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SY0-501 Exam Facts

CompTIA SY0-501 is a certification exam that assesses the competence of various cybersecurity professionals. It concentrates on installing and setting systems to secure devices, networks, and applications. Furthermore, the test takes a look at carrying out threat analysis and responding with the appropriate mitigation techniques. In addition, it measures the proficiency of the individuals in participating in risk mitigation activities. This qualifying exam leads to the sought-after certification, which is CompTIA Security+. It should be noted that the specialists can also get this certificate by passing the SY0-601 test.


The applicants should possess a comprehension of security concerns and implementation. Besides that, they need to have day-to-day technical information security experience. Moreover, the professionals should possess at least two years of experience in IT administration with a focus on security.

Exam Overview

CompTIA SY0-501 comes with a maximum of 90 questions. The examinees will have 90 minutes to answer all the questions. To ace the test, the individuals need to achieve the pass mark that is 750 points on a scale between 100 and 900. The list of available languages includes Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), and Japanese (the English language retired from July 31, 2021).

The SY0-501 certification exam consists of six subject areas. Here are their highlights:

Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities: The first section is revolved around:

  • Analyzing indicators of compromise and determining the type of malware. It includes crypto-malware, viruses, ransomware, Trojan, worm, rootkit, adware, keylogger, spyware, backdoor, RAT, bots, and logic bomb
  • Comparing and contrasting types of attacks. It covers application/service attacks, cryptographic attacks, social engineering, and wireless attacks
  • Explaining threat actor types and attributes
  • Explaining penetration testing concepts. It includes passive reconnaissance, active reconnaissance, pivot, persistence, initial exploitation, escalation of privilege, partially known environment, known environment, unknown environment, and penetration testing vs. vulnerability scanning
  • Explaining vulnerability scanning concepts. It comprises false positive, passively test security controls, identifying common misconfigurations, identifying lack of security controls, identifying vulnerability, credentialed vs. non-credentialed, and intrusive vs. non-intrusive
  • Explaining the impact related to types of vulnerabilities

Technologies and Tools: This part concentrates on:

  • Installing and setting network components (hardware and software-based) to support organizational security. It includes VPN concentrator, firewall, NIPS/NIDS, switch, router, proxy, access point, load balancer, and SIEM as well as NAC, DLP, mail gateway, SSL/TLS accelerators, bridge, SSL decryptors, hardware security module, and media gateway
  • Utilizing the appropriate software tools to assess the security posture of an organization. It covers network scanners, protocol analyzer, wireless scanners/cracker, vulnerability scanner, password cracker, configuration compliance scanner, data sanitization tools, exploitation frameworks, steganography tools, backup utilities, honeypot, banner grabbing, command-line tools, and passive vs. active
  • Troubleshooting common security issues. It is about certificate issues, access violations, data exfiltration, unencrypted credentials/clear text, permission issues, weak security configurations, and misconfigured devices as well as personnel issues, baseline deviation, unauthorized software, license compliance violation (availability/integrity), authentication issues, asset management, and logs and events anomalies
  • Analyzing and interpreting output from security technologies. It covers antivirus, HIDS/HIPS, file integrity check, application allow list, host-based firewall, removable media control, patch management tools, advanced malware tools, DLP, UTM, web application firewall, and data execution prevention
  • Deploying mobile devices securely
  • Implementing secure protocols

Architecture and Design: This module is about:

  • Explaining use cases and purpose for frameworks, best practices, and secure configuration guides
  • Implementing secure network architecture concepts
  • Implementing secure systems design
  • Explaining the importance of secure staging deployment concepts. It covers environment, integrity measurement, sandboxing, and secure baseline
  • Explaining security implications of embedded systems. It is about smart devices/IoT, SCADA/ICS, HVAC, RTOS, SoC, printers/MFDs, special purpose, and camera systems
  • Summarizing secure application development and deployment concepts
  • Summarizing Cloud and virtualization concepts. It includes VM escape protection, VM sprawl avoidance, hypervisor, Cloud access security broker, Cloud deployment models, Cloud storage, VDI/VDE, security as a service, and on-premise vs. hosted vs. Cloud
  • Explaining how resiliency and automation strategies reduce risk
  • Explaining the importance of physical security controls

Identity and Access Management: This topic takes a looks at:

  • Comparing and contrasting identity and access management concepts. It includes federation, transitive trust, multifactor authentication, single sign-on, and identification, authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA)
  • Installing and setting identity and access services
  • Implementing identity and access management controls
  • Differentiating common account management practices

Risk Management: This domain gives attention to:

  • Explaining the importance of policies, plans, and procedures associated with organizational security
  • Summarizing business impact analysis concepts. It includes MTTR, MTBF, RTO/RPO, identification of critical systems, mission-essential functions, impact, single point of failure, privacy threshold assessment, and privacy impact assessment
  • Explaining risk management processes and concepts
  • Following incident response procedures
  • Summarizing the basic concepts of forensics. It covers chain of custody, order of volatility, legal hold, track person-hours, recovery, preservation, data acquisition, and strategic intelligence/counterintelligence gathering
  • Explaining disaster recovery and continuity of operations concepts
  • Comparing and contrasting different types of controls
  • Carrying out data security and privacy practices

Cryptography and PKI: The last subject area focuses on:

  • Comparing and contrasting the basic concepts of cryptography
  • Explaining cryptography algorithms and their basic characteristics
  • Installing and configuring wireless security settings
  • Implementing public key infrastructure

Preparation Options

There are several training resources that the learners can utilize to prepare for this CompTIA Security+ certification test. For instance, these may be study guides, eLearning, and interactive labs that are available on the official website. On the other hand, the individuals can consider using different tools proposed by third-party platforms. To begin the preparation process, the specialists can utilize the exam blueprint. It comes with an overview of the topics of the test. Besides that, this document contains a list of acronyms for the exam. You can also take advantage of practice tests, exam dumps, video courses, and blog articles.

Career Opportunities

Those individuals who complete the SY0-501 exam will get the related certificate, which is CompTIA Security+. This certification can be utilized for various positions. Some of them include a Systems Administrator, a Helpdesk Manager/Analyst, a Security Administrator, a Network Engineer, an IT Project Manager, a DevOps/Software Developer, an IT Auditor, and a Security Engineer/Analyst, among others. As per the PayScale website, the average compensation outlook for the Security Administrators is $67,000 per annum. On the other hand, the median salary for the Network Engineers is $75,000 per year.

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