in the list of Main Domains, published by CompTIA:

Exam Objectives for A+ 220-1001 Core 1

1.0 Mobile Devices                                                          14%

2.0 Networking                                                                20%

3.0 Hardware                                                                    27%

4.0 Virtualization and Cloud Computing              12%

5.0 Hardware and Network Troubleshooting     27%

Click below for the complete and detailed A+ 220-1001 Core 1 Exam Objectives:

A plus 220-1001 PDF exam objectives

Exam Objectives for A+ 220-1002 Core 2

1.0 Operating Systems                  27%

2.0 Security                                        24%

3.0 Software Troubleshooting    26%

4.0 Operational Procedures         23%

Click below for the complete and detailed A+ 220-1002 Core 2 Exam Objectives:

A plus 220-1002 PDF exam objectives

Important Focus of the A+ 220-1001 & A+ 220-1002 Exams

Consider these points to be important. You can be assured these areas will appear on the exams. They are necessary knowledge but not sufficient so even though you want to focus on these make sure to not neglect the other areas during your prep.

Security

This section has increased its scope to not only identifying and detecting malware but also the best practices to remove it. A greater focus has been placed on physical and logical security. These two sections have been separated and now, physical security and logical security each have their own objective and weighting. This effectively doubles security as a tested concept. The subject of device hardening is introduced. The section on biometric authentication is expanded.

Infrastructure and Hardware

As seen in the Core objectives, Cloud technology and virtualization are their own separate domains, increasing the overall weight of these topics. IoT devices and protocols are now even more emphasized. In simple terms, the 220-1001 will ask how a device or process connects while the 220-1002 will ask what the device or process will do once it is connected.

Operations

This section has the most noticeable changes to the objectives. You will now need to know the basics of scripting in the Python, Bash, and JavaScript languages. You will not be asked to write scripts but you will have to recognize the files (extensions) associated with scripts and how they are used. A greater emphasis is being placed on the user’s ability to work with log files. In addition, you will need to know how to update a knowledgebase with your results in order to help other technicians. Lastly, you will need to have a deeper understanding on how to remotely access and repair devices.

Software

You will need working knowledge of six operating systems for this version of the A+: Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Mac OS, and now Chrome OS. Please keep in mind that Windows refers to Windows 7 through 10 inclusively. Expect an increased emphasis on SaaS with cloud-based storage and email providers such as Google, Exchange Online, and iCloud.

In conclusion, please start any A+ test preparation by downloading the complete the list of A+ Exam Objectives (see above) and then use every tool available to you to make sure yo master them all. CompTIA would not waste time and energy in publishing each of these objectives unless there was a chance you could get a question on any of them.

Above is a short video going over part of the items covered in this blog.


Published September 25, 2018 in A+ 220-1001A+ 220-1002CompTIALearning resourcesUncategorized

ExamNotes for Network+ N10-007 1.8 Explain the functions of network services

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

DNS service

In order to effectively administer DNS in your organization, you need a working knowledge of how the namespace database is arranged. The namespace databases are stored in DNS zone files. These zone files store the data in a number of resource records. Each resource record is designed to hold precise types of data serving specific functions.

Record types

A, AAAA – These records hold the name-to-address mapping (conversion) for a given host. The A record stores the mapping in IPv4 compliant format while the AAAA record is the IPv6 equivalent.

TXT A Text (TXT) record is used to provide freely formatted text to network administrators regarding any network related issues or comments. This record is also referenced by validation and authentication systems such as:

SPF – The Sender Provider framework (SPF) is a TXT file and part of the DNS zone file. It validates the email servers allowed to send email.

DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an encryption-based authentication method that validates the domain name of emails.

SRV The SRV (Service) record contains hostname and port details for hosts providing specific services. The SRV record is used for email and FTP among others. For example, H.323 and SIP both require SRV records.

MX – The MX (Mail Exchanger) record supports email traffic by identifying email servers.

CNAME – The Canonical Name (CNAME) record contains the alias for a host’s CNAME. This allows a hostname alias like myorganization to be recognized by its canonical name www.myorganization.com.

NS – The Name Server (NS) record specifies the authoritative name server for a domain. The NS record is used by name servers to locate each other. This record is used to delegate subdomains. An NS record is required for each primary and secondary name server in a domain.

PTR – Consider the Pointer (PTR) record is the opposite of an A record. It supports reverse lookups by providing the IP address-to-hostname information in a reverse lookup zone file (reverse zone). This format is essentially an A record with a reversed IP address listed first followed by the hostname. This differs from a forward lookup zone file (forward zone) in which the A record is used to find the host using the hostname.

Internal DNS vs. External DNS Typically a company will have two DNS servers, one internal and one external. The external DNS server will be placed in the DMZ and will only provide access to public services like a web server or VPN. The internal DNS serves the domain and is inaccessible from the Internet. Internal hosts requiring Internet communication or external resolution will have their requests forwarded from the internal DNS server to the external DNS server.

Third-party/cloud-hosted DNS

Third-party or cloud-based DNS offers several advantages over traditional DNS services. In many cases, it can be more affordable to use cloud-based DNS as it is scalable, resilient, and secure. Administration is simplified. If you opt for a large cloud provider such as Google, you will reap the benefit of reduced latency due to the presence of multiple geographic locations which are available to resolve traffic quickly.

Hierarchy

The domain name space is divided into levels as shown in the graphic below. Here, the DNS root servers are shown as a dot at the top. The top-level domain (TLD) servers are labeled as .com, .org, .edu, etc. or by the country code (ccTLD) .us, .uk, or .jp to name a few. The second-level domain servers (SLD) are directly below their TLDs in this hierarchy. These are the domains assignable by domain registrars. Third-level domains are subdomains of SLDs.

Graphic showing domain name space hierarchy
Domain name space hierarchy

Forward vs. reverse zone – See PTR.

DHCP service

There is no doubt that DHCP makes everyone’s life easier, from the end user to the network admin. But since nothing is perfect, some of the DHCP services need to be modified in order to ensure seamless operation. Listed below are some of the options available to manage potential DHCP issues.

MAC reservations – Since dynamic addressing does not work reliably for hosts that must be consistently available, such as a network printer, you can create a MAC reservation on your DHCP server to assign the same IP address to that particular device.

Pools – A DHCP server can be configured to assign addresses from a pre-defined range. This is known as the DHCP scope or DHCP pool.

IP exclusions – Another way to guarantee that a host is consistently available is to statically assign an IP address to it. In order to prevent the address from being assigned in the DHCP environment, an IP exclusion can be configured on the DHCP server.

Scope options – When configuring a DHCP server, it is also necessary to provide additional information to the clients. In addition to the address, the client needs the default gateway address, a primary and secondary DNS server address, and the length of time the address is leased to the client. Known as lease time, this field is a variable time value that once expired, the IP address will be returned from the client back into the address pool for reissue.

TTL – In the DHCP environment, Time to Live (TTL) is a value (usually 20 minutes) assigned to the DHCPOFFER after which the offered address is returned to the pool.

DHCP relay/IP helper – In a network of multiple LANs with different subnets, the DHCP relay agent can allow a single DHCP server to provide the necessary configurations. This is very useful with VLANs. The IP helper address provides support for the rebroadcasting or forwarding of UDP packets across a router. This is not limited to DHCP.

NTP

The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is one of the oldest protocols and is used to synchronize the time on packet switched networks. Time synchronization is crucial to systems and processes that update data. A program may ignore your data update if the update is older than its latest saved data.

IPAM

IP Address Management (IPAM) is software that can track, plan, and manage IP addressing on networks. It is widely available from vendors and third-parties. Microsoft’s implementation automatically discovers IP address infrastructure and DNS servers on your network, enabling you to manage them from a central interface.

That’s all for objective 1.8 and main domain 1.0 – Good luck on the test!


Published July 26, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

ExamNotes for Network+ N10-007 1.7 Summarize cloud concepts and their purpose

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content
Cloud computing has become a part of every user’s daily interactions. Even your Smartwatch can store data in the cloud. Here we’ll look at the available cloud services, delivery models, connectivity, and the security aspects.

Schematic of Cloud computing public vs. private
Cloud computing public – private

Types of services

Cloud service levels are defined by the amount of responsibility assigned to a given service level as compared to a traditional network using virtualization. As a reference, a traditional network bears 100% of the responsibility for the workspace, hardware, virtual infrastructure, OS platform, and application software. The cloud vendor can provide varying levels of service based on the customer’s needs.

The types of cloud services are described below.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) places the responsibility of application installation and management as well as backups and data management on the customer. Depending on the agreement, the customer may opt for hosted virtual desktops (HVD) from the vendor running on their hardware platform.

PaaS (Platform as a Service) places the responsibility of application installation, backups, and data management on the customer. The vendor provides the hardware, operating system, and related support software. Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure are examples of this service level. This level is beneficial to developers who can test their work virtually.

SaaS (Software as a Service) is the most accessible and complete solution since it requires only an Internet browser interface. Applications, data management, and storage are provided by the vendor. Google and Microsoft both offer SaaS virtualized apps, such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365. This solution allows access to applications and services without any installation. Users can work from anywhere and on any device with a browser.

Here is a good illustration depicting the relationships across different service types.

Graphic showing Cloud User Capability Options
Cloud User Capability Options

Cloud delivery mode

Cloud access is modeled as follows.

PublicA public cloud service is available to any party. The Internet is the best example of this service model and is also the least secure.

Private A private cloud is hosted by an organization for its own internal use or for its users through remote access over WAN links. When hosted virtually, the scalability and accessibility of the virtual environment offers value. Internal hosting allows the organization to use existing resources which could be considerable.

HybridA hybrid cloud uses whichever mix of cloud delivery modes is necessary to create a single model. An example of this is an organization that uses the private cloud for data management and storage while using a public cloud for messaging and email. This model can also be used as a transitional solution during the implementation of a total cloud solution.

Connectivity methods

Your connection to the cloud can be classified in the following ways.

Internet This is a highly insecure option. While it is comparatively inexpensive and simple to use, there are erratic latency issues that could affect performance.

Remote access These connections offer increased security by creating secure tunnels but are still subject to the quality issues of the Internet.

Leased line This option reserves a predetermined bandwidth allocation between the customer and the cloud service provider, usually over a private WAN.

Dedicated connectionThis is the most expensive connection method. Here, it is possible to connect from the customer location directly to the cloud provider. Since the majority of cloud providers have strategically located points of presence (PoP), access qualities are assured.

Security implications/considerations

Cloud security has several implications that could expose otherwise private data. Consider the cloud provider’s security and the security of the backups. Your stored data could be accessed by unauthorized parties or even authorized parties who disregard the confidentiality of the data. As a result, your cloud must adhere to the Government regulations regarding security, for example, HIPAA and financial security. Also, consider what happens to your data if your agreement lapses.

In order to protect your data, please consider performing the following:

A) Always get the most securely structured SLA from the cloud provider

B) Ensure that your link to the provider is equally secure.

C) Last but not least, use strong encryption.

The relationship between local and cloud resources

A customer’s local network will be secure (presumably) and offer the speed benefits of their network without the possibility of third-party access. Backups are fast and easy to restore. The expenses involved in running a local network are the infrastructure and IT staff, which may or may not be sufficient when it comes time to scale. Disaster recovery on the local network requires the support of additional locations, which could lead to a considerable cost.

Cloud storage offers greater scalability, user accessibility, and elasticity features when compared to local resources, making cloud storage a good solution. However, cloud storage does have concerns with regards to connectivity, speed, and above all security. Your cloud data is inaccessible if the internet connection is down anywhere between your location and the cloud. Backups can be uploaded ever 15 minutes to keep the data current. However, in the event of a failure, the restore time is considerable and resource intensive.

That’s it for objective 1.7 – Good luck on the test!

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Published July 24, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Sub-objective 1.6: Given a scenario, implement the appropriate wireless technologies and configurations

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802.11 standards

WLAN networking standards are described by the IEEE 802.11 group. Listed below is a description of each WLAN standard.

802.11a – Released after 802.11b, 802.11a has greater theoretical throughput and a greater coverage area. Since the commercial development of 802.11b had already begun, 802.11b became the commercial winner despite 802.11a’s doubled coverage area and capabilities in the uncrowded 5 GHz band. 802.11a and 802.11b are incompatible.

802.11b Implemented as a standard in 1999. This standard provides 22 separate channels in the 2.4 GHz band. It can operate at speeds up to 11Mbps at a range of up to 50 meters.

802.11g – Also used the 2.4 GHz band making 802.11g a reasonable upgrade path from 802.11b which was widely installed. The main advantages of 802.11g were the throughput (54 Mbps) and that 802.11g supported 802.11b transmissions.

802.11n – Ratified by the IEEE in 2009, 802.11n provided 600 Mbps throughput over greater distances. This higher speed allowed voice and video communications to be supported. 802.11n is backward compatible with 802.11g, 802.11b, and 802.11a.

802.11ac – This standard provides well over 6 Gbps on the 5 GHz band. 802.11ac access points can handle multiple data streams on the same frequency. 802.11ac devices are often dual-band, meaning they can operate on the 2.4 GHz or 5GHz bands eliminating any compatibility issues with legacy equipment.

Cellular

Having a background in the evolution of cellular communications is good knowledge to have. Each major improvement in cellular communications is classified as a generation.

1G is the first generation “cellphone”. 1G devices used analog communications and were quite slow and cumbersome by today’s standards.

2G is the second generation where digital transmission was adopted.  Along with voice data, 2G supported media and text downloads at 240 Kbps. Also in this generation, GSM (see below) was introduced for voice data only.

3G is the third generation and brought with its rates of 384 Kbps and packet switching for data.

4G is the fourth generation cellular technology. This generation provides an IP packet switched network that can provide up to 1 Gbps to a stationary or low speed (walking) device. Once your device is moving faster, the data rates decrease. For example on the highway, your device’s data rate might only be in the 100 Mbps range. Regardless, you will still reap the benefits of IP based packet switching for voice and data.

– GSM

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is one of two competing technologies used for cellular communications. GSM uses TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) to separate data into timeslots, allowing multiple users access to the same channel. GSM requires a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card that contains the user’s carrier and subscription information. The SIM card can also store your contacts making them portable when you upgrade devices. Since GSM is globally adopted, you can communicate while abroad by simply purchasing a new SIM card for the country you are in (as well as checking with your carrier to avoid getting nailed with roaming charges). GSM phones can be “unlocked” from their network carrier by simply switching their SIM card.

– TDMA (See GSM)

– CDMA

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is the second competing technology used for cellular communications. CDMA communications exchange data using spread spectrum technology, the use of varying frequencies and intervals, as defined by the code, to send the transmissions. The multitude of available frequency codes improves privacy since the transmitting and receiving device must follow the same pattern. CDMA devices cannot be unlocked from their carrier as easily as GSM devices.

USB Cellular network adapter full size for A+ exam 220-901 Sub-objective 1.4
USB Cellular network adapter full size

Frequencies

When discussing wireless technology, it is very important to know the frequencies associated with the wireless equipment being used. We will now look at the frequencies used in wireless networking.

2.4 GHz

802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi devices all operate in the 2.4 GHz range which is from 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz. In the U.S., Wi-Fi designates 11 channels for use within the 2.4 GHz range that are each 22 MHz wide. Overseas, 14 channels are defined. In order for your device to operate smoothly, please choose a non-overlapping channel. Channel bandwidth shortly will be discussed shortly.

Since 2.4 GHz is an unallocated, unlicensed band free for any purpose, many device manufacturers use this band. Wi-Fi routers, some cordless telephones, and Bluetooth all operate on this frequency, creating the opportunity for interference between devices. Even your microwave oven generates signals at the upper end of the 2.4 GHz range! As you can see, the 2.4 GHz range is quite crowded. However, cell phones and AM radio signals do not operate on this range.

5.0 GHz

The 5 GHz frequency band is another unregulated band which is seeing a lot of use in the wireless networking environment. The 5 GHz band is considerably less congested than the 2.4 GHz band. Initially used by 802.11a, later standards also took advantage of this range. 802.11n offers backward compatibility, most notably with 802.11a at 5 GHz at 54 Mbps and 802.11b/g at 2.4 GHz. 802.11ac is currently the best use of the 5 GHz band, offering gigabit speed rivaling Ethernet.

Speed and distance requirements

Today’s wireless networking interfaces will conform to the data in the table below.

Standard Frequency Rated Throughput Range
802.11a 5 GHz 54 Mbps 100 m
802.11b 2.4 GHz 11 Mbps 50 m
802.11g 2.4 GHz 54 Mbps 100 m
802.11n 2.4 or 5 GHz 600 Mbps Indoor – 70 m

Outdoor- 250m

802.11ac Wave 1 (3 data streams) 5 GHz 1.3 Gbps Indoor – 70 m

Outdoor – 250m

802.11ac Wave 2 (4 data streams) 5 GHz 3.47 Gbps
802.11ac Wave 3 (8 data streams) 5 GHz 6.93 Gbps Indoor – 70 m

Outdoor – 250m

Bluetooth 2.4 GHz 3 Mbps ~100 m @ 100 mW

~10 m @ 2.5 mW

Channel bandwidth

Depending on the wireless standard used, the designated frequency range is divided into channels. Ideally, these channels will not overlap each other to prevent interference. However, this is not the case. This is illustrated in the following breakdown of the 2.4 GHz frequency where in the US, many of the 11 channels (14 in other countries) overlap. The graphic shows overlapping channels as broken lines and the three non-overlapping channels as solid lines. Channels have a bandwidth of 22MHz. As a result, channels 1, 6, and 11 are commonly used to avoid overlap. These non-overlapping channels are 5MHz apart from the next closest non-overlapping channel.

** Attribution: By Wireless Networking in the Developing World [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The way 802.11b/g/n wireless standards utilize the 2.4 GHz frequency can be understood by looking again at the 2.4 GHz band.

**Attribution By Rbeede, Liebeskind (original) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Channel bonding

The 802.11n technology uses channel bonding to increase bandwidth by combining the two adjacent 20 MHz channels into one 40 MHz channel (shown above). While this technique is useful in the 802.11n 2.4 GHz band with 11 channels, its real potential lies in the 802.11ac 5.0 GHz band. In the 802.11ac 5.0 GHz band, channel bonding is utilized as follows: one channel at 20 MHZ, two channels at 40 MHZ, four channels at 80 MHz, and all eight channels at 160 MHz.

MIMO/MU-MIMO+

Beginning with 802.11n, Multiple Input- Multiple Output (MIMO) allows more than one antenna to be used on clients and access points, allowing devices to transmit and receive simultaneously. Previously in 802.11g, multiple antennas took turns processing the data. With 802.11ac technology, it became possible to combine multiple client communications. This is called Multiuser MIMO (MU-MIMO). Optimal throughput can only be realized when both the client and access point support this feature.

Unidirectional/omnidirectional

Most antennas used in home and office Wi-Fi are omnidirectional antennas. These antennas send and receive data in 360 degrees as and a result, the signal is available in the full circle. Unidirectional antennas transmit only in one general direction (point-to-point), allowing the full power of the transmission to be focused on a particular area.

Site surveys

In order to assess the coverage area and determine the best AP placement for your WLAN, a site survey should be performed. A handheld Wi-Fi analyzer can be used to perform a site survey. When performing a site survey, the ultimate goal is to achieve the strongest signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) which is measured in decibels (dB). Our example below shows very good S/N for the BobCo-N AP and printer (using channel 1) and the TP-LINK_77DF AP (configured on channel 11). The S/N is measured using a negative scale, meaning that a more positive number represents a stronger signal. For example, a -40 dB signal is significantly stronger than a -80 dB signal. Looking at the example below, you should be able to recognize how crowded the range is and also how the majority of APs are grouped on the non-overlapping channels 1, 6, and 11.

And that concludes our ExamNotes for Neetwork+ N10-007 sub-objective 1.6.

Good luck on the test!

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Published July 16, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

Network+ N10-007 ExamNotes for sub-objective 1.5 Compare and contrast the characteristics of network topologies, types, and technologies – Part 2 of 2

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Network+ N10-007 Sub-objective 1.5 ‘Compare and contrast the characteristics of network topologies, types, and technologies’.

Here are the exam objectives covered in this Part 2/2. For Part 1/2 click here. 

Types
LAN
WLAN
MAN
WAN
CAN
SAN
PAN

Technologies that facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT)
Z-Wave
Ant+
Bluetooth
NFC
IR
RFID
802.11

Types

LAN

A Local Area Network (LAN) typically consists of several network nodes or devices where each node can connect to other nodes directly through a switch. LANs can be a small as an office or cover an entire building using multiple switches and routers.

WLAN

A Wireless LAN (WLAN) describes the wireless topology of a small office or home office.

MAN

A group of LANs in the same geographic area is considered a MAN (Metropolitan Area Network). This network type can support local government, schools, Police, and Fire departments. A CAN (Campus Area Network) also covers a geographical area much the same as a MAN. These are not widely used terms but are testable on the Network+.

WAN

When a group of LANs covers a large geographical area it is called a WAN (Wide Area Network). Consider the Internet as the largest WAN.

CAN

See MAN

SAN

A Storage Area Network (SAN) describes a network made up of block-level storage devices providing high throughput connections for storage devices, disk arrays, and tape storage. The servers consider all devices as one object, enhancing the access speed of data. The SAN uses controllers connected to Fibre Channel (FC) or Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switches. Later in the objectives, you will see how these switches provide redundancy.

PAN

Bluetooth users will be familiar with the PAN (Personal Area Network). A pan can be considered the smallest network topology a piconet) because it is centered by a personal object’s workspace. A PAN can consist of a pair of devices like your smartphone and PC as well as the smartphone connecting to your vehicle. Since the connection is based on a master/slave hierarchy the smartphone, as a master, can support up to seven slave devices.

Technologies that facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT)

Best described as any device that can access the Internet. GPS locators, personal fitness devices, and smartwatches belong to the IoT. Smart home devices can control security cameras, locks, and temperature. You can even monitor your refrigerator. Personal assistance devices also contain interactive apps like Siri or Alexa that are voice-activated and responsive.

Z-Wave

Z-Wave is a smart home protocol used for command and control functions in the home. To receive and distribute data and commands a Z-Wave controller (or hub) is used. Z-Wave transmissions have a range of 100 meters per hop by using repeaters with the limitation of four hops.  The controlled devices themselves can serve as repeaters in a Z-Wave mesh network. This configuration allows for mapping and route selection based on latency.

Ant+

The ANT+ protocol is an ad-hoc protocol that is used for heart rate monitors, GPS and activity tracking, and other devices. The information obtained is transmitted to a PC, smartphone, or smartwatch.

Bluetooth

Based on the IEEE 802.15.1 specifications Bluetooth is a technology commonly used to connect mobile devices. Bluetooth is commonly integrated into new PCs and accessories are readily available. Bluetooth is a proximity-based technology. That proximity is directly related to the power class of the devices. There are three Bluetooth power classes shown here:

Class Maximum power Range Use

1

100 mW 100 meters Industrial

2

2.5 mW 10 meters Mobile devices

3

1 mW 1 meter Not commonly used

You will find a variety of Bluetooth-enabled devices in your environment. To operate each device needs to be “paired”. The pairing process requires each device to be placed in pairing mode. There may be a numeric code input on one of the devices.

NFC

A form of RFID, Near Field Communication (NFC), has a very short communication distance of 10 cm or less. The most common implementations of NFC are found in Employee ID badges and contactless payment at NFC enabled cash registers. In smartphones, data can be exchanged between two devices by tapping them together. NFC also uses tags that require no power and can be used to store up to 32 KB of data. This could include credit card information or employee identification and login information. The power to the tags is obtained from the contacting device’s RF field.

IR

The IoT has rejuvenated IR (Infrared) technology. Once used mainly in remote control devices to transmit signals IR is now applicable to other devices, like sensors, by interpreting the responses to IR. The Infrared wavelength is not visible to the naked eye. It is below our visible spectrum. The transmission is picked up by a sensor on the receiving device and converted to electrical current. An IR transmission cannot pass through solid objects. The signal can bounce or be scattered to its objective, but it is safer to provide an unobstructed line of sight.

RFID

Data is stored electromagnetically on an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag. The tag can be active (battery-powered) transmitting at regular intervals or passive obtaining the power to transmit from a tag reader. RFID tags are a highly efficient inventory control tool. They can be used to select items to ship and calculate the remaining inventory.

802.11

The generic reference for WLANs is 802.11. You will need the information in the table below at a minimum to be successful when testing.

Simplified Reference Frequency Bandwidth Max. Throughput Indoor Range Outdoor Range
802.11a Wi-Fi 2 5 GHz 20 MHz 54 Mbps 35 m 100 m
802.11b Wi-Fi 1 2.4 GHz 20 MHz 11Mbps 35 m 150 m
802.11g Wi-Fi 3 2.4 GHz 20 MHz 54 Mbps 38 m 150 m
802.11n Wi-Fi 4 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz 20 / 40 MHz 600 Mbps 70 m 300 m
802.11ac

Wave 1

Wi-Fi 5

Wave 1

5 GHz 20 /40 / 80 MHz 1.3 Gbps 35 m 300 m
802.11ac

Wave 2

Wi-Fi 5

Wave 2

5 GHz 20 /40 / 80 MHz Multiple streams 2.3 Gbps 35 m 300 m
802.11ac

Wave 3

Wi-Fi 5

Wave 3

5 GHz 160 MHz three streams 6.93 Gbps 35 m 300 m

NOTE: When referencing the 802.11 specifications it is important to understand how MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) can be used to create broader transmission channels and increasing throughput. MIMO can be configured to provide Multiple-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) enabling multiple simultaneous client communication over broader transmission channels. The 5 GHz frequency band is divided into 20 MHz bands and any adjacent bands can be combined (bonded) to add communication bandwidth. Up to eight streams are supported. 802.11ac layer 1 supports three Single-User MIMO channels up to 80 MHz wide, while 802.11ac Wave 2 allows four channels up to 160 MHz (80 MHz+80 MHz) and Multiple-User MIMO. Layer 3 supports only two 80 MHz. The Wave 3 implementation supports three data streams with a theoretical throughput of up to 10Gbps. Remember your signal’s throughput and coverage can be reduced when the network is congested.

And that completes objective 1.5! Click here to go back to Part 1/2.

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Good luck on the test!


Published June 22, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

Network+ N10-007 ExamNotes for sub-objective 1.5 Compare and contrast the characteristics of network topologies, types and technologies – Part 1/2

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1.5 Compare and contrast the characteristics of network topologies, types and technologies

Welcome to Exam Notes for the CompTIA Network+ N10-007 objective 1.5! This exam sub-objective covers a lot of ground, so we are splitting it up into two posts, as follows:

A+ Exam objectives covered in this Part 1/2:

Wired topologies

Logical vs. physical
Star
Ring
Mesh
Bus

Wireless topologies
Mesh
Ad hoc
Infrastructure

A+ Exam objectives covered in Part 2/2:

Types
LAN
WLAN
MAN
WAN
CAN
SAN
PAN

Technologies that facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT)
Z-Wave
Ant+
Bluetooth
NFC
IR
RFID
802.11

We’ll start by examining the types of network topologies, how they operate logically and physically. Then we will look at some of the technologies these networks use to utilize the topologies.

Wired topologies

Logical vs. physical

The physical topology refers to the hardware used to create the network. Hubs, switches, and routers along with the cables and connectors used, define the physical aspect of networks.

The logical topology refers to the non-hardware aspects of the network. This includes the operating systems and protocols used to communicate on a network. The logical topology covers how the nodes on a network use applications and share data.

Star topology

schematic illustrating a star network topology

In a star topology, all network devices are connected to a central device like a hub or switch. Consider the spokes of a wheel connecting to a hub. In networking, a hub acts at Layer 1 of the OSI model and the switch at Layer 2. In a star topology, switches are preferred because hubs generate frequent collisions.

Ring topology

Considered a legacy topology the ring topology is a continuous ring of connections where each node is connected to the nodes directly adjacent to it.

schematic illustrating a ring network topology

Data is passed from each node to the next, in a circular pattern. A node can only transmit to the next node on the ring. Token ring is the method using a token that is passed from one node to the next. While a node has the token it can pass it to the next node. It can also receive and replace the data if it is the destination of the token. While actually resembling a star topology the central point is a MAU (Multistation Access Unit) that receives a token and forwards it to the next node in the ring. A failure in any node will isolate the other nodes and the failed node must then be removed or disabled by the MAU.

Mesh

In today’s wired environment mesh networks are rare. The concept of redundant connections remains applicable to the wireless environment as you will see later.

schematic illustrating a ring network topology

The wired mesh is configured so that each node will have a direct connection to every other node. For example if you have a network with four PCs, each would have three connection points with each connection linking to another network node, as the network grows the wiring itself becomes more challenging. Mesh networking reduces the “single point of failure” that a hub or switch would represent.

Bus

The bus topology uses a single cable to connect all network nodes. This cable has only two endpoints and must remain intact. Signals can travel in either direction on the bus.

schematic illustrating a bus network topology

So a signal can be transmitted both directions from a node. The signal will travel the length of the bus until the destination node is reached. If a signal is allowed to continue to the end of the cable it will bounce back, creating interference and unwanted noise on the line. This signal bounce is mitigated by using terminators at both ends of the cable. This topology is economical to implement but hard to manage since the bus itself represents a (large) single point of failure. You may find the bus topology as a backbone for routers and switches. A good example would be a network that covers five floors of a building. Here each floor would be a star topology with a router serving each floor. The routers would use a simple bus cable to connect to each other.

Wireless topologies

Mesh

Wireless mesh networks can be connected with or without wireless routers and gateways. This configuration is best deployed in a static environment. Network devices can be used to support more connections. Movement of nodes triggers routing updates to all which create network congestion.

Ad hoc

Special purpose ad-hoc wireless mesh networks can be configured to enable communication between nodes without routers and gateways. The nodes must be in close proximity to each other. This configuration is best used where there are few connections to static devices.

Infrastructure 

The wireless infrastructure uses connectivity devices to distribute the signal over the intended coverage area. Wireless Access Points (WAPs) can be used to create or extend the coverage area. WAPs should be centrally placed to provide even coverage to the nodes. Multiple APs can be used to extend the coverage area.

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Published June 21, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

Network+ N10-007 ExamNotes for sub-objective 1.4 Given a scenario, configure the appropriate IP addressing components – Part 2 of 2

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1.4 Given a scenario, configure the appropriate IP addressing components

Subnetting – Classful

Classes A, B, C, D, and E
Classless
VLSM
CIDR notation (IPv4 vs. IPv6)

Address assignments

DHCP
DHCPv6
Static
APIPA
EUI64
IP reservations

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Subnetting

Classful

Classful addressing is the simplest form of subnetting as it uses whole octets to identify the Network ID. IPv4 addresses are assigned to Classes A, B, C, D, and E as you will see Class D and E networks are reserved. Using classful subnetting the network IDs will break down as shown below.

Classes A, B, C, D, and E
Network Class Network octets in Capitals (N), hosts in lowercase (h). Network ID bits Host ID bits
A NNNNNNNN.hhhhhhhh.hhhhhhhh.hhhhhhhh 8 24
B NNNNNNNN.NNNNNNNN.hhhhhhhh.hhhhhhhh 16 16
C NNNNNNNN.NNNNNNNN.NNNNNNNN.hhhhhhhh 24 8

Binary representation

Network Class Default Binary Mask Network ID bits Dotted Decimal Mask
A 11111111.00000000.00000000.00000000 8 255.0.0.0
B 11111111.11111111.00000000.00000000 16 255.255.0.0
C 11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000 24 255.255.255.0

Class D addresses are reserved for multicasting.

Class E addresses are reserved for research.

Classless addressing differs from Classful addressing because it allows the subnet mask to use bits from the preceding octet(s) to increase or decrease the bits used for the Network ID and Host ID respectively.

CIDR (Classless Interdomain Routing)

Since you really need the subnet mask to determine the number of bits in the Network and Host IDs a shorthand method was created to allow you to determine the number of bits used for the network ID using slash (/) notation. CIDR notation takes the host IP address and follows it with a slash and number like /24 following the IP address. Here’s an example the address and subnet could be written as 192.168.0.1-255.255.255.0 indicating a class C network using 24 bits for the network portion. This can be abbreviated to 192.168.0.1/24 with CIDR notation. Should an additional network bit be required you can borrow that bit with 192.168.0.1/25 creating two additional subnets. These would have the network ID 11000000.10101000.00000000.00000000 or 11000000.10101000.00000000.10000000 with 16 bits available for the host ID. Here’s a brief graphic that shows the relationship of CIDR and the binary representation of a /32 network.

Color graphic of a binary representation of a slash 32 network
Binary representation of a /32 network

VLSM

So far creating subnets was a matter of dividing the new subnets into smaller equal portions. In practice, this could prove to be an inefficient approach as some subnets may waste addresses while others may need more. Variable Length Subnet Masks (VLSM) was developed to allow subnets to be further divided to more efficiently match the needs of the network. You create the largest subnet first then “subnet the subnet” from there.

CIDR notation (IPv4 vs. IPv6)

IPv6 Networks differ substantially from IPv4 as they are classless, do not use subnet masks and a single subnet can support 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 on a Residential – /64 network.

Address assignments

DHCP

In order to manage IP addressing and configuration on network clients, a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server is used. The DHCP server automatically provides all of the configuration information to clients while preventing address duplication. The process will be familiar to those using a residential gateway or SOHO router. The DHCP server is provided a range of addresses (scope) available for it to provide to clients. Addresses are not permanently or statically assigned to clients by the server. They are leased. When the lease expires it can be renewed by the client or assigned to a different client. The configuration information provided to the client includes the lease time, when the lease was obtained and when it expires, the default gateway address and primary and secondary DNS server addresses. This process is transparent to the user. The DHCP server listens on port 67 for the client to request DHCP service. When the request is received the server responds on port 68 with the configuration.

Since the DHCP assigned IP address is not static you may obtain a different address each time you log on to the network. This works well for standard clients but some devices, printers, for example, require a permanent address to be consistently accessible to the clients. In this case, the server is configured to use the same address for that device using an IP reservation. When the server sees the MAC address of the printer it will provide the same address to it consistently. Static IP addresses can be used along with DHCP. To avoid conflicts the statically assigned addresses should be excluded from the servers address range using an IP exclusion.

DHCPv6

DHCPv6 handles dynamic address assignment much the same way DHCPv4 does with the exception of the ports used. DHCPv6 listens on port 546 and responds on port 547. The IPv6 process is known as autoconfiguration and assigns addresses using FE80::/64 as the first 64 bits. The host portion of the address can be assigned randomly or it can use the EUI-64 method shown below. 

Static

When you manually set the IP address it is known as a static IP address. Statically assigned addresses are used when servers, printers, and other network devices need to be consistently available to the network nodes at the same address. Static addressing increases administrative overhead but is necessary for devices that provide network services. Otherwise, DHCP is the preferred method.

APIPA

Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) is an addressing method used when a DHCP client is unable to obtain a lease from the server. APIPA takes over and assigns addresses in the 169.254.0.1 to 169.254.255.255 IP range. This configuration will remain in place until a DHCP server is located.

EUI64

In IPv6 addressing the first 64 bits represent the network portion of the address. The remaining 64 bits can be randomly generated or they can be based on the device’s MAC address. Since a MAC address is 48 bits more host bits are needed. The 48 bit MAC address uses EUI-64 (Extended Unique Identifier-64) to be converted to meet the 64-bit standard. This calls for an additional 16 bits to be added and the inversion of the seventh bit.

That’s it for objective 1.4. Good luck on the test!


Published June 5, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007Uncategorized

Network+ N10-007 ExamNotes for sub-objective 1.4 Given a scenario, configure the appropriate IP addressing components – Part 1 of 2

1.4 Given a scenario, configure the appropriate IP addressing components.

– Private vs. public
– Loopback and reserved
– Default gateway
– Virtual IP
– Subnet mask

This is our Part 1 of 2 for sub-objective 1.4. For the remainder of sub-objective 1.4 go to Part 2.

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In this installment of ExamNotes for Network+ N10-007, we will examine aspects of IP addressing and using virtual as well as physical methods to explore them. Let’s start by reviewing the output of the ipconfig /all command from a typical SOHO computer’s wireless adapter.  

Screenshot of an output of the ipconfig /all command
Example of an output of the ipconfig /all command

Private vs. public

Public network addresses are licensed by IANA in three classes Class A Class B and Class C.  Here is how these address octets break down. An x in this table indicates portions of the public-address octet available for host assignment, 0-255.

Class IPv4 Octets Number of Available Networks Available Hosts Per Network
Class A 1.x.x.x to 126.x.x.x 126 16 million
Class B 128.x.x.x to 191.255.x.x 16,000 65,000
Class C 192.0.0.x to 223.255.255.x 2 million 254

The total scope of IPv4 addresses is 4,294,967,296 addresses. This would seem sufficient, but in fact, this range is in the process of being exhausted. One method to alleviate the need for addresses in the public space is private addressing.  Here one public IP address can be used by a router to communicate publicly and the router will issue private non-routable IP addresses to its connected network nodes using NAT/PAT. This technique is used heavily in both business and SOHO deployments. Private addressing can provide millions of private networks and billions of host addresses. Your refrigerator or television’s connectivity need not rely on a public address.  Here are the address scopes available for private addressing.

Private Address Ranges
10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255
172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255
192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255

Remember these addresses are non-routable and will not pass through the router without address translation.

Loopback and reserved

Some network addresses and ranges are reserved by TCP/IP for specific purposes and should not be manually assigned. Review this list of addresses and functions.

IP address or range Description
255.255.255.255 Broadcast address. This address is used exclusively for broadcast transmission intended for every node on the network.
0.0.0.0 Unassigned
127.0.0.1to 127.255.255.254 Used for the PC network interface validation shown below.
169.254.0.1 to 169.254.255.255 Assigned by APIPA to hosts using DHCP that are unable to obtain an address lease.

A loopback address is used to send and receive ICMP ping packets in order to validate the TCP/IP configuration. This confirms the correct configuration of both the TCP/IP protocol and the interface itself. Perform this test by typing: ping 127.0.0.1, and examining the results.

Default gateway

A gateway performs the address translation necessary for your private network to communicate with the public network. A specific address, usually the router, is configured on each host as the default gateway enabling each host to communicate externally while using only the router’s external address.

Virtual IP

When you look at server clustering and load balancing you will see it is important to manage the network load on the servers. Server clustering allows a group of servers to work together while appearing as a single virtual IP address.

Subnet mask

As you have learned a computer’s 32-bit IPv4 address is broken into two sections, each containing 16 binary bits of the 32-bit address. The first portion is the Network ID (prefix) and the second portion identifies the host as shown:

Network ID Host ID
xxxx.xxxx. xxxxx.xxxxx

When a node is ready to transmit it uses the network ID to determine if the recipient is on the local network. If not the transmission is directed to the gateway for address translation and forwarding. Subnet masking is used to adjust the number of bits assigned to the network portion of the address with the remaining bits used to identify the host. You will encounter many Class C addresses in your studies so we will use one here. Remember that IP addresses represent groups of bits. So the IP address 192.168.2.101 in binary form is 11000000.10101000.00000010.01100101. Using a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 (11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000) assigns the first three octets or 24 bits to the Network ID. And the remainder to the Host ID. In this case, the Network ID is 192.168.2.0 and your Host ID is 101. As we move on you will see how these values can be adjusted to fit your specific needs.

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content


Published June 4, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

Download of the CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Exam Objectives (PDF)

Click here to download the CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Exam Objectives

Compare and contrast Network+ N10-006 vs N10-007

For your benefit, we have, in below two tables, listed side by side the Main Domains (exam objectives) of both Network+ N10-006 and Network+ N10-007.

Network+ N10-006 Network+ N10-007
1.0 Network architecture 1.0 Networking Concepts
2.0 Network operations 2.0 Infrastructure
3.0 Network security 3.0 Network Operations
4.0 Troubleshooting 4.0 Network Security
5.0 Industry standards, practices, and network theory 5.0 Network Troubleshooting and Tools

Below are the full and detailed Network+ exam objectives for both Network+ versions

Click here to download the CompTIA Network+ N10-006 Exam Objectives

Click here to download the CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Exam Objectives

Above lists do not reflect the extent of the differences between the two exams as those differences are more noticeable at the sub-objective level. In all about 30% of the sub-objectives are new to N10-007 and about 10% of N10-006 objectives have been dropped. The net effect is that Network+ N10-007 requires you to cover more content than N10-006.

Why Network+ certification matters

Networks are what support our entire “information highway” i.e. the Internet. There is not one piece of information or transaction made on your smartphone, tablet, or computer that does not flow over some part of a network. Knowing that there currently a skills gap in IT and network support because the supply of qualified candidates falls short of the available job openings (source: CompTIA Jun 26, 2017 “Organizations struggle to close widening skills gap”).

The Network+ exam is itself credentialled: Certified by ISO and approved by DoD

CompTIA has submitted the Security+ exam (like all its exams) to review by the ISO for the ISO 17024 standard which has approved its processes for that exam. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense has approved the exam to fulfill its Directive 8570.01-M skills requirements. Finally, Security+ SY0-501 is compliant, under the Federal Information Security Management Act – FISMA, with government regulations.

Network+ is developed through CompTIA by and for the industry

Network+, just like all other CompTIA certifications, is developed and maintained by leading IT experts working in the industry and volunteering for CompTIA. The exam objectives and skills tested on the exams stem from a combination of industry-wide surveys (performed by CompTIA) and contributions from a team of subject matter experts.

Exam specifications for Network+ N10-007

Maximum number of questions: 90

Maximum allowed time: 90 min.

Passing score: on a scale of 100-900, the minimum score is 750 (so a bit over 85%)

Suggested prerequisite: the ideal candidate has passed the CompTIA A+ exam and has two years or more of experience in IT administration with an emphasis on cybersecurity.

Special note on Network+ N10-007

Being a “medium” exam in CompTIA’s exam hierarchy succeeding at this exam will automatically renew lower level certifications. This means that if you have a current A+ credential then it will renew automatically for three years from the date you pass the Network+ exam. The “higher” exam would be Security+ which would alleviate your need to retake A+ and/or Network+.

Screenshot of a Network+ N10-007 Perormance based question
Network+ N10-007 Performance-based question


Published June 3, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resourcesNetwork+ N10-007

Difference between the new A+ 220-1002 and the CompTIA A+ 220-902 certification

First about the exam number: At the time we are writing this we have reasons to believe that 220-1002 will be the exam number that will be replacing 220-902. However, this is early enough that things could change in that respect. If so, we’ll update as needed. Update: The exam number is confirmed to be A+ 220-1002 but the exam now also has a name. It is A+ Core 2.

As an entry-level certification, A+ is rather a wider than a deep credential. It is to some extent stating the obvious to say that the Exam Objectives for A+ 220-1002 will aim at reflecting technologies dominant today that were not included, or at least not prevalent, in the objectives as stated three years ago.

Click here for free ExamNotes for A+ 220-902

Are A+ exams 220-902 and 220-1002 “Software” exams?

A semantic survival from the A+ certification’s past is still around in some well-informed circles. When the A+ certification program was first launched in the early 1990s (and yes, we were there…) it was split into two exams and they were not known by a number. There was no need to refer to a number as these were the very first exams and so the only ones around. However, they were known as and referred to as the A+ Hardware and A+ Software exam. The A+ Hardware was all PCs, Macs. and printers, no devices yet (this was 1992). The Software exam was Windows and Apple. By including Apple, it ensured a vendor-neutral imprint on the exam. In any case, if you take a look at the exam objectives of today’s A+ 220-901 vs 220-902, you can clearly see that that division is still alive and well:

Main Domains of A+ 220-901 Main Domains of A+ 220-902
1.0 Hardware 1.0 Windows Operating Systems
2.0 Networking 2.0 Other Operating Systems & Technologies
3.0 Mobile Devices 3.0 Security
4.0 Hardware & Network Troubleshooting 4.0 Software Troubleshooting
5.0 Operational Procedures

As you can see in the above table the demarcation between hardware and software is still there. So, to answer the question: “Are A+ exams 220-902 and 220-1002 “Software” exams?”, the answer is yes even though CompTIA, for the several last releases, has stopped to refer to these exams in that way. But enough digressing and on to the expected content changes.

Click here for free A+ sample questions

How will the new A+ exam objectives change?

Click here for to the complete A+ 220-1002 Core 2 Exam Objectives

Below is a list of the topics that we expect CompTIA to either enhance or to add to the new A+ 220-1002 exam objectives:

– Software that supports cloud technologies
– Expansion of Virtualization
– Increased support for a greater variety of mobile devices (mostly settings)
– Additional performance and security monitoring tools
– Enhanced and more detailed analysis of metrics obtained from monitoring and tracking tools
– Deepening of the understanding of network access and setup
– Sideloaded applications and management of the process
– Expect security to occupy an even larger part of the A+ objectives as cybersecurity becomes an ever-growing concern

The trend over the years has been about 25% to 35% new content added and very little old content removed, maybe 5 – 10%. As additional information becomes available, we will update you on this.

Beyond new topics, we should also expect CompTIA to add more performance-based questions and by doing so, add emphasis to the practical application of knowledge. Any sub-objectives starting with “Given a scenario…” will be a clue that that type of questioning is coming up. We should expect to see more of those in the new A+ objectives. It is all based on CompTIA’s effort to, as much as possible, move from testing “knowledge” to measuring “understanding”.

UPDATE! Here are the actual changes, not just “expected”…

New material in A+ 220-1002 that was not part of the A+ 220-902 exam objectives

This contribution focuses on the new items in the 220-1002 exam objectives compared to the 220-902. If you have been studying the A+ 220-902, then consider that your foundation and add the 1002 objectives that follow.

Main Domain 1.0 – Operating Systems

first new element given is the Windows 10 OS version. Since it is listed as a common operating system it should be a valid consideration throughout your study and testing.

BranchCache has been added.

When considering OS installations and upgrades you will need knowledge of the HFS file system and the swap partition. The install /upgrade prerequisites and upgrade path are shown as new.  Compatibility for hardware, OS and applications are also new here.

At the Microsoft command line you will need to know one additional navigation parameter, the ..(double dot). Several new command tools or utilities have been added that relate to network access and utilization. Here is the list:

ipconfig

ping

tracert

netstat

nslookup

net use

net user

dism

Your Control Panel requirements now cover the Credential Manager and Sync Center in addition to the others. You will need a deeper overall understanding of device synchronization throughout A+ when compared to previous requirements.

When installing and configuring applications you will now need to know security considerations such as the impact to the device and the impact to the network.

The kill command is new to your list of basic Linux commands.

Main Domain 2.0 – Security

Physical security measures now include a security guard, server locks, and USB locks.

Basic Active Directory functions are new including account creation, deletion and disabling.

Main Domain 3.0 – Software Troubleshooting

You are software troubleshooting for the Microsoft Windows OS: Know address slow bootup and slow profile loading.

Mobile OS and app troubleshooting now includes App log errors. The ability to use log files to diagnose problems is emphasized throughout the A+ certification.

Main Domain 4.0 – Operational Procedures

This main domain has a substantial number of new additions and you should consider them carefully as entire sub-objectives have been added. We will start with the most changed ones.

Best practices associated with types of documentation are compared and contrasted using the following criteria:

  • Network topology diagrams
  • Knowledgebase/articles
  • Incident documentation
  • Regulatory and compliance policy
  • Acceptable use policy
  • Password policy
  • Inventory management

– Asset tags and Barcodes

You will be given a scenario where you will use the best practices to implement basic change management.

  • Documented business processes
  • Purpose of the change
  • Scope the change
  • Risk analysis
  • Plan for change
  • End-user acceptance
  • Change board

– Approvals

  • Backout plan
  • Document changes

When implementing basic disaster prevention and recovery methods you will address the following:

  • Backup and recovery

– Image level

– File level

– Critical applications

  • Backup testing
  • UPS
  • Surge protector
  • Cloud storage vs. local storage backups
  • Account recovery options

Common safety procedures now include the waste handling of cell phones and tablets.

New policies for handling regulated data pertain to:

– PII (Personally identifiable information)

– PCI (Payment Card Industry)

– GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

– PHI (Protected Health Information)

  • The basics of scripting is a new area and include:
  • Script file types – Here know both the programs that create and use them.

– .bat

– .ps1

– .vbs

– .sh

– .py

– .js

  • Environment variables
  • Comment syntax
  • Basic script constructs such as Basic loops and Variables
  • Basic data types like Integers and Strings

Earlier in the 220-901 objectives, you defined and described remote access protocols. Now you are asked to use them. You will need to know how to use Telnet, SSH, Screen sharing and consider the security implications for each method.

Click here for free ExamNotes for A+ 220-902

Should I take the A+ 220-902 now or wait for the new A+ 220-1002 exam?

First and foremost, you take the version available at the time you need to get certified, typically there is no good reason to wait around for a future version. The main reason for that is that no matter what A+ version you sit for, you will be just as certified for three years from the date of the exam irrespective of new vs “old”. Having said that, there will be six months (or more) of a “grace period” between the introduction of the new A+ 220-1002 and the retirement of the A+ 220-902. During this period, you will actually be able to pick and choose your exam objectives i.e. 902 vs 1002 or 901 vs. 1002. What should then guide your choice? The short answer is, your training. If, at that time, you have been training for A+ 220-902, and are ready to pass the test, then without hesitation sit for the A+ 220-902. The training on 220-902 will not be transferable enough to succeed at the A+ 220-1002. That is because a 25 – 30% change in exam objectives will scuttle any chances to get the approximately 85% so score that is required to pass the exam. During the grace period, your training will have to be the paramount consideration. If, on the other hand during, you have not specifically trained for 220-902, then take a long hard look at both exam objectives and just pick the one you feel the most comfortable with.

Again, it doesn’t matter if you happen to take the current version a day before its retirement date, you will remain certified and therefore, per CompTIA current, for three years no matter what. Another reason you may want to take the current version over the next one is that we often have a healthy tendency to prefer “the devil we know”… Also, because a new version sees a fair amount of changes and edits in the first few months after release, there will be more predictability in committing to A+ 220-902 than the new exam.

Whatever you decide, best of luck in your quest for A+ certification!

Click here for free A+ sample questions

Below is an example of a Performance-Based Question (PBQ) for A+ 220-902.


Published May 25, 2018 in A+ 220-1001A+ 220-1002A+ 220-901 & 220-902

Network+ N10-007 ExamNotes for sub-objective 1.3 Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching – Part 3 of 3

We need your help! This is a free community resource: Please give us any feedback you deem appropriate. If you like it as is, we’d love to know. If you don’t like it, we’d love to know how to improve it. If you find typos or errors, please let us know! Your fellow students will all benefit from your feedback.

CompTIA Exam Sub-objective 1.3: “Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching.”

For the previous two parts of these objectives go to Part 1 and/or Part 2.

Performance concepts
Traffic shaping: QoS – Diffserv – CoS
NAT/PAT
Port forwarding
Access control list
Distributed switching
Packet-switched vs. circuit-switched network
Software-defined networking

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

Performance concepts

– Traffic shaping

Traffic shaping is a technique used on high volume networks to ensure the timely delivery of prioritized traffic and provide optimal performance to the users. The network is managed and optimized to control the type and amount of traffic by prioritizing important traffic. As an example, VoIP traffic will receive a higher priority than standard data.

– QoS

Quality of Service (QoS) is a group of techniques that ensure that voice and video communications are handled in a time-sensitive manner. This will avoid jittery VoIP or choppy video streams. Prioritized traffic is given all of the network bandwidth it needs. We’ll look at two of the standard techniques used for QoS next.

Diffserv

Differentiated Services (DiffServ) works at OSI Layer 3 to examine all traffic and prioritize time-sensitive packets like voice and video. DiffServ modifies the DiffServ field in an IPv4 packet or the Traffic Class field in an IPv6 packet. This information tells routers how to handle the packets.

CoS

Class of Service (CoS) is another QoS method that operates at OSI Layer 2. CoS improves the routing and switching of Ethernet frames between VLANs. Tagged frames are prioritized using eight priority levels (0 – 7). The level is assigned to the frame in a three-bit field in the header. The field is called the Priority Code Point (PCP).

NAT/PAT

Network Address Translation (NAT) was designed to reduce the need for public IP addresses required by a network. A gateway provides separation between a private network and the public network by assigning private IP addresses to its network. Only one Public IP address is used and the private network is invisible to outsiders. The private devices use the gateway to communicate with the Internet or other networks. The gateway translates the private address to the gateways public address. This is great for outbound sessions but presents a problem with inbound sessions since they are returned to the public address and do not contain the NAT information. This is where Port Address Translation (PAT) comes in. Each session between a local host and an Internet host is assigned to an individual TCP port. When the gateway receives traffic intended for the host it knows where to send it.

Port forwarding

Port Forwarding redirects traffic to a port other than its default. For example, FTP uses insecure port 21.  With port forwarding you can use a different, possibly secure, port to disguise the traffic. This is a feature of NAT and needs to be configured on the gateway. An external host must know the address and port number to communicate.

Access control list

ACLs (Access Control Lists) are used to permit or deny specific traffic on the network. Routers, firewalls, and Layer 3 switches can filter traffic based on their configuration. On a router, packets can be passed or dropped based on any or all of the following:

– Source IP address
– Destination IP address
– TCP/UDP port number
– Network layer protocol
– Transport layer protocol

Since a router examines all packets, it can drop any packets that are not permitted by the ACL. The ACL will compare the traffic to its ordered list of permit/deny rules. Each rule will either deny the packet or pass it to the next rule repeating the process. Only packets that are permitted by all rules will be allowed onto the network.

Distributed switching

In the virtual environment distributed switching provides a centralized control point for VMs and virtual server clusters across multiple points. This simplifies network management and reduces errors. On each physical host, an agent is installed.  A supervisor module on the distributed switch then controls the hosts.

Packet-switched vs. circuit switched network

Since switching determines how devices communicate on a network we will look at two major switching methods.

Circuit-switched networks are easy to relate to. Compare this type of switching to that of a telephone call. The first party attempts to connect, the second party accepts the connection establishing a circuit. All data on the circuit will use the same path. This circuit will be used only by the two parties and will remain connected until one of the parties disconnects. This is simple and direct.

Packet-switched networking is by far more efficient and adaptable to IP networks. IP protocols break the data into packets before transmission. Since each packet contains the necessary addressing information and sequencing, each packet is free to take the fastest route to its destination. The packets can arrive at the destination in any order. The destination node will use the control information in each packet to reconstruct the transmission. This method uses considerably fewer network resources than the circuit switched alternative.

Software-defined networking

With our networking environment consisting of both virtual and physical network management and even the creation of new networks represents quite a challenge. SDN (software-defined networking) centralizes the control of data flow by using software. In this process determinations that were traditionally handled by routers and switches, are now handled by the SDN controller.  The SDN controller integrates the functions of device configuration and device management into a single software interface. This simplifies device management as every physical or virtual device can be accessed, monitored and configured. The software interface or dashboard allows administrators to control devices simultaneously as a group, making it a clear alternative to individual device access. SDN will play a major role in Cloud technologies.

And this concludes our three-part post for CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Sub-objective 1.3.

Good luck on the test!

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

For the previous two parts of these objectives click on Part 1 and/or Part 2.

screenshot of a Performance Based Question (PBQ) in the CertBlaster Network+ simulator
Example of Performance Based Question (PBQ) in the CertBlaster Network+ simulator


Published May 24, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

Network+ N10-007 ExamNotes for sub-objective 1.3 Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching – Part 2 of 3

CompTIA Exam Sub-objective 1.3: “Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching.”

For the previous part of these objectives go to Part 1, for the remainder of the 1.3 objectives go to Part 3.

Routing

Routing protocols (IPv4 and IPv6) – Distance-vector routing protocols – RIP – EIGRP – Link-state routing protocols – OSPF – Hybrid – BGP – Routing types – Static – Dynamic – Default

IPv6 concepts

Addressing – Tunneling – Dual stack – Router advertisement – Neighbor discovery

For the rest of the 1.3 objectives go to Part 3.

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

Routing

Distance-vector Routing protocols (IPv4 and IPv6)

Routers use routing protocols to determine the best path for communication. The protocols evaluate the reliability and the priority of data using three metrics.

  • Administrative distance (AD) assigns a numeric rating value to the protocol for prioritization. The lower the number the higher the priority. Administrators can modify this value to give one protocol precedence over another.
  • Convergence time. This measures the time it takes the protocol to determine the best path when there are changes or outages along the route.
  • Overhead measures the amount of resources needed to support the protocol.

Distance-vector routing protocols

Distance –vector routing protocols can use metrics as simple as the number of hops or they can calculate the latency and congestion. Neighboring routers can exchange this route information with each other. The protocols rely heavily on the routes they receive because they can’t measure network conditions more than two hops away. RIP (Routing Information Protocol), RIPv2 (Routing Information Protocol, version 2) and EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol) are distance-vector protocols. EIGRP is generally preferred over RIP.

RIP

See Distance-vector routing protocols.

EIGRP

See Distance-vector routing protocols.

Link-state routing protocols

OSPF

Link-state protocols allow routers to communicate with routers beyond the two hop limit of distance-vector protocols. OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) is a link-state routing protocol. The best path to a destination can be determined using a network map it creates from the other routers. Link-state protocols adapt quickly to network changes. OSPF was developed to improve RIP. OSPF is stable, converges quickly, and supports large networks.

Hybrid

BGP

The Border Gateway Protocol is considered a hybrid protocol in the CompTIA objectives as it employs elements of both Link-state and distance-vector protocols. Technically it is classified as an advanced protocol.

Routing types

Static

When using static routing a network administrator specifies the paths between networks in the routing table. This is efficient and has low overhead, but it cannot compensate for network failures without manual intervention.

Dynamic

Dynamic routing has the capability of determining the best path between networks. This method also allows the router to detect and compensate for network issues like congestion by rerouting the communication. When new routers are discovered or added their routing tables are updated.

Default

Default routing is a variant of static routing. A normal static route specifies communication between two known networks. A default route is configured to send packets destined to any unknown destination to the next hop address.

IPv6 concepts

Addressing

IPv6 addresses consist of eight hexadecimal blocks separated by colons. Each block contains 16 bits making the IPv6 address 128 bits in length.

Here’s an example: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334

If an IPv6 address block contains all zeroes it can be truncated using double colons (::). The example address can be truncated to 2001:0db8:85a3::8a2e:0370:7334.

Tunneling

Tunneling aids the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 by allowing IPv6 routers and hosts to communicate with each other over the existing IPv4 infrastructure. To accomplish these IPv6 datagrams are encapsulated within IPv4 packets and travel on the IPv4 network.  The IPv6 datagram is extracted by the IPv6 destination device.

Dual stack

A network that uses both IPv4 and IPv6 is called dual stacked. Dual-stacked packets will not be handled by networks that do not support it. The solution is to tunnel these packets. The best example is the internet which is not completely dual stacked. All IPv6 internet traffic uses tunneling.

Router advertisement

Router advertisement is used as part of IPv6 autoconfiguration. An IPv6 host can auto-configure its own address. In this process, the host uses a standard prefix with its interface ID based on the host MAC address. The host requests configuration information from the router in a message called a router solicitation (RS). The router responds with a router advertisement (RA) containing the necessary configuration information.

Neighbor discovery

The Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) is part of the IPv6 protocol suite. It serves as a replacement for IPv4 for ARP and ICMP and others. NDP uses five message types:

  • Router Solicitation-The Router Solicitation message is sent by IPv6 hosts to discover the presence of IPv6 routers on the link.
  • Router Advertisement – The Router Advertisement message contains the information required by hosts to determine whether or not to use address autoconfiguration, the link prefixes, MTU, specified routes.
  • Neighbor Solicitation – IPv6 nodes send the Neighbor Solicitation message to discover the link-layer address of an IPv6 node on-link.
  • Neighbor Advertisement – The Neighbor Advertisement contains the information required by nodes to determine the sender’s role on the network, and typically the link-layer address of the sender.
  • Redirect – An IPv6 router will send a Redirect message to inform a host of a better first hop address for a specific destination.

For the previous part of these objectives go to Part 1, for the rest of the 1.3 objectives go to Part 3.

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content


Published May 23, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

Network+ N10-007 ExamNotes for sub-objective 1.3 Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching – Part 1 of 3

In order to understand routing and switching you should be comfortable with the logical and physical aspects of the networks, you will encounter along with the behavior of the devices that control their traffic.

CompTIA Exam Sub-objective 1.3: “Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching.”

Properties of network traffic

Broadcast domains – CSMA/CD – CSMA/CA – Collision domains – Protocol data units – MTU – Broadcast – Multicast – Unicast.

Segmentation and interface properties

VLANs – Trunking (802.1q) – Tagging and untagging ports – Port mirroring – Switching loops/spanning tree – PoE and PoE+ (802.3af, 802.3at) – DMZ – MAC address table – ARP table.

For the rest of the 1.3 exam objectives go to Part 2 and/or Part 3.

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

Properties of network traffic

– Broadcast domains

A broadcast domain can be described as a LAN using switches as its boundaries. Switches can deliver port to port transmissions between nodes reducing overall network congestion. The switch will determine the destination of the traffic and whether or not it should be forwarded to a router.

A broadcast domain is connected to the router through switches. When nodes are connected to a hub a collision domain is created. Remember a hub delivers all traffic to all connected nodes creating the high probability of simultaneous transmissions. In a data collision, all packets are dropped and a resend is required.  The resend or retransmission has the same probability of success as the initial one. This calls for signal control over the media.

photo of a network hub
Hub

Media Access Control methods such as Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) were developed to alleviate the problem. Here the transmitting NIC senses or listens for traffic on the carrier media and waits for it to clear. Multiple access represents multiple nodes contending for time on the media. This approach is most applicable to 802.3 Ethernet with legacy hardware.

– CSMA/CD

Since all nodes in a collision domain are competing for access to the transmission media Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) methods are necessary. This is especially true on Ethernet connections. Carrier Sense refers to the transmitting NIC listening on the media for traffic before transmitting. Multiple Access refers to multiple nodes using the same media.

There are two methods of CSMA. First, we’ll look at CSMA with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD).  In this method, the NIC transmits when the media is clear and monitors the transmission. If a collision is detected it can send a jam signal to all nodes that the media is in use then continue the transmission.

– CSMA/CA

CSMA with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA) takes a different approach when dealing with collisions. Here once the media is clear, the transmitting node signals the whole collision domain that it will transmit and the other nodes back off their transmissions.

– Collision domains

See Broadcast domains.

– Protocol Data Units

A Protocol Data Unit (PDU) is a message or group of bits containing data and addressing information. As the PDU id is processed through the OSI model, each layer adds or removes formatting information to prepare the payload for the next Layer. As it moves through the layers it will be referred to by a different term. Here is how those terms break down by layer:

OSI Model
Term
Layer 1 Physical layer Transmission or bit
Layer 2 Data Link Layer Frame
Layer 3 Network Layer Packet
Layer 4 Transport layer TCP segment or UDP datagram
Layer 5

Layer 6

Layer 7

Session layer

Presentation layer

Application layer

Payload

– MTU

Essentially the MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) represents the largest size supported by the Network layer (Layer 2) routers. The standard size is 1500 bytes. There are exceptions that would allow larger frames. For example, VLAN frames have an extra four bytes and a jumbo frame, used in special-purpose networks, which can be up to 9198 bytes.

– Unicast

Unicast transmission is a typical host to host transmission where the message is intended for a single destination.

– Broadcast

A Broadcast transmission will be sent to every node on the network or segment in a broadcast domain.  It is generally used for address resolution when the destination host is not known. Broadcast messages can be sent by a new connection to announce its presence. ARP requests are broadcasted. Router updates also rely on broadcasts.

– Multicast

Multicast refers to transmissions that are sent to multiple nodes simultaneously.  A good example of this is multimedia streaming. Here each intended recipient is configured to receive this traffic.

Segmentation and interface properties

Network segmentation improves performance and security within a broadcast domain. It breaks the domain into more efficient groupings. This can be done using subnets or using VLANs (virtual LANs). We’ll look at these methods next.

– VLANs

VLANS are created using the ports on a Layer 2 switch. The method allows traffic to be directed either to a router or to or a virtual broadcast domain. This allows larger broadcast domains and multiple virtual LANs to be created.

– Trunking (802.1q)

Trunking is the term used for using a switch to support multiple VLANs. On a switch, a trunk is a single connection that supports multiple virtual connections. An 802.1q VLAN tag is placed in an Ethernet frame following the addressing fields.

– Tagging and untagging ports

Each port on a switch can be configured independently. This allows for ports to be grouped together and assigned to VLANs. When using a trunking protocol the 802.1q tag is read by routers or switches in the path to the destination. When the final switch is reached it removes the tag.

– Port mirroring

Port mirroring is also known as SPAN (Switch Port Analyzer). This technique sends a copy of all traffic on a port to a network security device such as a NIDS. The security device will monitor the traffic for anomalies and report them.

– Switching loops/spanning tree

In networks using multiple switches, it is possible for a failed broadcast transmission to be retransmitted by all the switches on the network (loop) until they eventually flood the network. This problem is addressed by the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). STP identifies potential switching loops and blocks them. In Network+ N10-007 sub-objective 4.6 we’ll look at STP communication in greater detail. For now, we can say that STP uses Bridge Protocol Data Units (BPDU).

– PoE and PoE+ (802.3af, 802.3at)

IEEE standards 802.3af (PoE) and 802.3at (PoE+) define how electrical power can be transmitted over Ethernet cabling. (PoE) This is highly beneficial in networks that have devices that cannot be powered by the traditional electrical grid. Utilizing unused cable pairs in Cat5 or better cabling PoE delivers 15.4 watts of electricity to devices while PoE+ delivers 25.5 W. Two devices are specified by the PoE standard: The Power Supply Equipment (PSE) and the Powered Devices (PDs)

– DMZ

A Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a network space between your network’s internal and external firewalls. Let’s say that you have an external DNS server that you wish to be accessible to the internet. The firewall protecting your external DNS server will allow for a more relaxed configuration than the hardened firewall protecting your internal DNS server.

– MAC address table

The network switches we use maintain a list of MAC addresses. This list is comprised of Mac addresses it knows and those that are updated from other switches. A good example is where inbound communication is intended for a MAC address that is on your network and known to the switch. The source MAC address of this communication will be added to your switch’s MAC address table and the source would be known. The MAC address table is also used to drop incoming packets that are not intended for known internal devices.

– ARP table

The ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) is responsible for mapping IP addresses to MAC addresses in IPv4. ARP maintains a database of the MAC addresses on the local network and the corresponding IP address. This is known as the ARP table. This table is built by initially broadcasting requests to IP addresses in its range. The devices respond with their physical (MAC) address.

The ARP table contains two types of entries, static and dynamic. Static addresses are entered manually. Dynamic addresses are added when an internal host requests an address that is not in the ARP table. Once located that new IP to Mac address mapping will be added to the table. You can view the ARP table on a Windows machine by entering arp –a at the command prompt.

Screenshot of the arp –a command at the command prompt
arp –a at the command prompt

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Published May 22, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resourcesNetwork+ N10-007

ExamNotes for Network+ N10-007 sub-objective 1.2 Explain devices, applications, protocols and services at their appropriate OSI layers

The OSI layers have been a recurring feature of the Network+ exams from one version to the next for over a decade now. CompTIA is so serious about it that it dedicates this entire sub-objective to this one item.

CompTIA Exam Sub-objective 1.1: “Explain devices, applications, protocols and services at their appropriate OSI layers.”

• Layer 1 – Physical • Layer 4 – Transport • Layer 7 – Application
• Layer 2 – Data link • Layer 5 – Session
• Layer 3 – Network • Layer 6 – Presentation

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Screenshot showing OSI Layers for Network+ N10-007 Exam sub-objective 1.2 "Explain devices, applications, protocols and services at their appropriate OSI layers."
OSI Layers & Function

Mnemonic anyone?

One issue is, of course, to just remember all these layers in the right order on exam day. There are a few mnemonics out there listing the first letter of each layer from the bottom up i.e. from layer 7 to 1. Here are three examples of that:

– People Seem To Need Data Processing

– Please Do Not Throw Salami Pizza Away

– Please Do Not Tell Secret Passwords Anytime

Pick whichever one works best for you (or make up your own), and on exam date, jot it down immediately on the note pages made available to you at the testing center. That will be one less thing to remember (or mess up) as you go through the exam questions.

Layer 1 – Physical Layer

This is the Physical layer on the Network Interface Controller aka Network Interface Card or NIC. It receives the frame and places the actual transmission on the network.

Layer 2 – Data Link Layer

The packet is passed to the Link layer on the NIC, which encapsulates this data with its own header and trailer, creating what is referred to as a frame. The link layer’s frame includes the physical addresses used to find nodes on the local network.

Layer 3 – Network Layer

The Network layer adds a header to the segment. That header identifies the IP address of the destination host as well as the message aka a packet.

OSI Layer 4 – Transport Layer

The Transport layer protocol, typically TCP (for wide area networks or the internet) or UDP (mostly for local area networks) adds a header to the payload. The function of the header is to attach a port number that identifies the application on the destination host. From here on the message, depending on the protocol used, is either a segment or a datagram.

Layer 5 – Session Layer

The Session layer is responsible for establishing maintaining and terminating connections between computers. The connection is called a session. The session layer can also play a role in error handling and connection recovery.

Layer 6 – Presentation Layer

The Presentation layer handles the task of preparing the data and making it acceptable to the Application layer. This preparation includes encryption and decryption, compression and graphics handling.

Layer 7 – Application Layer

The Application layer is the only OSI layer that interacts with the user. As the user sends email or browses the internet the applications they use employ Application layer protocols such as SMTP or HTTP respectively to communicate with the lower OSI layers.

That’s all for objective 1.2! Good luck on the test!

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

 


Published May 16, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resourcesNetwork+ N10-007

ExamNotes for Network+ N10-007 1.1 Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols – Part 2/2

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

Welcome to ExamNotes for Network+ N10-007. This series of posts is one pear each CompTIA Network+ sub-objective. This one addresses sub-objective 1.1 “Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols”. Because this sub-objective covers so much ground we have split it up into two and this is Part 2 of 2. Click here for Part 1.

Please give us any feedback you deem appropriate. If you like it as is, we’d love to know. If you don’t like it, we’d love to know how to improve it. Best of luck in your quest for Network+ certification!

– LDAP Port 389

Think of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) as a phonebook for network services. The protocol serves to provide access to, and maintenance of, a distributed directory of the users, applications, available network services and systems throughout an IP network. Based on the x.500 standard’s directory services using the Directory Access Protocol (DAP) which relied on the 7 layer OSI model, LDAP uses only a portion of the x.500 standard set and uses the newer and more relevant four-layer Internet protocol suite on port TCP/UDP 389 at the application layer. By containing all the required network information including users and their credentials, LDAP servers can be used to quickly validate user access. LDAP can fulfill specific and detailed responses to queries about the network with precisely detailed information based on the parameters of the request. The more details specified in the request, the more concise the response. In addition to its own Distinguished Name (DN), object identification LDAP can ask DNS servers to locate other LDAP servers.

– LDAPS Port 636

The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol over TLS/SSL (LDAPS) is a secure implementation of LDAP. Since LDAP communication is transmitted in clear text they represent a vulnerability. Encryption is used to secure the LDAP transmissions. The encryption is provided by TLS or SSL and uses port 636.

– H.323 Port 1720

The H.323 standard is used to support point-to-point and multi-point VoIP and video conferencing. H.323 controls call signaling, bandwidth, and multimedia in VoIP calls and video conferences.

Protocol types

– ICMP

The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) operates at the network layer of the OSI model. Considered a core protocol, it reports success or failure of packet transmissions. ICMP will not however correct a failure. Commands that utilize ICMP such as ping are used to diagnose network conditions when troubleshooting.

– UDP

UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is an unreliable connectionless delivery system for communication that also rides on top of IP. The difference here is that the packets are all individual and are all handled separately with no relationship to each other. This negates the flow control and other checks and balances offered by TCP. This means no solid connection, no inter-packet relationship like “I’m the 7th packet of 90”. Big things like error control, there’s no acknowledgment of packet receipt, dropped or lost packets. The sender has no information as to whether their communication was received or not. So why use UDP? It is fast due to this lack of ACK… UDP data streams continuously to the destination, ready or not. While TCP sends, waits for the ACK then sends more. This could add tangible time to large transmissions.

TCP 

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a protocol that rides on top of the IP protocol (Internet Protocol) designed to address the reliability issues of IP. We’ll simply call IP unreliable for now. This is the main reason you see the TCP/IP protocol suite referenced as a single protocol in internet communication. TCP is responsible for the connection and the continuity necessary for reliable communication on any network, most notably the Internet. TCP opens a reliable “socket” on each end of the transmission throughout the entire communication. To effectively do this, TCP needs to know the IP addresses of the client and server plus the port each is using. This action is known as connection-oriented. Much like a traditional telephone call, pickup, dial, connect, chat and hang up. This is why Port/Protocol information that follows it truly significant. With the connection sockets established, TCP becomes responsible for breaking the data into packets of up to 64K but the lower level protocols that use it have much lower maximum sixes i.e. 1500K for Ethernet. TCP will break the data down to the necessary size and add its header. Now TCP is responsible for the delivery meaning that all failed packets are retransmitted (What? on the phone) and that they arrive intact in the correct sequence. Importantly each packet receipt is acknowledged (ACK). If it isn’t, it will be retransmitted. All data is delivered to the correct host in sequence and complete.

– IP

The Internet Protocol (IP) has two versions, IPv4 and IPv6. We will discuss each version later in this series. IP is a connectionless protocol. IP assigns source and destination information to packets. It does not specify a path or establish an end to end session. IP packets can take different routes to their destination and may arrive out of sequence.  For this reason IP is paired with the TCP protocol to create the familiar TCP/IP.

Connection-oriented vs. connectionless

A connection-oriented protocol establishes a reliable end to end connection between devices. TCP, Frame Relay, and ATM are examples of some of the connection-oriented protocols. As mentioned earlier the reliable connection created is much like a standard phone call where the connection is established, the communication takes place and the connection is terminated. Much the same way a connection-oriented protocol will establish the connection, transmit the data and Connectionless protocols can be paired with connection-oriented protocols to provide reliability.

Connectionless protocols transmit data to the destination without first establishing a connection or guaranteeing delivery.  IP, UDP, HTTP, and ICMP are examples of connectionless protocols. So an HTTP transmission will use the TCP/IP for its session.

And that completes Network+ N10-007 Sub-objective 1.1!

Click here for Part 1

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Screenshot showing TCP & OSI Layers vs. Protocols for Network+ N10-007 Exam sub-objective 1.1 "Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols."
TCP & OSI Layers vs. Protocols


Published May 16, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resourcesNetwork+ N10-007

ExamNotes for CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 1.0 Networking Concepts

NOTE: Our Free Study Guide for Network plus is a work in progress! When completed there will be one post for each Network+ N10-007 Exam Sub-Objective as defined by CompTIA (just like our ExamNotes for A+ 220-901). If this was a book, these posts would represent a 150+ page book of very laser-focused Network+ test preparation materials.

Please Contribute! This is a group effort and to keep this Free Study Guide for Network plus free we will need your help. It will not be all it can be without your watchful eyes. At the bottom of each post, there is a field under the “Leave a Reply” header. If you see a typo, a grammatical error or anything at all please let us know! All your fellow students will benefit if you do!

 

Click to select a sub-objective

Red underlined text are links to the respective posts. Come back often though as we don’t stop updating these and the updates are released in real time.

Network+ N10-007 Sub-objective Click on Active Title*
1.1 Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols. Uses of ports & protocols Part 1Part 2
1.2 Explain devices, applications, protocols, and services at their appropriate OSI layers. Understand the OSI layers
1.3 Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching. Routing and switching Part 1Part 2Part 3
1.4 Given a scenario, configure the appropriate IP addressing components. Configure IP addressing Part 1Part 2
1.5 Compare and contrast the characteristics of network topologies, types and technologies. Network topologies, types Part 1Part 2
1.6 Given a scenario, implement the appropriate wireless technologies and configurations. Wireless technologies
1.7 Summarize cloud concepts and their purposes. Cloud concepts
1.8 Explain the functions of network services. Network services

*) “Active title” refers to any title that is in red font and underlined.

This table displays the CompTIA defined Main Domains of the Network+ N10-007 exam and their weighing:

Screenshot of the CompTIA Exam Objectives for Network+ N10-007
CompTIA Objectives for Network+ Exam N10-007


Published May 16, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resourcesNetwork+ N10-007

ExamNotes for Network+ N10-007 1.1 Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols – Part 1 of 2

Welcome to exam notes for Network+ N10-007!

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

ExamNotes is one article for each and every one of the CompTIA Network+ sub-objectives. This one addresses sub-objective 1.1 “Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols”.

Because this sub-objective covers so much ground we have split it up into two parts and this is part 1 of 2. Click here for Part 2.

We need your help! This is a free community resource: Please give us any feedback you deem appropriate. If you like it as is, we’d love to know. If you don’t like it, we’d love to know how to improve it – your fellow students will all benefit from your feedback.

Protocols and Ports

A protocol is basically the agreement between devices defining how these networked devices will exchange data. Protocols are often used together to take advantage of the particular protocols strengths as you will see below. TCP/IP is a prime example of this type of combination, where IP is responsible for transmitting data without establishing a session. This means the packets can take any possible route to the correct host, resulting in messages that arrive out of sequence. TCP then ensures the transmission is reliable. The Network+ exam objectives list the Protocol and the Port it uses together. The Port number is used to deliver the data of a specific process. For example, a transmission using HTTP protocol will be delivered to Port 80 by default.

– SSH 22

The Secure Shell (SSH) protocol opens a secure network channel that provides confidentiality and integrity for network services over an unsecured network using public key cryptography. This makes it a cryptographic network protocol. It is used to secure remote network logins and other confidential data. Passwords cannot be intercepted because the encryption is established before the login is required.

– DNS 53

The Domain Name System (DNS) is mostly known for its function of translating friendly domain name URLs like www.mysite.com into its actual IP address. These a human is less likely to remember (think IPv6!).

DNS uses two protocols: TCP and UDP on port 53. DNS servers update themselves using and maintaining a list of known host to address translations in a distributed database while obtaining unknown or moved domains. This supports the hierarchical nature of domain naming of domains and sub-domains. Each domain will have a designated authoritative name server to manage the domains and sub-domains and to communicate that information to the database.

– SMTP 25

The Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) uses TCP port 25 for internet mail transmission. It is an internet standard protocol. Due to the proliferation of SPAM and other email related vulnerabilities, other ports can be used, most notably port 587. A secure nonstandard implementation of this protocol is SMTPS which is not standard but quite effective because it is one of the protocols that can utilize SSL. SMTP is responsible for the transmission of email between servers and for sending email from a client. Other protocols are used for the reception of email on the client.

– SFTP 22

The Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is a secure and encrypted protocol that is based on the SSH protocol. It is the secure alternative to FTP.

– FTP 20, 21

The File Transfer Protocol is used in a client/server configuration to transfer files. It can operate in active or passive mode and uses TCP to control the connection. In active mode, the connection is initiated by the client. It informs the server about which port it intends to use to receive data. In active mode (although port 21 is used for command and control), the data will be sent out on port 20 which serves as the FTP servers data port. Passive mode is used in situations where inbound client TCP connections are not possible. Firewalls generally block inbound connections by default. Here the client sends a PASV command to the server and the server determines which client port can be used for the transfer.

– TFTP 69

The Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) is a simplified version of FTP. It does not offer features like authentication and remote directory viewing. It is light, fast but insecure.

– TELNET 23

Developed in the late 60’s, Telnet was designed to support remote logins and communication between computers in what was a “kinder and gentler” time for networks. It provides a functional command prompt on the remote host. These are plaintext and communication channels making them subject to interception. Today’s networks and the internet are not a place where this is acceptable and so Telnet is now considered obsolete. Telnet does not encrypt data, SSH has generally replaced Telnet for these connections.

– DHCP 67, 68

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) has saved years of man hours and countless misconfigurations. As the most common IPv4 or IPv6 TCP/IP addressing method DHCP is responsible for the complete client configuration on a TCP/IP network. On a work network, there is usually an assigned DHCP server. Residential or SOHO implementations use the router provided by the ISP to perform this function. What DHCP does is assign or lease a unique IP address to each host. The duration of the lease is determined by the network administrator or weekly by default. It will define the internet gateway and Domain Name Server to be used. This means that your machine may not get the same IP address when rebooted or otherwise disconnected. The DNS and Gateway settings will remain. The DHCP server has an available pool of IP addresses available to assign to clients (hosts) that attempt to connect to the network. The client broadcasts a UDP discovery packet for an address to all connected networks. All DHCP servers will offer an address to the client then the client will accept the offer from the nearest server by requesting a lease and that server will lease that address to the client. The address assignment process is identical for both IPv4 and IPv6 addressing. In the interest of consistency, the ports used are UDP 67 for the server and UDP 68 for the client.

– HTTP 80

Web Browsers use the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for internet communications and can be considered the foundation of the World Wide Web. It uses the client/server method where a client uses a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to locate and request information from the target server of the resource. The response is more often than not an HTML page. A typical URL begins with http:// (or increasingly https://) followed by the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of the desired resource. URLs to websites can be distributed between parties in messages containing the address which can be converted into clickable links called hyperlinks in reference to the hypertext communication being used. HTTP uses TCP/UDP port 80 and sends unencrypted data by default. This is inherently un-secure.

– HTTPS 443

The HTTP Secure (HTTPS) uses encryption protocols to secure HTTP traffic. Most commonly Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS).

– SNMP 161

As one of the more popular network management protocols Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is used to monitor and configure network nodes such as Printers, hosts, routers, and servers to name a few using a network manager on TCP/UDP ports 161 and 162. SNMP agent software is used on the nodes to enable monitoring.

– RDP 3389

OK, so this is for the old timers that had their Telnet then Terminal Services. From Windows XP onward the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) was available. Using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on TCP/UDP port 3389, RDC is able to bring the fully functional remote machine’s desktop and programs to your device. This requires that the client and server software be configured on Microsoft products but versions are available for most OS’s. You can bring your home PC up on your iPhone.

– NTP 123

One of the oldest protocols Network Time Protocol (NTP) is used to synchronize the time on packet switched networks. Time synchronization is crucial to systems and processes the update data. If a program considers your update older than its latest it may be dropped.

– SIP 5060, 5061

The Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) supports VoIP and multimedia. It works with the IP protocol to create or terminate a session while handling any necessary changes. SIP relies on other protocols such as H.323 to ensure real-time delivery. The SIP protocol can be used as a unicast or two-party session as well as multicast or multi-party sessions.

– SMB 445

Server Message Block (SMB) predates Active Directory and was the foundation of Microsoft’s Windows for Workgroups networking capability. Based on NetBIOS it can run on UDP ports 137, 138 and TCP ports 137, 139 as NetBIOS over TCP/IP. It can also run directly on TCP port 445. While being one of the oldest networking protocols it has been continuously improved and the 3.0 version implemented with Windows 8 (3.02 in 8.1) supports improved performance in virtualized data centers. It is pervasive in many network applications and embedded devices. With newer versions supporting end to end AES encryption. There have been further advances in Windows 10 however, those are outside the scope of these exam objectives. You may also see this service as Common Internet File System (CIFS) or Samba depending on the operating system.

– POP 110

Receiving email is done over several different protocols. There are two main protocols available depending on your service. The first is Post Office Protocol (POP) with the latest version being POP3. This protocol uses port 110 by default and is responsible for the management of messages on the server (saving them or deleting). Deleting the message after delivery is the default mode. Leaving messages on the server is useful if you use multiple devices for messaging.

– IMAP 143

Today’s email user is likely to be using it on a collection of devices as opposed to the traditional PC. They have any or all of the possible devices, Tablets, Smartphones, or Laptops. All are Internet-connected and waiting for email. Now if your smartphone downloads and deletes a work-related email (POP3 default) you have a problem when you check email on your PC or laptop because it’s gone. The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) on TCP port 143 solves this problem by leaving the messages on the server regardless of the delivery status. Every device that checks will get the email. This is great unless you get spammed a lot. Consider that it’s possible that 18 out of 20 of your emails are junk. Your server space will fill up quite quickly. This calls for closer scrutiny of the undeleted messages on your server. You have to move them to the trash folder and purge it or configure the client to purge trash. In spite of this, IMAP is the preferred client messaging protocol.

This is it for Part 1! Click here to go to Part 2/2.

Click here to go back to the Network+ ExamNotes Table of Content

Screenshot showing TCP & OSI Layers vs. Protocols for Network+ N10-007 Exam sub-objective 1.1 "Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols."
TCP & OSI Layers vs. Protocols


Published May 16, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesNetwork+ N10-007

Free CompTIA Network+ Study Guide

Our Free CompTIA Network+ Study Guide for Network plus N10-007, the ExamNotes for Network+ offers you one article for each CompTIA Exam Main- and Sub-Objective. In book format, these articles would together represent a 150+ page book of highly concentrated and laser-focused test preparation material.

Please Contribute! To have this remain a free community resource, your help is needed! To keep our Free CompTIA Network+ Study Guide for Network plus N10-007 free, we need your help. ExamNotes will not be “all it can be” without your watchful eyes. At the bottom of each post, there is a field labeled “Leave a Reply”. If you see a typo, a grammatical error or anything at all, no matter how insignificant looking, please let us know! All your fellow students will benefit if you do! Let’s keep this Free Study Guide for Network plus N10-007, free!

CompTIA Network+ Study Guide

This a 6 – 7 page PDF explaining the CompTIA Network+ exam sin some detail. Click on the link 5 Steps to Network+ Certification Success. It will take you to a form, under “Preferred Certification Track” pick your exam.

CompTIA Network+ Study Guide: Select Your ExamNote

Click the underlined red links to view the exam notes for the respective CompTIA Network+ exam N10-007 Main Domains (objectives):

Network+ Main Domain 1.0 Networking Concepts
Network+ Main Domain 2.0 Infrastructure
Network+ Main Domain 3.0 Network Operations
Network+ Main Domain 4.0 Network Security
Network+ Main Domain 5.0 Network Troubleshooting and Tools

CertBlaster and ExamNotes Match

A great way to use these ExamNotes is in conjunction with our CertBlaster Network+ practice test. This is because, after CertBlaster exam sessions, you will be presented with a custom Personal Testing Plan (PTP). It will list your areas of weakness by Network+ Sub-objective. You will then have the ability to go down your custom PTP and select the ExamNotes that pertain to you. You will now have a very efficient and enhanced exam preparation tool in your hands. Best of luck in your quest for Network+ certification!

NETWORK+ N10-007 EXAM OBJECTIVES (DOMAINS)

The table below shows the CompTIA domains defining this exam and the relative weight of each at the Network+ exam.

Screenshot of the CompTIA Exam Objectives for Network+ N10-007
CompTIA Objectives for Network+ Exam N10-007

We hope you will enjoy ExamNotes, our Free Study Guide for Network plus N10-007.

 


Published May 16, 2018 in CompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resourcesNetwork+ N10-007

Difference between the new A+ 220-1001 and the CompTIA A+ 220-901 certification

First, about the exam number, 220-1001 is the exam number replacing 220-901. The new exam also gets a name and that is Core 1.

Curious about the new A+ 220-1101? Click here 

A+ being an entry-level certification, it is a rather wider than deep credential. It is to some extent stating the obvious to say that the Exam Objectives for A+ 220-1001 will aim at reflecting technologies dominant today that were not included, or at least not prevalent, in the objectives as stated three years ago.

Click here for the A+ 1001 & 1002 Exam Simulator

Here is a list of topics we expect to either see an enhanced focus on or to come in as an outright addition to the new A+ 220-1001 exam objectives:

– Various types of hardware that support cloud technologies
– Expansion of Virtualization
– More varied mobile devices
– More on monitoring tools and analysis of metrics obtained from monitoring and tracking tools
– Deepening of the understanding of network access and setup
– Sideloaded applications and management of the process
– As cybersecurity is increasingly of concern, expect security to occupy an even larger part of the A+ objectives

UPDATE: We now know what those changes are so you can take a look below and compare and see how close we were when we did above “guesstimate”…

Click here for our Free A+ 1001 ExamNotes

Summary of the most significant changes to A+ 220-1001 Core 1 compared to the 220-901 exam

Main Domain 1.0 – Mobile Devices

Adding or replacing laptop components like memory or the motherboard have always been covered. Now you’ll also need to know how to install and configure video cards, Bluetooth modules, and cellular cards. Port replicators have been added but docking stations have not been dropped, you will need to know both. The USB-C cable / connector specification has been added in the mobile category and you will find it is addressed in the PC sections as well. Know its capabilities.

Mobile device synchronization adds a new concept to the existing ones by requiring you to perform synchronization with the automobile. You will need to know the connection types used as well as the types of data. Passwords have been added to the Synch data. You will also need to know how SSO authentication applies in the mobile environment.

Main Domain 2.0 – Networking

Networking hardware knowledge will now need to include managed and unmanaged switches along with PoE switches. Cloud-based network controllers have also been added.

The installation and configuration of IoT devices are new and includes controlled devices like locks, lights, cameras and climate controls. You will also need to know voice-enabled devices like digital assistants and smart speakers.

Firewall settings have been expanded to include whitelists and blacklists.

Wireless networking protocols now include RFID, Zigbee, Z-Wave. You will need to know 3G, 4G, 5G and LTE cellular protocols.

You will need to know the properties and purpose of the syslog service on network servers.

IP address configuration has been expanded to include IPv6 link-local addresses.

DHCP reservations are new. Knowledge of VLAN configuration is now required knowledge.

The wireless mesh topology (WMN) is now included.

Main Domain 3.0 – Hardware

Your hardware cabling and connectors knowledge now require you to be able to identify USB-C, RS-232, and SCSI.

Ram installation now includes DDR4.

Storage device selection, installation, and configuration have been updated to cover the solid-state SATA 2.5, M2 and NVME.

For magnetic hard drives, the 15,000rpm speed has been added

eSATA cards have been added to the install and configure objective.

New to the uses and purposes of peripheral cards are QR scanners, VR headsets, and signature pads.

Regarding the install and configure new devices objective you will need to know Application installations/configurations, synchronization settings, and account setup and settings.

3D printers and plastic filament have been added to printers. The rest is unchanged from the previous objectives.

Main Domain 4.0 – Virtualization and Cloud Computing

While cloud concepts have been covered in previous A+ releases the new content focuses additionally on shared resources and Internal vs. External cloud computing.

Main Domain 5.0 – Hardware and Network Troubleshooting

The new A+ hardware and troubleshooting objectives are largely unchanged. The only exception relates to log entries. You should now be able to interpret log entries and error messages and analyze multiple failed jobs in the logs.

Click here for the A+ 220-1001 Core 1 Exam Objectives 

Our experience over the years leads us to expect 25% to 35% new content and very little old content removed, maybe 5 – 10%. We will update you on this as more information becomes available.

Beyond above list of topics, we should also expect CompTIA to, through added performance-based questions, add emphasis to the practical application of knowledge. Sub-objectives that start with “Given a scenario…” will be indicative of that type of questioning and we should expect to see more of those in the new A+ objectives. It all comes down to CompTIA’s push, over the last few years, to increasingly move from testing “knowledge” to measuring “understanding”.

CertBlaster A+ practice test structure for exam 220-901
CertBlaster A+ practice test structure: Exams on top – Drills on the bottom (each is a CompTIA Main Domain)

Should I take the A+ 220-901 now or wait for the new A+ 220-1001 exam?

First and foremost you take the version available at the time you need to get certified, typically there is no good reason to wait around for a future version. The main reason for that is that no matter what A+ version you sit for, you will be just as certified for three years from the date of the exam irrespective of new vs “old”. Having said that, there will be a six months (or more) “grace period” between the introduction of the new A+ 220-1001 and the retirement of the A+ 220-901 during which you will actually be able to pick your preference in terms of exam objectives. What should then guide that choice? The short answer is: your training. If at that time you have been training for A+ 220-901, and are ready to pass the test, then without hesitation sit for the A+ 220-901. The training on 220-901 will not be transferable enough to succeed at the A+ 220-1001. That is because a 25 – 30% change in exam objectives will scuttle any chances to get an 85% or so score that is required to pass the exam. In this period your training will be the paramount consideration. If, on the other hand during this period, you have not specifically trained for 220-901, then take a long hard look at both exam objectives and just pick one you feel the most comfortable with.

Again, it doesn’t matter if you happen to take the current version a day before its retirement date, you will remain certified and therefore, per CompTIA current, for three years no matter what. Another reason you may want to take the current version over the next one is that we often have a healthy tendency to prefer “the devil we know”… There is more predictability in committing to A+ 220-901.


Published April 24, 2018 in AA+ 220-1001A+ 220-901 & 220-902

New A+ certification exam objectives will be released in 2019

It is that time in the CompTIA certification cycle where it is time to update the A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exams. We are looking at a release early 2019 possibly in January for the new A+ certification exam.

Click here for our A+ Exam Simulator for exams 1001 & 1002

It will be interesting to see what happens to the numbering now that we are running out of three-digit X01. Will it be 220-1001 and 220-1002 or will CompTIA go for 903 & 904 or something along those lines to preserve the three-digit scheme?

Want to see the CompTIA retirement dates, click here.

Click here for the complete A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002 exam objectives

What does that mean for my current certification status?

Nothing in the short term. If you are A+ certified today (and you passed the exam post-2011) then you are certified for three years from your exam date. This is true even if those three years takes you past the introduction of the new A+ exam.

Click here for A+ sample questions 220-901 & 220-902

Should I wait for the new A+ exam or just take the A+ 220-901 or 220-902 now?

If you are ready to take the exam in 2018 then, of course, there is no question that you should pick 220-901 or 220-902 if for no other reason that it is the only one available and there is no benefit in pushing this back to next year if you need it now. It becomes more of an issue next year. Say CompTIA releases the new exam in January 2019, then the 220-901 & 220-902 will still be available into the summer of 2019. This is the “grace period” that CompTIA offers for each new release and that means that for about six months or so you can actually choose which version of the exam to take. The choice will then hinge more on what your knowledge base/training looks like at that time. If you, at that time, have trained for A+ 220-901 or 220-902, then, no question, you will want to sit for that test. If its 2019 and you will start training for A+, then you will want to train on the new exam because you won’t be facing a hard deadline in the summer when the 220-901 and 220-902 will be retired. Its always nice to know that if you miss on the first try, that you still have a lot of time left to try again. In any case, whichever exam you sit fir in early 2019, you will be certified for three years from the exam date.

Did you know that CompTIA is certified too?

Just as CompTIA offers you an A+ certification process, CompTIA is also submitting itself to certification. A few years ago, CompTIA got approved for the International Standards Organization – ISO – quality certification. It is a process through which the ISO verifies that the organization that controls our certification process, CompTIA, does itself have a process in place that ensures the proper quality of the program. One of the things the ISO certification requires is that CompTIA updates its exam objectives (and so the exam itself) every three years.


Published April 18, 2018 in A+ BundleCompTIA

Free Network plus N10-007 Practice Test

This free Network plus N10-007 practice test consists of 30 (5+25) questions of the level of testing you should expect at the CompTIA Network+ exam.

NOTE on the Network plus N10-007 free practice test:

This free Network plus N10-007 free practice test consists exclusively of multiple-choice questions while our CertBlaster Exam Simulator does include the performance-based questions as well. This example does not simulate the exam but rather aims at demonstrating the level of complexity you can expect at the actual exam. To access interactive questions as well as grading, reports, and your custom “Personal Testing Plan”, you will need the CertBlaster Exam Simulation software. Please give us feedback on this Network plus N10-007 free practice test at the bottom of this post.

Network+ update! This year will see a new version of the Network+ exam objectives. The new exam number will be Network+ N10-008 and should go live in April. However, because CompTIA always grants a six-month “grace period” you will still be able to choose to sit for the N10-007 would you prefer to do that. To read about the differences in N10-007 vs N10-008, click here. In the meantime, Network+ N10-007 will benefit from a six months grace period where you will have the ability to choose whether to pick Network+ Exam N10-007 or Network+ N10-008. This means that this free Network plus N10-007 free practice test is still relevant for a while. After that, we will post a free Network plus N10-008 free practice test.

Get Your Free CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Study Guide

If you are studying for the A+ Exams, check out our free CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Study guide. It covers every last Network+ N10-007 exam objective as well as all the sub-objectives.

25 BONUS QUESTIONS!

We have just updated our free CompTIA Network+ N10-007 practice test by adding another 25 questions past the below first 5 questions so make sure to scroll all the way down!

Understanding the CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Practice Test

This a 6 – 7 page PDF explaining the CompTIA Network+ exam in some detail. Click on the link 5 Steps to Network+ Certification Success. It will take you to a form, under “Preferred Certification Track” pick your exam.

Question 1

At which layer of the OSI model is a PDU referred to as a frame?

          a) Transport

          b) Session

          c) Data Link

          d) Physical

Answer

A PDU begins its evolution at the Physical layer (Layer 1) where it is a series of bits. At the Data Link layer (Layer 2), it becomes a frame. At the Network layer (Layer 3), it becomes a packet. At the Transport layer (Layer 4), it is a segment and is passed to the upper layers. It is important to be able to correlate the terms and layers when discussing PDUs. For example, when the term “deep packet analysis” is used, you should know that you are talking about a device operating at the Network layer (Layer 3). So, the correct choice is Data Link.

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 exam objectives addressed by question 1

Main exam objective: 1.0 Networking Concepts

Exam sub-objective: 1.5 Compare and contrast the characteristics of network topologies, types, and technologies.

Question 2

A SAN 10+ Gb Ethernet creates overhead on both the CPU and OS. Which of the choices provides the highest efficiency along with low overhead and latency?

          a) iSCSI

          b) InfiniBand

          c) Fibre Channel

          d) 10GigE

Answer

While Ethernet-based standards and protocols are extremely fast, the InfiniBand protocols reduce the workload on server OSs and hardware. This results in faster data transfers with considerably lower latencies. The correct choice is therefore InfiniBand.

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 exam objectives addressed by question 2

Main exam objective: 2.0 Infrastructure

Exam sub-objective: 2.4 Explain the purposes of virtualization and network storage technologies.

Question 3

The acronym MTTR is used in your documentation. How would you prepare to reduce this factor?

          a) Predict the occurrence

          b) Use MTBF and have replacements on hand

          c) Create a solid response policy

          d) Reduce the stresses on the components

Answer

MTTR is the Mean Time To Repair. This indicates a failure with a calculated replacement timeline. The best way to reduce this time is to have the parts on hand. If you know that a server drive running 24/7 will fail within a specified timeframe, have one on hand. Having said this, the chances are high that you will upgrade most devices before they fail. The correct choice is, therefore “Use MTBF and have replacements on hand”.

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 exam objectives addressed by question 3

Main exam objective: 3.0 Network Operations

Exam sub-objective: 3.2 Compare and contrast business continuity and disaster recovery concepts.

Question 4

There are rumors of widespread layoffs in a company. A programmer that feels at risk modifies his programming to execute malicious device encryption code if he is unemployed at the end of the month. The infected device(s) will display instructions requiring payment to regain control of the device(s). How would you categorize this action? (Choose two)

          a) Logic bomb

          b) Trojan horse

          c) Back door

          d) Bot

          e) Ransomware

Answer

Logic bombs are classic demonstrations of time-dependent malware. The code that executes encrypts the device and demands payment, classifying it as ransomware. The correct choices are Logic bomb and Ransomware.

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 exam objectives addressed by question 4

Main exam objective: 4.0 Network Security

Exam sub-objective: 4.4 Summarize common networking attacks.

Question 5

You have concluded that two hosts have duplicate IP addresses on your network. How could this happen?

          a) They are using static IP addresses

          b) They are using the wrong gateway

          c) DHCP leases are too long

          d) None of these

Answer

In this case, you would check the IP addresses and make sure they are not statically assigned. If one host must use a static address, reserve it in the DHCP scope and assign the second host to use DHCP. The correct choice is “They are using static IP addresses”.

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 exam objectives addressed by question 5

Main exam objective: 5.0 Network Troubleshooting and Tools

Exam sub-objective: 5.5 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common network service issues.

CertBlaster exam simulator for CompTIA Network+ N10-007

The questions above are all multiple choice. Below is a screenshot of one of the performance-based questions available in the interactive CertBlaster exam simulation software.

The CertBlaster practice tests for Network+ N10-007 include over 500 questions. It also includes the CompTIA Performance Based Question type, see below an example of a CertBlaster PBQ.

Screenshot of a Network+ N10-007 Performance based question - Network plus N10-007 free practice test
Network+ N10-007 Performance-based question

 

HERE ARE THE 25 BONUS QUESTIONS!

Question 1

Which of the protocols would be MOST useful when synchronizing the times between a client and server?

          a) SIP

          b) ARP

          c) TLS

          d) NTP

Answer: NTP

Explanation: The Network Time Protocol is used to synchronize the time between computers.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 1.0 – Networking Concepts
Sub-Objective: 1.1 – “Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols.”

Question 2

Which protocol defines the standard packet format for VoIP transmissions on IP networks?

          a) RTP

          b) NTP

          c) QoS

          d) TLS

Answer: RTP

Explanation: The Real-time Transport Protocol provides end-to-end real-time transfer of streaming media.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 1.0 – Networking Concepts
Sub-Objective: 1.1 – “Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols.”

Question 3

The SNMP protocol has had two additional capabilities added since its inception. They are GetBulkRequest and Inform Request. Which revision was the first to implement these capabilities?

          a) SNMPv1

          b) SNMPv2

          c) SNMPv3

          d) None of these are correct responses.

Answer: SNMPv2

Explanation: These capabilities were added in SNMPv2 and carried forward to SNMPv3.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 1.0 – Networking Concepts
Sub-Objective: 1.1 – “Explain the purposes and uses of ports and protocols.”

Question 4

For network performance management, which of the choices prioritizes traffic to improve QoS?

          a) Packet Shaping

          b) Traffic Shaping

          c) Bandwidth Management

          d) All of these are correct

Answer: All of these are correct

Explanation: All of the choices listed are synonymous with the process of assigning priorities of network traffic by reducing congestion caused by operations that can tolerate reduced bandwidth and providing adequate service to processes like video and voice communications.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 1.0 – Networking Concepts
Sub-Objective: 1.3 – “Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching.”

Question 5

When a router receives a packet, it examines the packet and refers to its ACL for criteria for permitting or denying access to the network. The ACL statement “any” is equivalent to using which one of the following wildcard masks?

          a) 0.0.0.0

          b) *.*

          c) 255.255.255.255

          d) 1.1.1.1

Answer: 255.255.255.255

Explanation: The ACL (Access Control List) statement “any” is the equivalent to using a wildcard mask of 255.255.255.255, which allows all IP addresses to pass.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 1.0 – Networking Concepts
Sub-Objective: 1.3 – “Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching.”

Question 6

There are several performance concepts used to manage and give precedence to network traffic. Of the choices provided, which protocol is responsible for the specification and control of network traffic to give precedence to traffic by type?

          a) QoS

          b) Diffserv

          c) RIP

          d) Traffic shaping

Answer: Diffserv

Explanation: Of the choices provided, Diffserv is correct. This protocol gives priority to traffic by assigning classes of traffic and then giving certain classes precedence. QoS might seem like a good choice, but it is not a protocol, nor is traffic shaping.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 1.0 – Networking Concepts
Sub-Objective: 1.3 – “Explain the concepts and characteristics of routing and switching.”

Question 7

As fiber optic technology evolves, transceivers are used to reduce server hardware limitations and still provide the flexibility of growing networks. You need a transceiver to handle four channels and support 40 Gbps data rates. Which transceiver would you use?

          a) GBIC

          b) QSFP

          c) XFP

          d) SFP

Answer: QSFP

Explanation: Of the choices shown, QSFP supports four channels and a data rate of 40 Gbps (4 x 10 Gbps).  The remainder of your choices are as follows:

  • GBIC is becoming obsolete at 1 Gbps
  • SPF can run from 1 to 5 Gbps
  • XFP is capable of 10 Gbps

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 2.0 – Infrastructure
Sub-Objective: 2.1 – “Given a scenario, deploy the appropriate cabling solution.”

Question 8

Which of the communication methods listed are NOT examples of full duplex systems?

          a) Ethernet

          b) Telephone

          c) Walkie-talkie

          d) Two-way radios

Answer: Walkie-talkie

Explanation: A full duplex system can send and receive communications simultaneously. The only choice that does not fit here is the walkie-talkie where only one device can transmit at a given time. If the two devices transmit simultaneously both transmissions are dropped.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 2.0 – Infrastructure
Sub-Objective: 2.1 – “Given a scenario, deploy the appropriate cabling solution.”

Question 9

Where would the transition from SMF to MMF take place?

          a) PBX

          b) FDP

          c) UTM

          d) IPS

Answer: FDP

Explanation: The FDP (Fiber Distribution Panel) handles the transition between single and multi-mode fiber connections.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 2.0 – Infrastructure
Sub-Objective: 2.1 – “Given a scenario, deploy the appropriate cabling solution.”

Question 10

Which cable designation is required by most state and local codes for use in dropped ceilings and other areas such as ductwork?

          a) Cat-5e

          b) Plenum

          c) MTRJ

          d) RJ-45

Answer: Plenum

Explanation: To attain a plenum grade designation, the cable is tested to ensure it does not emit toxic fumes in a fire.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 2.0 – Infrastructure
Sub-Objective: 2.1 – “Given a scenario, deploy the appropriate cabling solution.”

Question 11

You have been asked to quote on a project for a client that you have done work for previously. They currently have two buildings with a buried fiber cable between them. Here is all of the information that you have collected about the existing network connection:

  • 209 Meters between boxes based on the markings on the jacket of the buried cable.
  • 3 pairs of fiber 62.5/125 multimode.
  • Terminated at the boxes with ST connectors.
  • Currently using 62.5/125 Multimode patch cables.
  • Two Gigabit Netgear switches at each end of the fiber with standalone media converts.

The network is currently running at 100Mbit/s via two Allied Telesis MC102-XL media converters, which are 100TX to 100FX with SC connectors. The client is expressing a desire to move to a Gigabit connection between the buildings to help their database application perform better. Assuming that all the information is correct which of the following is most likely true?

          a) The 62.5/125 fiber cable does not support Gigabit.

          b) The 62.5/125 cables will support Gigabit but the run between the buildings is too long.

          c) The existing fiber run has a margin of approximately 10 meters and minus any loss at the connections should run at the desired speed of 1 Gigabit.

          d) The existing cable should be replaced with 50/125.

Answer: The existing fiber run has a margin of approximately 10 meters and minus any loss at the connections should run at the desired speed of 1 Gigabit.

Explanation: The distance limitation is the only thing that could get you into difficulty in achieving your objective in this situation. Fiber, similar to the situation with Cat 5 has a 100m maximum, that’s the theoretical limit, not the practical limit. It is possible to run 6.25/125 a little over 220m and still work. Maybe a little slower than 1000MB but still much better than 100MB and will probably never be noticed.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 2.0 – Infrastructure
Sub-Objective: 2.1 – “Given a scenario, deploy the appropriate cabling solution.”

Question 12

The device that performs modulation of a signal and the inverse of modulation is called a ______________.

          a) Demodulator

          b) Moderator

          c) Modem

          d) FDM

Answer: Modem

Explanation: The device that can perform both modulation of a signal and the demodulation of a signal is a modem, from modulator-demodulator.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 2.0 – Infrastructure
Sub-Objective: 2.2 – “Given a scenario, determine the appropriate placement of networking devices on a network and install/configure them.”

Question 13

When analyzing a network diagram, which component is the primary connection point that distributes data to its subordinates?

          a) IDF

          b) MDF

          c) Cross connect

          d) ISP

Answer: MDF

Explanation: The Main Distribution Frame (MDF) connects directly to the demarc and distributes the data to downline components.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 3.0 – Network Operations
Sub-Objective: 3.1 – “Given a scenario, use appropriate documentation.”

Question 14

Network installations need to be neat and easy to service and maintain. Most enterprise-level equipment will come rack-ready to be installed in racks that make for a neat and clean server room or network closet. Racks are measured in terms of rack units. What is the height of one rack unit?

          a) 1.75 inches

          b) 2 inches

          c) 40mm

          d) 55mm

Answer: 1.75 inches

Explanation: Server racks are measured in terms of rack units typically written RU or just U. One rack unit equals 1.75 inches or 44.45mm in height. Equipment will be measured in multiples of U. A network switch or server can be 1U, 2U, or 10U or more.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 3.0 – Network Operations
Sub-Objective: 3.1 – “Given a scenario, use appropriate documentation.”

Question 15

You and the rest of the network team have been working all day on the upgrades for the firmware on all your Cisco switches and wireless access points. The firmware upgrades were critical security upgrades and needed to be applied all at once. Which of the choices will NOT be impacted by this update?

          a) Baseline and configuration documentation

          b) Physical network diagrams

          c) Logical network diagrams

          d) Wiring schematics

Answer: Wiring schematics

Explanation: None of the devices moved so wiring schematics is the correct response. The other choices will be performed using network management tools. These tools can update baseline and configuration along with performance statistics. The make, model, OS, and firmware on all managed devices are also recorded.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 3.0 – Network Operations
Sub-Objective: 3.1 – “Given a scenario, use appropriate documentation.”

Question 16

You need to configure your server pool to appear as a single IP address. Which technique would you use?

          a) Clustering

          b) Bundling

          c) SAN

          d) VPN

Answer: Clustering

Explanation: A server pool can be configured as a cluster, allowing the server pool to appear as a single IP address instead of multiple, individual addresses. Bundling is not a relevant term here. A SAN (Storage Area Network) can be used to cluster storage devices for servers but is not considered part of the server pool. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is irrelevant to server pools and clusters.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 3.0 – Network Operations
Sub-Objective: 3.2 – “Compare and contrast business continuity and disaster recovery concepts.”

Question 17

When comparing disaster recovery contingencies, which one of the following categories might maintain a duplicate of each of your data center servers but would not be updated daily with your live data and have fewer computers and devices than are used in your daily operation?

          a) A cold site

          b) A warm site

          c) A boiler room

          d) A hot site

Answer: A warm site

Explanation: A warm site is a place where the computers, devices, and connectivity necessary to rebuild a network exist, with some pieces appropriately configured, updated, or connected. Typically you would have the warm site service provider update those duplicate servers with your backed-up data on the first of each month as a cost-saving measure compared to the expense of performing a daily update (which would be typical of a hot site).

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 3.0 – Network Operations
Sub-Objective: 3.2 – “Compare and contrast business continuity and disaster recovery concepts.”

Question 18

When discussing fault tolerance for your network, it is determined that your physical hardware has redundant power for the critical devices. Which choice would provide optimal redundancy for network faults?

          a) Link aggregation

          b) NIC teaming

          c) Load balancing

          d) Port aggregation

Answer: Load balancing

Explanation: In this example, load balancing would enable the network to operate normally in the event of a fault. The other methods shown are targeted more at increasing bandwidth.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 3.0 – Network Operations
Sub-Objective: 3.2 – “Compare and contrast business continuity and disaster recovery concepts.”

Question 19

You are comparing physical security controls for a new network closet. Which of the following locks will allow the use of a badge that 1) can be programmed to allow access to selected rooms, and 2) can be detected while inside a wallet or purse but, 3) does not require a battery for power?

          a) Active smart card

          b) Passive proximity smart card

          c) Biometric card

          d) Cipher lock

Answer: Passive proximity smart card

Explanation: Passive smart cards are badges that can be programmed to allow their owner access to some, but not all, rooms in a building.  Passive Proximity cards do not require a battery. Additionally, Proximity cards do not require direct contact with a proximity reader in order to be detected. Readers can be concealed inside a wall or other enclosure and require very little maintenance. With a typical range of about 5-10 cm (two to four inches), the card may be detected even while it’s still inside a user’s wallet or purse.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 4.0 – Network Security
Sub-Objective: 4.1 – “Summarize the purposes of physical security devices.”

Question 20

Your company is testing access control solutions for your network. Which of the solutions authenticates and authorizes devices?

          a) SSO

          b) Kerberos

          c) 2FA

          d) NAC

Answer: NAC

Explanation: NAC (Network Access Control) is considered a next-level AAA solution. NAC grants access to devices by reviewing their configuration, applications, and settings. SSO (Single Sign-On) allows users to access multiple services using the same username/password combination. Kerberos is an SSO solution. 2FA (two-factor authentication) requires the user to provide two sources of authentication, for example, a fingerprint and a password.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 4.0 – Network Security
Sub-Objective: 4.2 – “Explain authentication and access controls.”

Question 21

Which security technique would prevent users from using FTP?

          a) MAC filtering

          b) IP address filtering

          c) Port filtering

          d) These techniques would all be used.

Answer: Port filtering

Explanation: By blocking users’ access to send and receive over ports 20 and 21, any FTP traffic will be blocked.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 4.0 – Network Security
Sub-Objective: 4.2 – “Explain authentication and access controls.”

Question 22

Which of the following is NOT true about the TACACS+ authentication system?

          a) TACACS+ relies on TCP at the Transport layer.

          b) TACACS+ was developed by and is a proprietary product of, Microsoft.

          c) TACACS+ is typically installed on a router.

          d) Uses encryption of all information transmitted during the AAA process.

Answer: TACACS+ was developed by, and is a proprietary product of, Microsoft.

Explanation: TACACS+ which stands for Terminal Access Controller Access Control System Plus is an AAA protocol that offers network administrators the option of separating the Access, Authentication, and Auditing capabilities. TACACS+ was developed by Cisco Systems and is a proprietary product for use only on Cisco products.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 4.0 – Network Security
Sub-Objective: 4.2 – “Explain authentication and access controls.”

Question 23

Which Wi-Fi security protocol provides better protection?

          a) WPA

          b) WAP

          c) WEP

          d) WAP and WPA

Answer: WPA

Explanation: When WEP was found to be less secure than initially anticipated, Wi-Fi Protected Access was developed to enhance the security of User Authentication using EAP and add a more secure encryption method with TKIP.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 4.0 – Network Security
Sub-Objective: 4.3 – “Given a scenario, secure a basic wireless network.”

Question 24

Geofencing requires components to determine the client’s location. Which of the choices would NOT be helpful?

          a) Cell signal

          b) GPS

          c) Wi-fi router

          d) MAC address

Answer: MAC address

Explanation: Your device’s MAC address is constant and not dependent on location. Very specific longitude and latitude data can be gained from cell towers, Wi-Fi routers, and quite specifically from the device’s GPS.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 4.0 – Network Security
Sub-Objective: 4.3 – “Given a scenario, secure a basic wireless network.”

Question 25

You are troubleshooting a gigabit copper ethernet connection. You need to be able to check every connection point and repair if necessary. Which of these tools do you NOT need?

          a) Cable tester

          b) Punchdown tool

          c) Light meter

          d) Tone generator/tone probe

Answer: Light meter

Explanation: A light meter is an OPM (Optical Power Meter). A light meter is used to test fiber optic cables by measuring the amount of light power passing through them. A cable tester or cable continuity tester checks for breaks across the full length of the cable. A punchdown tool is used to connect each cable run to the patch panel or the wall jack. The eight copper wires are individually punched down in order to create the correct pinouts and terminate the connection. A tone generator is used to send a signal down a wire. An example of this is a dial tone. The toner probe is then used to determine which of the wires is carrying the tone.

Network+ N10-007 Main Domain 5.0 – Network Troubleshooting and Tools
Sub-Objective: 5.2 – “Given a scenario, use the appropriate tool.”

You did it! 30 questions – We hope you enjoyed our Network plus N10-007 free practice test. Once the new Network+ N10-008 exam is released we will replace this free Network plus N10-007 free practice test with a Network+ N10-008 practice test so come back and visit us.

Reasons given in a survey by employers for requiring certification.
Reasons given by employers for requiring certification.


Published March 14, 2018 in CompTIALearning resourcesSecurity+ SY0-501

How to best prepare for the new PMP Exam

Background to New PMP Exam

The Sixth Edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK® Guide was published in September 2017, and a revised new PMP exam that adopts the Sixth Edition standards will start on March 26, 2018. Thus, any PMP exam after that date will address the latest “Project Management Professional (PMP)® Examination Content Outline,” published by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

PMBOK® 6th Edition Changes

The new standards of the PMBOK® Sixth Edition have many changes from the Fifth Edition, which can be summarized as follows:

  • The total number of processes increased to 49. Three new processes were added, one process was removed, and one was repositioned.
  • New groupings for the process tools and techniques
  • New handling of the two major inputs and outputs: the project management plan and the project documents
  • Renaming of two knowledge areas
  • Changes in responsibilities related to the project charter, and more focus on lessons learned, benefits realization, and stakeholder relationships

Click Here to View 10 Free Sample Questions for the PMP Exam

PMP Exam objectives

All the PMP exam questions are mapped against the PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO) to ensure that an appropriate number of questions are in place and that the exam measures all elements of the project management profession. The ECO includes the question percentage per domain and the Role Delineation Study.

Number of Questions per Domain

For each domain or process group, the following question percentages are expected in the exam:

  • Initiating 13%
  • Planning 24%
  • Executing 31%
  • Monitoring and Controlling 25%
  • Closing 7%

The PMP exam has 200 questions and should be completed in four hours, so it is expected to have the following number of questions for each domain or process group:

  • Initiating: 26 questions
  • Planning: 48 questions
  • Executing: 62 questions
  • Monitoring and Controlling: 50 questions
  • Closing: 14 questions

Defining the Exam –  Role Delineation Study

The Role Delineation Study (RDS) defines the tasks, knowledge, and skill statements required to meet industry-wide standards in the role of a project manager. The Role Delineation Study guarantees that each examination appropriately measures all elements of the project management profession.

The RDS is described for each domain or process group of the project management in the ECO.

Although much of the knowledge outlined in the ECO is also covered in the PMBOK® Guide, there is some information that is unique to the ECO.  Therefore, PMP candidates should consider the RDS when preparing for the exam.

Preparing for the New PMP Exam

Exam preparation is different from attending training, reading, or studying a book. Exam preparation requires focussing on the knowledge on which the exam will be built. You will need to understand many details and remember many terms and definitions. Preparation for the new PMP exam requires a laser focus on the PMBOK® Sixth Edition and the ECO. It mandates having a lot of practice on the expected questions covering the new standards in the Sixth Edition. The following topics will address the exam in more detail.

PMP Examination Content Outline

  • Get the latest PMP Examination Content Outline from the PMI website. You can access a copy of PMI’s Examination Content Outline here.
  • Review the percentage of questions for each domain.
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the RDS for each domain and that you understand the given details for each domain.

Training

  • If you have previous training on the PMBOK® Fifth Edition, you will need to attend a new training session based on the Sixth Edition to be oriented towards the new standards.
  • If you are planning for the training required to get the 35 contact hours, get explicit information from the education facility that the training is created based on the PMBOK® Sixth Edition.
  • Do not be misled by questions on the Fifth Edition or earlier editions, as many of them will not be correct for the Sixth Edition. Refer to questions or simulators that are built specifically on the Sixth Edition to practice in an environment closer to the real exam.

Study materials

  • The first element in your study material list is the PMBOK® Sixth Edition; you need to be familiar with 49 processes, ten knowledge areas, and five process groups. The process inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs (ITTO) are important for the exam. They may be difficult to remember, but if you understand their usage in the processes and the relationships between the different processes, you will be able to select the right answer for the ITTO questions.
  • The ECO, as mentioned earlier.
  • The CertBlaster PMP 6 – this is the exam simulator with 600 practice questions and answers. It addresses the new exam coming out in March and each question references PMBOK® Sixth Edition. Our exam simulator will be released in March too. In the meantime, you can consult these 10 free PMP practice questions.

General considerations

  • ITTO has major changes in the Sixth Edition, so do not practice with ITTO questions created for previous editions.
  • Follow the project management processes and the project manager role as described in the PMBOK® Sixth Edition. Your way of thinking should be adapted to these standards to be able to answer the questions correctly.
  • Create a study plan to help you focus on what to do until the exam. This plan should include:
    • Review of the PMBOK® Sixth Edition with highlighting of important points.
    • Review of other books that you might buy or material from any training that you might attend, provided that the books and training are based on the Sixth Edition.
    • Complete two to three full PMP exams that are based on the Sixth Edition with a four-hour time limit for each. This will give you a feeling of the real exam. This is a very important step that should help you identify weak areas.

You can create your own materials, tables, notes, etc. to have quick reminders for important points within a short period.

Click Here to View 10 Free Sample Questions for the New PMP Exam

Graphic representation of a network diagram
Network diagram

Reasons given in a survey by employers for requiring certification.
Reasons given by employers for requiring certification.


Published February 7, 2018 in Exam ObjectivesJobs and careerLearning resourcesPMP CertificationProject Management

What’s new on the 2018 PMP exam?

Updated: 02/24-2021

Background

The Project Management Institute (PMI) published the PMBOK® Sixth Edition in September 2017, and a revised and new PMP exam that adopts the Sixth Edition standards will go live on March 26, 2018.

Since the Project Management Institute announced the first standards in 1996, these standards have evolved and undergone many changes until the ones described in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition were reached.

The Sixth Edition includes 49 project management processes used to manage the project lifecycle. The processes are logically classified into five process groups to achieve specific project objectives: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

The 49 processes are also categorized by knowledge area, each of which is described in terms of its component processes, practices, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques. The 10 knowledge areas are Integration, Scope, Schedule, Cost, Quality, Resource, Communications, Risk, Procurement, and Stakeholder.

Free practice questions for the new PMP  Exam – Click here

Changes in the Sixth Edition

The standards of the PMBOK® Sixth Edition have many changes from the Fifth Edition, published in 2013. You will find these changes reflected in your PMP exam starting on March 26, 2018. Below is a short review of the changes.

Changes in processes

The number of processes has increased from 47 processes in the Fifth Edition to 49 processes in the Sixth.

  • New processes: Three new processes have been added: Manage Project Knowledge, Control Resources, and Implement Risk Responses.
  • Renamed processes: The following nine processes were renamed:
    • The Perform Quality Assurance process was renamed Manage Quality.
    • The Plan Human Resource Management process was renamed Plan Resource Management.
    • The Acquire Project Team process was renamed Acquire Resource.
    • The Develop Project Team process was renamed Develop Team.
    • The Manage Project Team process was renamed Manage Team.
    • The Control Communications process was renamed Monitor Communications.
    • The Control Risks process was renamed Monitor Risks.
    • The Plan Stakeholder Management process was renamed Plan Stakeholder Engagement.
    • The Control Stakeholder Engagement process was renamed Monitor Stakeholder Engagement.
  • Relocated process: The Estimate Activity Resources process was moved from the schedule (time) management knowledge area to the resource management knowledge area.
  • Removed process: Only one process was removed, Close Procurements. The activities related to Close Procurements are now covered by two existing processes: Control Procurements and Close Project or Phase.

A new grouping of the process tools and techniques

Similar tools and techniques have been grouped to ease their references from the processes, minimize the number of tools and techniques appearing in each process, and focus more on the most-utilized tools. The new groups are:

  • Data gathering
  • Data analysis
  • Data representation
  • Decision-making
  • Interpersonal and team skills
  • Communication skills

For instance, within the data gathering group, you will find tools that facilitate data gathering, such as brainstorming, focus groups, interviews, and checklists.

Click here for free practice questions for the new PMP Exam

New rules for handling the process inputs and outputs

These rules mainly cover the project documents and the project management plan.

For the project documents:

  • When specific project documents are identified for the first time, they are listed as a specific output.
  • When changes are applied to the project documents, they are listed as “project documents updates” in the output list and described in the section narrative.
  • When dealing with any project document as an input, the term “project documents” is listed and the specific project documents are described in the section narrative.

Regarding the project management plan:

  • When a component of the project management plan is created, the process lists the component specifically.
  • When updates are applied to the components, they are listed as “project management plan updates” in the output list of that process, and the component name is described in the section narrative.
  • When the project management plan is included in a process input, specific components of the project management plan that may be considered are described in the section narrative.

Changes in the knowledge areas…

  • The time management knowledge area was renamed schedule management.
  • The human resource management knowledge area was renamed resource management. This revised term encompasses managing all types of resources including human resources, materials, supplies, facilities, and so on.

other Changes

  • The role of a project manager in defining the project charter has been redefined as a participant role. The project charter is now developed by the sponsor or the project manager in collaboration with the initiating entity. The initiating entity may be the sponsor, the portfolio manager, the PMO, etc.
  • Increased focus on the lessons learned from previous projects
  • More focus on the benefits realization
  • More emphasis on stakeholder relationships. Stakeholder engagement focuses on a two-way relationship, and the project manager should encourage the stakeholders’ engagement whenever possible.

Conclusion

If you are familiar with the PMBOK® Fifth Edition, you will need to adapt to these changes and become familiar with the new standards. However, even if this is your first time dealing with PMBOK®, knowing the changes will help you digest the new standards.

Click here for free practice questions for the new PMP Exam

Network diagram – Answer – Click the image to see the question


Published January 17, 2018 in Exam ObjectivesPMP CertificationProject Management

Security+ and the CompTIA “Grace Period”

Because CompTIA allows for a grace period on the older version of an exam from the date of introduction of a new version, you still have quite some time left to pass the test you have prepared for. This applies to many CompTIA exams including the “big three” A+, Network+, and Security+.

If you have invested time in training for the SY0-401 version (and don’t want to start over and train for SY0-501) then we recommend you sit for that exam during the grace period. The reasons are:

  1. You stand a 50% or so better chance to pass the SY0-401 because of all the new content added to SY0-501.
  2. You will be “just as certified” because when you are Security+ certified it is irrespective of version.
  3. You will be Security+ certified for just as long: 3 years from the date of your exam.

As far as Security+ SY0-501 is concerned CompTIA had a “pre-launch” on October 4, 2017, and a full-on marketing launch (as in brass bands and all) on October 25th. Now the retirement date of Security+ SY0-401 is July 2018. This means that between October 2017 and July 2018 you can choose the version you want to sit for. Both versions will be equally recognized as the valid Security+ credential for three years from your exam date.

 

Overview of main Security+ Exam Objectives

Main CompTIA Exam Objectives for Security+ SY0-501

Domain % of Examination
1.0 Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities 20%
2.0 Technologies and Tools 18%
3.0 Architecture and Design 20%
4.0 Identity and Access Management 15%
5.0 Risk Management 15%
6.0 Cryptography and PKI 12%
Total 100%

 

Main Exam Objectives for Security+ SY0-401

Domain % of Examination
1.0 Network Security 20%
2.0 Compliance and Operational Security 18%
3.0 Threats and Vulnerabilities 20%
4.0 Application, Data and Host Security 15%
5.0 Access Control and Identity Management 15%
6.0 Cryptography 12%
Total 100%

Security+ Recommended Prerequisites

For the Security+ certification CompTIA has established below recommended prerequisites:

Two or more years’ of experience in IT with a focus on cybersecurity. Daily technical information security experience. A wide understanding of security concerns and implementation including the topics in the exam objectives listed above.

CompTIA Security+ is accredited

It is accredited by ANSI to show compliance with the ISO 17024 Standard. This means that CompTIA undergoes regular reviews and updates to the exam objectives which in part explains the renewal of exam objectives every three years. The CompTIA Security+ exam objectives reflect the subject areas in the respective editions of the exam. They are formulated through subject-matter expert workshops and industry-wide survey results studying the skills and knowledge required for an information security professional.

photo of a Laptop Kensington lock
Laptop Kensington lock


Published October 16, 2017 in CompTIASecurity+ SY0-501

The Department of Defense Directive 8570.1 and CompTIA Certification

Updated: 02/24-2021

The US Department of Defense (DoD), In 2004, established Directive 8570.1: Information Assurance Training, Certification, and Workforce Management. It still stands and it is a mandate based on the requirement that all DoD information assurance technicians and managers are trained and certified. This is how it aims to ensure that all involved are able to effectively defend DoD information, information systems, and information infrastructures.

DoD 8570.01-M. DoD Approved/Required Certifications

IAT Level I

CompTIA A+

CompTIA Network+

SSCP

IAT Level II

GSEC

CompTIA Security+

SCNP

SSCP

Question: Who is impacted by this mandate?

Answer: Any employees of DoD or contractors doing business with DOD.

The relevant authorities at DoD have added a clause to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) that requires any company bidding on new DoD information technology (IT) contracts do so exclusively with personnel compliant with Directive 8570.

Question: What are the ramifications of Directive 8570?

Answer: The mandate may have far-reaching implications, such as:

  • It is generally viewed as a government endorsement of the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of commercial certification.
  • An important factor in selecting the above certifications is that they are internationally recognized and vendor-neutral i.e. more geared towards job-specific skills than vendor-specific products.
  • An advantage for the employee is that these certifications are portable in the sense that they are recognized in both the public and private sectors.
  • The international standards ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 are now mandated and endorsed by DoD for professional development.
  • It emphasizes that the information security profession is a distinct class of jobs and careers.

Question: Are the certification requirements for managers and for technically-oriented information assurance or information security personnel the same?

Answer: No.

The complete directive matrix includes six different classes of job roles and responsibilities and different certifications applicable for each category. Information assurance personnel is required to be certified under the credential(s) that meets the criteria laid out in these six classes. Managers are to meet the certification requirements listed under the Technical III (T3) and all Management categories (M1, M2, and M3). Technical personnel working at the DoD or on DoD contracts (external vendors/employees) is expected to abide by the certification requirements listed under the Technical I (T1) and Technical II (T2) categories.

Graphic of office buildings showing logos of companies.
Employers that require all or some of their employees to be IT certified.


Published October 2, 2017 in A+ 220-1001 & 220-1002CompTIANetwork+ N10-007Security+ SY0-601

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.5 – Given a scenario, explain the troubleshooting theory

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Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.5

5.5 Given a scenario, explain the troubleshooting theory.
Always consider corporate policies, procedures and impacts before implementing changes.

1. Identify the problem
Question the user and identify user changes to computer and perform backups before making changes

2. Establish a theory of probable cause (question the obvious)
If necessary, conduct external or internal research based on symptoms

3. Test the theory to determine cause
Once theory is confirmed determine next steps to resolve problem
If theory is not confirmed re-establish new theory or escalate

4. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution

5. Verify full system functionality and if applicable implement preventive measures

6. Document findings, actions, and outcomes

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! This is the final installment of the A+ 220-902 ExamNotes. Here in A+ 220-902 Sub-objective 5.5 “Given a scenario, explain the troubleshooting theory” we will examine the factors that separate good troubleshooters from great ones. We will separate “guessers” who may be right on occasion from consistently high performing technicians who use a proven methodology to achieve a higher success rate. We will use the CompTIA six-step model here. Good luck!

Always consider corporate policies, procedures, and impacts before implementing changes

Whenever repairs or changes are necessary there are additional factors to consider. If we look at a failed 802.11g wireless adapter does it make more sense to upgrade to a newer 802.11 standard? The parts for a direct replacement may not be available and a discussion with a network engineer may shed light on the possibility of a system-wide implementation to 802.11ac in the near future. These facts will have a direct impact on the parts you choose. Always take a structured approach to troubleshooting an issue. In preparation, first and foremost preserve as much user data as possible, back their data up to a network drive if at all possible. Check to see if there is a System Restore Point available for a time before the problem appeared. Don’t use it now, just know that it is available.

1. Identify the problem

Problem identification is essential to your success. A problem may appear to be a bad video card, when in fact it could be incorrect monitor resolution or a driver that needs to be updated. Use your knowledge base and rule out the possibilities until you arrive at the correct one. Don’t act just yet, you are just getting started.

Question the user and identify user changes to computer and perform backups before making changes

As we have stated earlier the user is the only real witness to problem occurrence. Ask good questions that will allow the user to explain in their own words (weird blue screen) the circumstances that surrounded the issue. Here is the big question “Can you reproduce the problem for me?” If the user can recreate the problem you can look at every aspect of the problem from program matters to user error. If it turns out to be user error don’t make a big deal of it. Possibly, “I just got an idea, can I try something?” If that doesn’t work Ask: “Did you notice any error messages or abnormal display behavior?” Another would be “Have you recently installed any new software?” And always ask, “What programs were you using when you observed the problem?” The answers here will help you paint a picture of the severity of the problem along with program or device compatibility. Pay close attention to items that would seem innocuous to the user like newly installed screensavers or responses to Virus warnings. Ask questions related to electrical issues like power outages or environmental issues like thunderstorms. Any detail however small could hold the key to your resolution.

2. Establish a theory of probable cause (question the obvious)

Now you have gathered a sufficient amount of information to formulate a theory regarding the issue. Don’t hesitate to consider factors that have any impact on the matter. Is the system on? Does it have power? What is displayed on the monitor? Do you get a POST beep? What type of sound does it make?

If necessary, conduct external or internal research based on symptoms

If you are still not certain, research the issue. You’re not the first person to experience this and there probably are online posts regarding it. Be sure to consult the manufacturer website. Use every resource available to you. There is a vast amount of information at your disposal online. Use it.

3. Test the theory to determine cause

Every problem will have a root cause. Use your skills to identify the determining factor (s) Determine if the problem is hardware or software based. Once you have formulated a workable theory it’s time to test it. We can’t stress this enough. Be sure your user’s data is securely backed up.

Once the theory is confirmed determine next steps to resolve the problem

When you have determined your theory it’s time to test it. Perform a test and evaluate the results. If multiple solutions are available, use the least invasive one first.

If your test is successful move to step 6. Remember to take good notes.

If theory is not confirmed re-establish new theory or escalate

If the condition still exists, move to your next course of action. Don’t do anything drastic like formatting the disk! Escalate the issue. Seek advice from a co-worker or your supervisor. They may have encountered this issue before.

4. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution

When you are confident you have the solution, write down your proposed plan of action and then follow it to the letter. This helps future technicians solve this problem and documents your actions.

5. Verify full system functionality and if applicable implement preventive measures

When you have completed the repair check the system for operation. Check all aspects of operation, fixing one thing has the possibility of breaking something else. Review the nature of the repair with the user making sure they understand. What caused the problem and ways they can prevent reoccurrence.

6. Document findings, actions, and outcomes

At the close of the call ask the user to perform some of their daily tasks to be sure they are satisfied. Take your time and be sure things are working as expected.

This is the last sub-objective for A+ 220-902!

Ladies and Gentlemen! If you worked these ExamNotes sequentially then you have made it through all 33 A+ Objectives, congratulations! This does not mean you are ready for the test, only that you have completed one portion of your training. Use every resource available to you. Self-tests (not brain dumps) are a great way to test your knowledge. Google a ton! There is a lot of preparation material available on the Net (make sure you have more than one source for anything you are not sure about). Use what works for you.

From all of us at CertBlaster, GOOD LUCK!

Back to the main 902 ExamNotes page

 


Published July 5, 2017 in A+ BundleCompTIAExam Objectives

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.4 – Demonstrate proper communication techniques and professionalism

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Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.4

5.4 Demonstrate proper communication techniques and professionalism.
Use proper language – avoid jargon, acronyms, slang when applicable
Maintain a positive attitude / Project confidence
Actively listen (taking notes) and avoid interrupting the customer
Be culturally sensitive
Use appropriate professional titles, when applicable

Be on time (if late contact the customer)
Avoid distractions
Personal calls
Texting / Social media sites
Talking to co-workers while interacting with customers

Personal interruptions
Dealing with difficult customer or situation
Do not argue with customers and/or be defensive
Avoid dismissing customer problems
Avoid being judgmental
Clarify customer statements (ask open-ended questions to narrow the scope of the problem,    restate the issue or question to verify understanding)
Do not disclose experiences via social media outlets

Set and meet expectations timeline and communicate status with the customer
Offer different repair replacement options if applicable
Provide proper documentation on the services provided
Follow up with customer user at later date to verify satisfaction

Deal appropriately with customers’ confidential and private materials located on a computer, desktop, printer, etc

Welcome to ExamNotes by Certblaster! This section will examine 220-902 Objective 5.4 Demonstrate proper communication techniques and professionalism. The foundation of your relationship with the user or customer rests on your professional appearance, the manner in which you present yourself and the degree you are able to educate the user while making repairs. Engage them in the process wherever possible. If the user comprehends the nature of the problem, they may be able to avoid it in the future. At the very least they will be able to provide actionable details when calling the help desk.

Use proper language – avoid jargon, acronyms, slang when applicable

Always use the correct terminology when discussing the customers’ issue. Using acronyms and slang will, more often than not, generate confusion in the conversation. This terminology may make you feel that you are impressing the customer with your mastery when in reality you may simply be confusing them. Mak every effort to be understandable to the user.

Maintain a positive attitude / Project confidence

Your demeanor sets the customers’ first impression as to the quality of service they are receiving. You want to appear confident but not cocky. Be calm and assured. Never say “Uh-Oh”. Regardless of the circumstances maintaining a positive attitude will enable the customer to respect your skills and lead to a generally agreeable encounter.

Actively listen (taking notes) and avoid interrupting the customer

During the initial phase of a service call, you will have the help desk notes and a problem description. Don’t use this information immediately. Have the customer describe the condition in their own words. Their remarks may uncover details that are not in your trouble ticket. This adds a comfort level for the user by enabling them to explain issues in their own terms and validate your understanding. Take good notes and never cut a user off when they are talking. If the problem can be reproduced have them show you the process.

Be culturally sensitive

Remember that during a professional encounter you represent your entire company from the help desk down to your personal encounter. With this in mind confine any non-technical discussions to those initiated by the customer. This will help you stay in safe conversational zones. Topics that interest them and are generally of the “How about this weather?” nature. Avoid topics involving religion, race, gender, and politics. If you sense a conversation going south steer it back to matters at hand. People are less likely to be confrontational with you personally but will quite easily report anything negative to your superiors in a follow-up call. Protect yourself and your company against any negativity.

Use appropriate professional titles, when applicable

Professionalism can be gauged by how you treat the customer in general conversation. Always address them using the best professional title that applies, even if it is simply Mr. or Mrs. /Ms. This practice signifies your respect for them as a person. Then identify yourself accurately and state the nature of your visit. It is good to ask if this is a convenient time for them and give a fair estimation of the amount of time you’ll need.

Be on time (if late contact the customer)

The objective states to contact the customer if you are going to be late. This is undoubtedly good form, a customer will begin to formulate a positive opinion of you and the visit if you call ahead when on time and give them your accurate location and ETA. An additional consideration would be to ask if the time still works within the customer’s schedule. A little respect goes a long way.

Avoid distractions

When you are working on a customer’s equipment it is imperative to give the matter your undivided attention.If a customer feels that you are distracted it will directly impact their faith in you and the company. That is unacceptable. Unless your employer requires personal devices be on at all times turn them off. If they must remain on silence the ringer. There should be no external interference.

Personal calls

There is no good reason to make or take a personal call during a customer encounter. Period.

Texting / Social media sites

Your company policy will adequately cover Texting and Social Media sites suffice to say that this activity will not be permitted during customer interactions without exception.

Talking to co-workers while interacting with customers.

You should not initiate any conversations with coworkers during a trouble call. The only exception would be a case where you need advice, and here, keep the conversation brief.

Personal interruptions

While you are working on a customer’s device you need to realize that your presence is keeping them from their duties. You may not be able to control a coworker initiating a conversation, but you can cut it short, make it clear that you are busy and schedule the talk for a better time.

Dealing with a difficult customer or situation

Consider that you don’t know what you don’t know. The statement sounds simplistic yet still profound. The work order states only that the customer’s email is not working and that the ticket is flagged as Urgent! Given that a computer never fails a good time, compound that fact with the customers’ situation. Do they have a tight deadline? What are the repercussions of not meeting their deadline? Could this problem cost the company a sale or even a prospective customer? There could be a bonus, raise or even promotion depending on a completed task. You just don’t know and a cavalier attitude could potentially send the customer over the edge. Now think back on the rules of engagement. This new information goes a long way in defining an agitated customer. Having acted properly helped avoid any escalation. Your actions have also helped the customer determine that the right person was sent to fix the issue. If the customer is venting let them finish and above all do not argue any aspect of their issue. They could easily be the cause of the problem but it wold be inadvisable to mention things of that nature at this point in time.

Photo of Upset customer
Upset customer – You never want to get a user to this place…

Do not argue with customers and/or be defensive

An irate customer will likely blame anyone in the chain even remotely involved, even you personally. Whatever you do, do not argue. Let them go on. They will also attack programs and devices that have no part in their issue, do not defend anything.  Apologize and offer help. Assure them that you will resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Avoid dismissing customer problems

Another area of conflict with a customer arises from the technician dismissing or minimalizing the customer’s input. Customers know how to do their job using their tools. It makes sense to hear them out regarding any theory that could cause a problem. Avoid dismissing their theories without investigating them. Recognize that the customer represents the only witness to the matter at hand and use them fully as a resource.

Avoid being judgmental

It is easy for some in the IT community to feel that they know more than a user on a particular matter.

This is not always true. The technician may have an advanced skill set in programming and operational matters, but it is the end user that will have an intimate day to day knowledge of the cause and effect behavior of frequently used applications. Pay attention.

Clarify customer statements (ask open-ended questions to narrow the scope of the problem, restate the issue or question to verify understanding)

Your interaction with the customer can be the difference between quick success and lots of wasted time. In conversation always use questions that require more than a one-word response. Questions like “When did you first notice the problem?” will yield more information if you add “ and what else were you doing at the time?”.  You may find that they were listening to a Webinar and taking notes when the incident occurred. Now you have the browser, antispyware, browser plug-ins and toolbars to consider that would not otherwise have been suspected.

Do not disclose experiences via social media outlets

Social media is highly addictive to some people. They often share details about their lives interactions and experiences without regard for the potential viewers. Social media is banned or restricted in the workplace because it represents a security vulnerability. Think of a hacker who is a bogus friend of a friend being able to determine the schedule and whereabouts of the IT staff from a simple retirement party invitation. They will know all of the attendees where they will be (GPS) for how long. This would be a perfect time to launch an attack. Don’t use social media for work-related matters however innocent they may appear.

Set and meet expectations timeline and communicate status with the customer

A customer should be kept informed as to the time they can expect you and any details involving the schedule. The best call they could expect is “I’ve finished my last call, I know it’s early but would you like me to come now?”

Offer different repair replacement options if applicable

When faced with a situation that requires a part replacement consider solutions that will get the user running while you wait for the part. Let’s say you have a damaged USB 3.0 port. You can suggest that the device can operate on an unused USB 2.0 port. It will be slower but it will work. This is a workable short term solution.

Provide proper documentation on the services provided

All service related calls must be documented. As a technician, you should be sure that the work request is complete, containing Username location date and time of call and problem description. When you arrive at the location note the arrival time and the state of the unit to be fixed. Do your fact-finding interview. Take clear concise notes. Note any actions taken, parts needed and the condition of the machine on departure. Include recommendations for further action if necessary, the date and time.

Follow up with customer user at later date to verify satisfaction

A good technician will follow up with the customer later the following day to ensure customer satisfaction and to be sure the repair was complete and satisfactory. This shows the customer that you are concerned about their matter.

Deal appropriately with customers confidential and private materials Located on a computer, desktop, printer, etc

When you enter a customer’s workspace you will undoubtedly come across items of a personal nature along with potentially sensitive work data. It is important that you confine your attention to only those matters that concern youThere may be information on their screen. You should suggest that they save and close their applications. Any materials on their printer should be secured by the user. Make every effort to avoid exposure to confidential and personal information.

Well, that covers it for 220-902 objective 5.4. Only one to go! Keep on plugging away, you’re almost there! Good luck on the test.

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Published July 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.3 – Summarize the process of addressing prohibited content/activity, and explain privacy, licensing, and policy concepts – Part 2 of 2

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This is Part 2 of 2 of our coverage of CompTIA A+ Objective 5.3

Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.3

5.3 Summarize the process of addressing prohibited content/activity, and explain privacy, licensing, and policy concepts.
Incident Response
First response

Identify
Report through proper channels
Data/device preservation
Use of documentation/documentation changes
Chain of custody

Tracking of evidence/documenting process
Licensing / DRM / EULA
Open source vs. commercial license
Personal license vs. enterprise licenses

Personally Identifiable Information
Follow corporate end-user policies and security best practices

Welcome to Exam Notes by CertBlaster! This is Part 2 (of 2) of A+220-902 Exam Objective 5.3 “Summarize the process of addressing prohibited content/activity, and explain privacy, licensing, and policy concepts.” We will inspect the issues and procedures surrounding the use of data that is in violation of corporate policies.

Tracking of evidence/documenting process

The documentation surrounding the handling of evidence is a crucial factor in any matter that will be subsequently reviewed for completeness and accuracy. You and all parties concerned in the handling of physical and digital evidence should be prepared to present accurate irrefutable records of time/date received and what actions were performed. The Chain of Custody is a major factor as is the Due Care of these materials while you are responsible for them. Forensics experts should be involved immediately as their skill set includes the storage and preservation of volatile digital data. They are capable of recovering the most volatile data like system RAM as well as preserving the integrity of storage media by making workable copies without making any changes to it.

Licensing / DRM / EULA

A common infraction involving midsized to large corporations is caused by employees misunderstanding or disregarding software licensing. While organizations make every effort to avoid copyright infringement, there are cases where a careless employee may feel that a special graphics program or piece of music will enhance their presentation. The legality of this practice may come into question causing financial hardship for the company.  It falls to the user to carefully read the End User License Agreement (EULA) before accepting it. In practice, very few users actually read the agreement and simply accept it. Acceptance is a liability. The EULA contains clauses regarding the acceptable use of the product and the ramifications of misuse among other legally binding matters. Digital Rights Management (DRM) protect artists and from having their works used in unauthorized manners. The DRM is digitally embedded in the media and is aggressively enforced.

photo of a maze or labyrinth
What navigating Licensing, DRM & EULA can feel like

Open source vs. commercial license

Software can be generally classified two ways. Open source (freeware) where the source code is freely available and can be modified by subsequent developers providing that any derivative works remain freely available and there are no fees for its use. This software is developed by and for a community that values the betterment of the product over financial reward. The Linux and Android operating systems are great examples of this philosophy. Closed source software is commercial for-profit programming that charges for the use of its programs. Closed source coding is closely guarded and not available. Obviously, use of this programming will be controlled by various licenses as you will see below.

Personal license vs. enterprise licenses

When using commercial software the licensing is purchased based on the intended use. Personal use is defined a single user installing the product on the personal devices in his home (domicile). In the corporate environment, products are usually covered under an enterprise site license that grants use to all employees. If the software is particularly expensive or use is confined to a small group or department, a per-seat license may be more cost effective. This license limits the installations to a predetermined number of users.

Personally Identifiable Information

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is the information about you that you would consider confidential. This includes your full name, complete address, credit card numbers, date of birth and social security number. It also covers health records. Entities that store this information are subject to strict legally binding guidelines as to the confidential storage and dissemination of this information. PII is a high-value target for hackers who can use this data to create identities and access and deplete all of your assets, even creating new lines of credit in your name. Lists containing this information are easily attainable on the black market. Don’t release this information without careful consideration. Something as simple as a job application contains enough information for someone to deplete your assets and ruin your credit.

Follow corporate end-user policies and security best practices

Every corporation has security policies regarding the handling of personal and corporate data. Be knowledgeable of these policies and follow them to the letter. There will also be guidelines covering the handling of PII in certain situations. Treat these as absolute rules with no room for personal interpretation. Your job and someone’s financial well-being can both suffer irreparable damage.

And that’s all for Objective 220-902 5.3! You are very close to the end. Keep up the good work! Good Luck on the test!


Published June 26, 2017 in A+ BundleCompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resources

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.3 – Summarize the process of addressing prohibited content/activity, and explain privacy, licensing, and policy concepts – Part 1 of 2

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This is Part 1 of 2 of CompTIA A+ Objective 5.3

Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.3

5.3 Summarize the process of addressing prohibited content/activity, and explain privacy, licensing, and policy concepts.
Incident Response
First response
Identify
Report through proper channels
Data/device preservation
Use of documentation/documentation changes
Chain of custody

Tracking of evidence/documenting process

Licensing / DRM / EULA
Open source vs. commercial license
Personal license vs. enterprise licenses
Personally Identifiable Information

Follow corporate end-user policies and security best practices

Welcome to Exam Notes by CertBlaster! In this installment, we will examine Objective 5.3 Summarize the process of addressing prohibited content/activity, and explain privacy, licensing, and policy concepts. We will inspect the issues and procedures surrounding the use of data that is in violation of corporate policies.

Incident Response

In some cases violations may be innocent transgressions attributed the employee’s misinterpretation of the rules and in others, they may be flagrant violations with legal implications. In either case, regardless of how you become aware of the violation, it is important that you adhere to the policies that relate to your handling of the situation. You may be tempted to err on the side of leniency in some matters. This is NOT your decision to make. In the worst case, failure to report incidents could make you an accomplice. Every company has slight terminology variations as to what is and is not acceptable use. The fundamental principles will be the same. For example, every company will have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that is part of the employment agreement and is also freely available for employee review. Read it completely and follow it to the letter.

First response

In a case where you believe there has been a legal infraction or one of poor judgment, the incident should be reported as defined by corporate policy. There is no situation where you would confront the employee directly. Doing this provides the employee time to cover up the transgression and opens the door for unauthorized parties who are not involved in the process to overhear your discussion. Speak to no one outside the authorized channel the regarding these matters. Your handling of matters involving data breaches will likely be scrutinized by the legal team making it important that you follow your guidelines to the letter. Take clear notes regarding reporting and the actions you take.

Identify

The identification of an incident may be a personal observation or through the routine observation of network logs. Log files will uncover unauthorized personnel accessing restricted data. Immediately document this behavior and bring it to proper individual(s) for direction.

Report through proper channels

Always report strictly to the appropriate parties as indicated by your organizational Security Policy. Again here the process you follow and the manner in which you report will bear close scrutiny. Be clear, accurate and complete in your reporting.

Data/device preservation

In cases where there is evidence of foul play or corporate espionage, the preservation of data is of paramount importance. This should involve a forensic team to securely handle, store and validate any digital media. Network logs and MRU lists showing recently accessed documents will solidify your case. Obtain the services of a forensic expert before you handle anything. The slightest change could render the evidence inadmissible.

Use of documentation/documentation changes

Company policies are subject to change as needed to keep pace with the evolving corporate environment. While as stated these policies are easily accessed by the employees, all employees should be notified when a change is made with instructions on how to view the updated documentation. In a lengthy document, the exact change can be listed as not to be overlooked.

Chain of custody

Whenever evidence is necessary to create or support a case all records and physical support needs to be carefully preserved. This is accomplished using a form called a Chain of Custody. The Chain of Custody is designed to allow anyone who comes in contact with the evidence the ability to record the date/time they come into possession, the actions taken and the release date/time, along with the party it was remanded to. Fill this form out completely because any mistakes or gaps will render the evidence inadmissible. Sign for everything you take possession of and require signatures from those who you transfer possession to.  Any gaps in the process can be interpreted as a point of evidence corruption

Well, that’s all for Part 1 (of 2) of Objective 220-902 5.3! You are very close to the end. Keep up the good work! Good Luck on the test!

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Example of an interactive aka by CompTIA Performance Based Question for A+ Exam 220-902:


Published June 22, 2017 in A+ BundleCompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resources

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.2 – Given a scenario with potential environmental impacts, apply the appropriate controls – Part 2 of 2

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This is Part 2 of 2 of CompTIA A+ Objective 5.2

Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.2

5.2 Given a scenario with potential environmental impacts, apply the appropriate controls.

MSDS documentation for handling and disposal
Temperature, humidity level awareness and proper ventilation
Power surges, brownouts, blackouts
Battery backup
Surge suppressor

Protection from airborne particles
Enclosures
Air filters/Mask

Dust and debris
Compressed air
Vacuums

Compliance to local government regulations

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! In Objective 5.2 “Given a scenario with potential environmental impacts, apply the appropriate controls”, we will look at some of the ways we can control the negative impact of the materials we handle on the environment.

Protection from airborne particles

Airborne particulate matter can primarily be a health hazard but equally, it can build up inside your equipment clogging fans and increasing the possibility of overheating. Machines operating in an environment where these contaminants are present should use specially designed protection. People operating those machines need personal protection. Here is an unprotected CPU heatsink after years of unprotected operation. This CPU is overheating.

photo of a CPU on a dusty heatsink
CPU Heatsink Clogged with Dust

Enclosures

The PC needs to be protected from environmental hazards. Equipment operating in an environment where airborne dust or other fine suspended particles require additional protection. Here’s a look at a well-sealed dust-proof PC enclosure. This enclosure will not permit air to enter anywhere except the specified air intakes like fans and vents. These openings will have filters that should be monitored for buildup of debris.

photo of a PC dust proof enclosure
PC dust proof enclosure

This condition guarantees overheating caused by obstructed airflow. Since most PCs use one or more fans to create negative pressure inside the case draw outside air into the system for cooling. It is important to recognize exactly what is contained in that air. The power supply cooling fans draw these contaminants through the vents into the enclosure where they can build up. This buildup can prevent the internal components to be covered in a buildup of this fine debris thereby reducing the ability to conduct heat away from sensitive electronics.

The solution, aside from regular vacuuming, is a specially designed enclosure. These enclosures use air filters on the intakes and fans to forcibly create positive airflow to the unit providing clean air to the system.  Ideally, the intake for the enclosure would draw air from outside the contaminated area to keep the filters from premature clogging.

Air filters/Mask

As mentioned above air filters will prevent contaminants from entering the device and reducing the buildup on fans, capacitors, and heatsinks designed to dissipate heat. An air filter mask is the first line of personal protection for airborne contaminants. Make sure you have a good seal around the whole mask. Leaks will be evident after a period of exposure by a streak of debris on your face. Double check the seal.

photo of an Air Filter Mask
Air Filter Mask

Dust and debris

As noted above dust and debris will decrease the internal device components ability to conduct heat out of the system. These contaminants will also cause premature wear and failure of moving parts like fans and optical media readers/writers.

photo of a dusty computer
Very dusty computer

Compressed air

There are two main solutions to the dust and debris problem. One is compressed air. Compressed air is great for the relocation of contaminants. The keyword here is relocation. Since it does not remove the contaminants and only blows them off of the components you should exercise care not to fill your workspace with this material. It’s best to use compressed air outside your building where the dust can be dissipated by the atmosphere. You won’t make any friends by blowing out a dusty PC in your shop.

photo of a can containing air
Canned-air

Vacuums

A good anti-static vacuum is the best method for cleaning out a dusty PC. It will clean out and contain any contaminants preventing any secondary contamination of nearby parts and people. Be absolutely sure that the vacuum is rated as anti-static. There should be no metal parts or attachments that will damage the sensitive internal components. Think about the high-speed fan generating static that could easily be conducted to the components, not optimal. Here is an approved Anti-Static Vacuum.

photo of Anti Static Vacuum
Anti-Static Vacuum

Compliance to local government regulations

As noted earlier in Objective 5.1, there is a myriad of regulations governing the safe operating practices in your workspace. The Federal Regulations published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates standards for procedures and material handling. OSHA is responsible for the protection of workers exposed to any number of hazards. In our case, the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) includes the practices and procedures for disabling equipment that will present a shock hazard. Do pay attention. Also, there should be an MSDS on file for any hazmat you will come in contact with. Failing to observe the electrical standards can result in immediate harm to yourself or coworkers. Hazardous materials can cause immediate harm in some cases but there are also long-term effects that may not be recognized right away but could lead to life-threatening conditions like liver or kidney damage and ultimately cancer.

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Published June 19, 2017 in A+ 220-901 & 220-902A+ BundleCompTIAExam Objectives

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.2 – Given a scenario with potential environmental impacts, apply the appropriate controls – Part 1 of 2

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This is Part 1 of 2 of CompTIA A+ Objective 5.2

Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.2

5.2 Given a scenario with potential environmental impacts, apply the appropriate controls.

MSDS documentation for handling and disposal
Temperature, humidity level awareness and proper ventilation
Power surges, brownouts, blackouts
Battery backup
Surge suppressor

Protection from airborne particles
Enclosures
Air filters/Mask

Dust and debris
Compressed air
Vacuums

Compliance to local government regulations

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! In Objective 5.2 Given a scenario with potential environmental impacts, apply the appropriate controls, we will look at some of the ways we can control the negative impact of the materials we handle on the environment. This Part 1 of 2 covers all exam objectives up until Protection from airborne particles.

MSDS documentation for handling and disposal

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) to communicate the hazards of dangerous chemical products. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that the employer maintains an MSDS or SDS for every material that poses a risk to personal health or the environment. Data sheets are to be kept in a location where they are accessible by the employees. If you are ever unsure about the use or disposal of anything, ask for the MSDS (SDS) for the material.

Temperature, humidity level awareness and proper ventilation

Computers are sensitive to high heat levels. They will operate unpredictably in extreme cases. Always be sure to provide the proper ventilation to your components to avoid heat buildup. You should also be aware of the humidity levels. Low humidity prevents the free flow of static electricity. When static electricity builds up you have a condition that supports ESD.

Power surges, brownouts, blackouts

The computer relies on a consistent reliable voltage level to operate properly. If either the flow of electricity is interrupted or if the voltage fluctuates the equipment will fail. A power surge is a brief overvoltage condition called a voltage spike that can do damage to a system. A brown out is a brief under voltage condition that will cause equipment failures. A blackout is an absence of electrical energy.

Battery backup

A battery backup provides a consistent reliable power supply to the equipment. The battery backup runs the equipment from a battery supply that is constantly being charged. The equipment is running from a clean stable power source. The UPSs are rated by wattage and Volt-amps. When selecting a UPS it is best to calculate the anticipated load and choose a power supply that is rated approximately 40% higher. e.g. a 600W load calls for 1000W UPS. This extra headroom will provide longer runtime in a power failure and will not overly tax the unit. UPSs provide protection against surges, brownouts, and blackouts.

Photo of UPS-Battery Backup
UPS-Battery Backup

Surge suppressor

A provides protection against voltage spikes. When the surge suppressor senses voltage higher than its rating it trips an internal breaker cutting power to its outlets. Once a surge suppressor has been triggered it needs to be replaced. If it has an indicator light, the light will flicker. Also, many surge protectors contain phone jacks. If they are present use them, Electricity can use any physical connection to enter your system. Your phone or modem is not capable of handling high voltage. In our example, you can see that this unit has indicators for Line, Fault, and Protection status.

photo of Surge suppressor
Surge suppressor

That wraps it up for Part 1 of 2 of A+ exam objective 5.2! Good luck on the test!

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Published June 15, 2017 in A+ 220-901 & 220-902CertBlaster Test EngineCompTIAExam Objectives

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.1 – Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures – Part 2 of 2

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This is Part 2 of 2 of CompTIA A+ Objective 5.1 for Part 1 of 2 click here.

Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.1

5.1 Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures.

Equipment grounding
Proper component handling and storage
Antistatic bags
ESD straps
ESD mats
Self-grounding

Toxic waste handling
Batteries
Toner
CRT

Personal safety
Disconnect power before repairing PC
Remove jewelry
Lifting techniques
Weight limitations
Electrical fire safety
Cable management
Safety goggles
Air filter mask

Compliance with local government regulations

Safety in Objective 5.1 Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures. Enjoy!

Personal safety

Disconnect power before repairing PC

Always be absolutely sure that that your unit is completely disconnected from the power source before you begin any internal service.  It is also good to discharge any energy stored in the components. After unplugging the unit hold the power button down for a few seconds. This will cause the PC to initiate the boot process. Without a power source, the unit will not boot but will dump any energy stored in the capacitors. Performing this simple procedure will reduce the possibility of any electrical shorts or harmful accidental discharge.

Remove jewelry

Remove your jewelry before any electronic service. Doing this will eliminate the possibility of damage caused by shorts and accidental discharges. You will be safer and so will the unit you are working on. If you have an ID badge around your neck or even a necktie, be sure to tuck it inside your clothing while you are servicing. You don’t want to catch on any mechanical components like fans or optical drives.

Lifting techniques

When lifting take a second or two to consider the weight of the object its location (floor, desk or shelf). Now think about the best practices for lifting. For example, keep your back straight and use your legs to lift. Use leverage instead of muscle. A little forethought can spare you weeks of pain.

Weight limitations

Your job description could cover lifting minimums but you will see that rarely is there a maximum limit. Here again, planning will give you the opportunity to perform the task without injury. Plan for items like carts or hand trucks to help manage heavy weights or long distances.

Electrical fire safety

In the event of an electrical fire, you should make every effort to remove the power. Many fires are a result of someone bypassing or ignoring simple electrical safety procedures.For example, don’t overload the outlets. Use extension cords as a temporary solution only and never plug one extension cord into another. Examine the plug and cord of a device for signs of wear and replace before using. Never run a cable of any type under a rug or mat.

Fire safety codes require fire extinguishers of the types indicated in specific locations. Electrical fires can be either of two classes depending on their state. When energized the fire is Class C, then once the power is removed it becomes the class of the burning material i.e. plastic or Class B. here is a clearly labeled Carbon dioxide fire extinguisher.

phote of Fire Extinguisher label
Fire Extinguisher Label

Cable management

A moment ago we mentioned that you should not run cables under rugs or mats. Then how do you keep people from tripping on cables? You don’t run them across the floor, period. There is no condition that justifies running cables across the open floor or walkways. Bundle cables together using Velcro straps or zip ties.

Safety goggles

You should be in the habit of wearing eye protection at all times in the workplace. Choose the right style for the type of protection you require. Safety eyewear has impact resistant properties and there are designs that offer additional protection against chemical splashes and airborne contaminants like dust or laser printer toner.

2 photos of Eye Protection
Eye Protection

In a dusty or dirty environment, you should always protect your lungs. Irritants suspended in the air may be invisible. You will be able to see the effectiveness of a filter mask by examining the mask after a period of use. Any particulate matter filtered out of the air will be visible on the mask. You may be surprised.

photo of an Air Filter Mask
Air Filter Mask

Compliance with local government regulations

When you are in the workplace keep in mind that certain activities like cable routing and disposing of hazardous waste are regulated under local codes or ordinances. You should be aware of these regulations in order to comply with them.

And that concludes our ExamNotes for objective 5.1. Good luck on the test!

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Published June 12, 2017 in A+ 220-901 & 220-902CompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resources

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 5.1 – Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures – Part 1 of 2

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This is Part 1 of 2 of CompTIA A+ Objective 5.1

Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 5.1

5.1 Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures.

Equipment grounding
Proper component handling and storage
Antistatic bags
ESD straps
ESD mats
Self-grounding

Toxic waste handling
Batteries
Toner
CRT

Personal safety
Disconnect power before repairing PC
Remove jewelry
Lifting techniques
Weight limitations
Electrical fire safety
Cable management
Safety goggles
Air filter mask

Compliance with local government regulations

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! This edition will address A+ Exam Objective 5.1 in two parts and this is Part 1. We’ll look at which situations would dictate a certain safety implementation or strategy. Enjoy!

Equipment grounding

Electrical energy will always take the shortest path to ground. The ground is a safe path for excess electrical energy wether caused by an overvoltage condition or a short. Always make sure your equipment is properly grounded using a three-pronged AC plug. Do not operate equipment that has this safety feature disabled. There are those who would break off the ground prong on a plug to fit it into a two prong outlet. Don’t use this type of plug. It is a hazard to you and the equipment. Here we see a shock or high voltage warning label.

graphic of High voltage warning
High voltage warning

Proper component handling and storage

Static electricity is an electrical charge that is built upon an object or person. This charge needs a path to discharge. The charge builds up at different rates on different objects. When dissimilar charges are brought close together they will attempt to equalize. Care should be exercised when handling any electrical component. This includes low voltage components as well as power supplies. Consider that the circuitry of our electrical components is quite fragile when it comes to misapplied voltages. When looking at electrostatic discharge (ESD) think about the electrical lightning bolt you experience when touching a doorknob after walking across a carpeted floor. That spark can be as much as 10,000 volts. It can be both audible and visible at lower voltages.  The damage caused by ESD can destroy a component or shorten its life.

Antistatic bags

In order to safeguard our electronics from being subjected to improper voltages, the anti-static bag was developed. The principle of this bag is to dissipate the electrical charges of external objects. While the worst cases of ESD will be seen as a flash and heard as a loud snap, even relatively imperceptible amounts of ESD can damage your equipment.

ESD straps

An ESD strap or ground strap equalizes the dissimilar electrical charge between conductive objects like your body and a PC. A conductive wrist strap with an alligator clip is worn and connected to the device to prevent electrical charge buildup.  You always carry an electrical potential that increases or decreases as you generate a charge by performing seemingly innocuous tasks like walking or moving through the atmosphere. In the majority of cases, this electrical energy is dissipated whenever you contact a conductive surface. While this discharge is silent and painless to humans at voltages of around 3,000V, the results can be devastating to a circuit board that is designed to handle less than 50V. Always attach your ESD strap to an unpainted surface to ensure the connection. In the graphic, you can see the contact where your energy is conducted to the alligator clip to attach to bare metal in your workspace.

Photo of blue ESD Wrist Strap
ESD Wrist Strap

ESD mats

As a technician, you should be vigilant about ESD issues. Take all the necessary precautions to safeguard sensitive equipment. In addition to ESD straps, ESD mats can be used to create an electrically neutral workspace by providing a path to ground and preventing an electrical buildup.

Self-grounding

Self-grounding describes the process of discharging your electrical energy by contacting the bare metal frame of a computer chassis before touching any internal components. While this is no substitute for a ground strap it will discharge you while you remain in contact with the device.

Toxic waste handling

Toxic waste is any material that can cause harm when ingested. This includes breathing, swallowing or through physical contact with the skin. You will find many of the seemingly benign cleaners, solvents and notably computer and entertainment components are quite hazardous. Treat PC components like circuit boards and monitors as hazardous waste. When it comes to liquids look for a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that describes dangers associated with the material itself and the instructions for safe handling. Here we see one of the more understandable warnings.

graphic of Toxic Warning Symbol
Example of a Toxic Warning Symbol

Batteries

Your day to day experience brings you into contact with numerous battery types. Larger batteries store the charge for UPS devices while smaller ones power our portable devices and the smallest watch batteries are used on motherboards to retain the CMOS. Batteries represent a danger not only from their contents but they also present an explosion risk. Improper handling and use of batteries can result in leakage of the battery fluids. A malfunctioning or overcharged battery will get very warm, swollen, leak and may even burst into flames.

photo of a Swollen Smartphone Battery
Swollen Smartphone Battery

Toner

Toner is the “ink” used in laser printing. Comprised of wax or plastic mixed with pigment and metallic properties, the toner appears as fine powdery black dust. It is one of the harder to control elements of your environment because it is easily influenced by static electricity and moving air. Toner has a relatively low melting point which is useful in helping it permanently fuse to the printer paper and unfortunately anything else it contacts. Toner is kept contained in a sealed removable toner cartridge in a laser printer. It is very difficult to remove toner from clothing and surfaces. To reduce the environmental impact of spent toner cartridges most manufacturers include a prepaid return label that can be used to recycle used cartridges.

photo of a Toner Cartridge
Toner Cartridge

CRT

The legacy cathode ray tube (CRT) was the primary display component since the inception of the PC till about the 90s. CRTs have been replaced in most cases by flat panel LCD displays. The CRT contains mercury, lead, and other hazardous material. Additionally, it contains high voltage capacitors that can hold a charge of 50,000 volts which can be discharged in an instant. CRTs are also considerably heavier than flat panel LCD, LED and OLED displays. Since the CRT does not contain any user serviceable components you won’t be exposed to the high voltage. Recycle CRTs according to your local codes.

photo of a cathode ray tube - CRT monitor
cathode ray tube – CRT

That is all for Part 1 of 2 of A+ 220-902 sub-objective 5.1. Make sure to look for Part 2.

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Published June 8, 2017 in A+ BundleCompTIAExam Objectives

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 4.4 – Given a scenario, troubleshoot common mobile OS and application security issues with appropriate tools – Part 2 of 2

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This is Part 2 of 2 of CompTIA A+ Objective 4.4, for Part 1 of 2 click here

Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 4.4

4.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common mobile OS and application security issues with appropriate tools.

Common symptoms
Signal drop/weak signal
Power drain
Slow data speeds
Unintended WiFi connection
Unintended Bluetooth pairing
Leaked personal files/data
Data transmission overlimit
Unauthorized account access
Unauthorized root access
Unauthorized location tracking
Unauthorized Camera/microphone activation
High resource utilization

Tools
Antimalware
App scanner
Factory reset/Clean install
Uninstall/reinstall apps
WiFi analyzer
Force stop
Cell tower analyzer
Backup/restore
iTunes/iCloud/Apple Configurator
Google sync
One Drive

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! This section will address Objective 4.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common mobile OS and application security issues with appropriate tools. We took a look at the common symptoms in Part 1 of 2 and in this Part 2 of 2 will take a look at the tools you will use to mitigate them.

Tools

Antimalware

Your first line of defense against all virus, malware and exploits will be antimalware programs. The mobile platform requires smaller more efficient apps than the desktop versions. Apps like Malwarebytes, Pegasus, and Lookout have both Android and iOS versions. These programs detect malicious programming by comparing it to a pool of known malware called signatures. Each particular malware attack has a specific digital footprint. As the malware evolves it will alter itself and change its footprint to avoid detection. Your antimalware signatures need to be updated as frequently as possible to keep up with the evolution of the threats. Also, these applications are able to detect the slight changes that malware makes to itself and have the capability to detect malicious behavior. There are many antimalware apps to choose from. Choose wisely by comparing features and reviews. Evaluate different products. Real-time protection is the number one feature to look for. Most have a free full featured introductory trial periods. After the trial period, many antimalware apps have free versions with reduced features. Look for an app that updates automatically. Best not to have your signature updating as a manual process. It is also good to be able to have regular automatic scans.

Lookout logo
Lookout Mobile Security

App scanner

App scanners check the apps on your device for security vulnerabilities. This is another area where the need for real-time detection is clear. In addition to checking installed apps, it is important to have the ability to scan apps before they are installed.

Factory reset/Clean install

In cases of irreversible infection, your device can be wiped of all data and restored using the ROM image of the factory OS installation. The factory reset clears all storage and settings and the clean install loads the operating system the device shipped with. This may need to be updated depending on the age but it will certainly provide a solid malware free environment.

Uninstall/reinstall apps

When you encounter unusual behavior in an app, try stopping and restarting the app. If that does not work try restarting the device. If the problem is still unresolved does not resolve the problem, you need to remove the app by uninstalling it. Then obtain a fresh install file from the play store or App Store and install. Your online store retains a record of all previously installed apps to help you choose your new installation files.

WiFi analyzer

The wireless environment can be crowded and inhabited by unauthorized devices waiting for your transmissions. While WiFi analyzers can provide signal strength metrics and quality information the most useful detections concern security vulnerabilities including the location and activity of unauthorized devices.  Traditionally WiFi analyzers were dedicated devices. Now your mobile device is capable of supporting a WiFi analyzer app making wireless network analysis and threat detection more accessible as opposed to the expensive single purpose alternatives.

Force stop

Sometimes during app troubleshooting, you will attempt to uninstall an app only to fail. An app that is reported as in use will not uninstall. Use Settings > Apps to force a running app to stop. This will usually facilitate the uninstallation.

Cell tower analyzer

A cell tower analyzer can be used by technicians to measure the signal strength across a network and assist in device placement to provide uniform coverage.

Icon of a Cell Tower
Typical icon of a cell tower

Backup/restore

iTunes/iCloud/Apple Configurator

Apple devices have flexibility in the backup and restore process.

iTunes can be used to backup, sync mobile content with your MAC or PC. Then it can be used to restore content from the computer to the mobile device. The size of the backup is only limited by the available space on the Mac/PC. Encrypted backups can be selected but encryption is off by default.

The iCloud functionality is much the same as iTunes with the main differences being encryption (always on), backup size and iCloud’s wireless capability. The free storage on iCloud is 5GB and up to 2TB is available. Often it is advisable to use both iCloud and iTunes for backups to ensure availability.

Apple Configurator can be used to manage profiles, apps and backup settings including wiping the device and selectively create an instance with the iOS and individual apps to be deployed. The configurator can work with the iCloud and is scalable to configure multiple devices. It does not perform backup and sync, it configures the device to perform these functions.

iTunes logo
iTunes

Google sync

Google sync has been replaced by GoogleDrive to synchronize mail, contacts, photos and other selected content for the personal user. Google Sync is only available to G Suite, Drive for Work, Government, and Education customers. The Google Drive provides up to 15GB free storage with a Gmail account. Download Google Drive and a Google Drive folder will be created and you can select files in the Cloud to be synchronized with your mobile device. Desktop/laptop GoogleDrive folders begin synching immediately.

GoogleDrive logo
GoogleDrive

OneDrive

Microsoft’s OneDrive is available to Windows, Android and iOS devices. It offers 5GB of free storage which can be increased to 1TB with an Office 365 subscription.

logo of OneDrive
OneDrive

That is everything for objective 4.4 which is the final objective in Main Domain 4.0 Software Troubleshooting. You are very close to completion! There is only one Main Domain remaining – 5.0 Operational Procedures. Keep up the good work and we’ll see you soon in 5.0. Good luck on the test!

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Published May 31, 2017 in A+ BundleCompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resources

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-902 sub-objective 4.4 – Given a scenario, troubleshoot common mobile OS and application security issues with appropriate tools Part 1/2

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Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 4.4

4.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common mobile OS and application security issues with appropriate tools.

Common symptoms
Signal drop/weak signal
Power drain
Slow data speeds
Unintended WiFi connection
Unintended Bluetooth pairing
Leaked personal files/data
Data transmission overlimit
Unauthorized account access
Unauthorized root access
Unauthorized location tracking
Unauthorized Camera/microphone activation
High resource utilization

Tools
Antimalware
App scanner
Factory reset/Clean install
Uninstall/reinstall apps
WiFi analyzer
Force stop
Cell tower analyzer
Backup/restore
iTunes/iCloud/Apple Configurator
Google sync
One Drive

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! This section will address objective 4.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common mobile OS and application security issues with appropriate tools. We will look at the common symptoms and the tools you will use to mitigate them.

Common symptoms

Signal drop/weak signal

Smartphone users are used to having signals drop as they travel. “Can you hear me now?” If you find yourself in an environment where you usually have good signal and no longer connect reliably or the signal is weaker than usual you may have malware on the device. Whether it is cellular or Wi-Fi signal degradation malware is a primary consideration when diagnosing sub-par wireless communications. Obtain a malware scanner from a trusted source to check for malware.

Power drain

When your smartphone or tablet suddenly loses half of its battery life you probably don’t need a new battery. What you need is a malware scanner. Malware programs run in the background consuming memory, wireless connections and subsequently the battery. Scan with a malware program from a trusted source. Also, check for firmware updates for the device.

Slow data speeds

Here is another indication of malware. When your connectivity is compromised you will experience slower than usual downloads and web page loads. This is caused by malware consuming your bandwidth to propagate. Obtain a malware scanner from a trusted source to check for malware.

Unintended WiFi connection

Malicious hotspots pose a serious threat to your data security along with the health and performance of your device. Many devices are configured to access any wireless connection based primarily on signal strength by default. Generally, hotspots offered as a customer service provide some sort of user validation for the connection. However malicious Wireless LANs (WLAN) will make unintended access to their rogue access points transparent. You will find yourself on a network constructed by a hacker consisting of you, other victims and the evil doers. You will notice sub-par performance and blame it on the connection, while the fact is that your device is being plundered and malware is being loaded in the background. The trick to avoiding this is to configure your device Wi-Fi to ask before connecting giving you a chance to look at the SSID, or to disable all automatic connections. The name of the setting will differ but the intent is clear. You should also turn your Wi-Fi off when not in use.

Unintended Bluetooth pairing

Even though Bluetooth is described as a low-power short-range connection type you are vulnerable to those in your range. This could easily be a fellow commuter, diner, or coffee drinker. If your Bluetooth is always on a hacker can easily connect to your device while it’s in your pocket. Be sure to disable Bluetooth when it is not being used. In addition to the security, your battery life will be improved.

Bluetooth logo
Bluetooth

Leaked personal files/data

The term data leakage refers to the unauthorized transmission of data from a trusted entity (internal) to an untrusted entity. Data leakage can be in the form of electronic channels like email, HTTP or P2P and others. Physical media like USB drives and other storage media can transport leaked data out of the trusted space and also provide an open door for inbound malware piggybacking on the devices. A great example of this technique is a program called slurp. This program can reside on a portable media player or other electronic devices like a smartphone or tablet, and when connected to a PC it can copy all documents spreadsheets and presentations. Leaks can be malicious or inadvertent in nature. When overall leakage was examined it turned out that only about 1% were malicious internal leaks. The others were inadvertent leaks and attributed to poor business data handling or simple employee oversight. Internal leaks can be attributed to malware, email, webmail, and file sharing. External leaks would include intruders or hackers who tailor exploits to suit their needs using malware.

Data transmission over limit

Ok this one’s easy. Your phone sits idle for most of the day. Then you get a warning from your service provider that you are over your usage allowance for your plan. You have never been close to maxing out your plan. Now, you have to go the rest of the month at 3G instead of 4G. The ever present threat…Malware alive and well on your device! When you see unusual behavior like this on your device it could be due to malicious programming that doesn’t close when you shut it down. It either resurfaces or even worse runs in the background completing its tasks. This can have a serious impact on your data usage, throughput, and battery life.

Unauthorized account access

If your device has been compromised you should always consider which online accounts you have accessed with the device. Once a hacker is on the inside they can extract your credentials. Check all of your accounts and change the passwords as soon as you can using a clean uncompromised device. Do not make your changes from the compromised device, as aside from the false sense of security, you will be updating the hacker information and possibly identifying new targets. This information will provide them the usernames and passwords for specific accounts and in many cases, this information will provide the foundation for hackers to target their attempts for other accounts.

Unauthorized root access

In terms of permission and capabilities rooting an Android device and jailbreaking an iOS device represent the highest level of command and control available. For Android, the only real limit is the user’s skill set. Intentionally rooting or jailbreaking a device is useful but it is a good policy to unroot the device after you have accomplished your goal. Malware will root your device to enhance its capabilities. These capabilities include allowing span from editing system files to capture PII, replacing the operating system with rogue version, installing pre-jailbroken firmware or if damage is the hacker’s goal, the device can be turned into a brick. You can check this on Android with Root checking apps from the Play Store or looking for installed root apps like KingRoot, Vroot or Framaroot to name a few. Jailbroken iOS devices may display new unfamiliar app icons on the home screen like RedSnow, Cydia, and JailbreakMe. In the majority of cases, the device can be unrooted with a factory reset/clean install.

Unauthorized location tracking

The GPS on your mobile device is useful for determining your current location within a few feet. This information can be combined with a mapping app to get directions or even to use search terms find the goods and services you are looking for based on their proximity.  So with the understanding of this behavior, it would be within reason that upon installation an advertising based app would request access to the browser for advertising or business locations and certainly, the map app would be allowed to get the geo-location information. On installation conforming apps will request the required features or data sets for your approval. If you deny this access the installation will usually terminate. Here is an example of the type of information that can be compromised and analyzed.

screenshot of GPS Output
GPS Output

Unauthorized Camera/microphone activation

When you consider the camera(s) and microphone on your device it’s not hard to think of the privacy and security issues involved when a device is compromised. You will detect this type of unauthorized access by examining resource consumption particularly your internet performance. The audio and video are being streamed to the evildoers and the process can be revealed by the unusual amount of send/receive activity. This compromise also impacts performance and battery life. A hacker with access to the camera and microphone can collect and correlate this information and use apps like a PIN skimmer to determine exactly where you are looking when the audio reports a tap. Combine that information with the x/y tap location and there is a practically guaranteed result.

High resource utilization

The utilization of your mobile device’s resources is the primary point to examine when you suspect a compromise. As we have been covering throughout this objective the majority of compromises can be tied to the way malware consumes system resources. The battery, internal storage, and data transmission rates will all reveal unauthorized activity.

That is it for Part 1 of 2 of objective 4.4 which is the final objective in domain 4.0 Software Troubleshooting. See you in Part 2 of 2, you are very close to completion!

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Published May 23, 2017 in A+ 220-901 & 220-902A+ BundleCompTIAExam ObjectivesLearning resources

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