CEH Preparation

I am scheduled to take the Certified Ethical Hacker certification exam (312-50) next week (wish me luck).

Overall I have enjoyed the self-study process. Here are a few pros/cons I have about the curriculum:


  • Huge scope
  • Lots of specific examples and command descriptions.
  • Emphasizes the entire Pen Test process, not just the “popping a box” stuff.
  • Significant emphasis on policy.
  • A reasonable focus on underlying processes, not just ‘tutorials’.
  • Required me to improve my understanding of the TCP/IP (especially ICMP)


  • Available curriculum can easily become dated. Tools you need to learn for the exam are probably useless by now.
  • Not sure exactly which tools are important to remember/study.
  • I was glad to be directed to the RFCs, but sometimes it was too much for little return.
  • Failed to discuss modern defenses that a Pen Tester would run into. (i.e. NAT)
  • Seemed stuck on buffer overflows and trojans/backdoors. Very little was put into newer attacks like XSS (none on XSRF), and SQL Injection.

In comparison to CompTIA’s Security+, I would say that the CEH is much more technical, hands down. Security+ emphasizes more on security theory, management, and policy; and not to forget, a TON of cryptography. CEH focuses much more on the actual testing. Some people might say that its pointless to get both. I would advise otherwise and encourage all those getting into the security field to achieve both certifications. With both you would be well prepared to follow either the management, or the technician track of the security field.

Overall I think the CEH certification is a good credential to have. It will build confidence in your skills as a Pen Tester, prepare you for the business aspect (opposed to just hacking), and make you more reputable to others (since it is now on DoD 8570). In no way do I think this certification would prepare you to “strike out on your own”. I feel like its a good Basic Training for those going into Pen Testing.

For those interested in pursuing the CEH, here was my Self Study Outline, and a few tips:


Week 1-4: Read through prep book, using Counter-Hack Reloaded as reference. I made about 400 note cards, and reviewed them everyday as I went. I spent about 1.5-2 hours a day reading, and was careful to make sure I did all recommended tasks.

Week 5: I spent an entire week reviewing my note cards, and memorizing everything I could.

Week 6: Do all the practice tests included with my study materials. Also used TestKing test bank, and whatever else I could get my hands on!

NOTE: I would like to mention that I have already been involved in security for some time before my CEH prep. I have the Security+, and have attended trainings at Black Hat. If you are brand new to the security world, I would recommend taking a significantly longer amount of time to prepare and understand the underlying technology.


  1. ExamCram CEH Prep Guide (by Que)
  2. Counter-Hack Reloaded (by Ed Skoudis, the Grandmaster)
  3. TestKing prep questions
  4. Official EC-Council CEH Review Guide

I did use some other materials, although these were my primary ones. In a few days I will post a comparison of the materials and what I would advise.

3 Responses to “CEH Preparation”

  1. dotslash88 Says:

    Since you have prior experience and security+ knowledge, added to confidence to taking this exam.

    Best of luck to you

    CEHv6 (2009)

  2. Good Luck 🙂

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