Sometime in the next few months I’m planning to go ahead with taking CompTIA’s Security+ exam, so it was nice timing for an offer of a copy to play around with for the sake of writing a review.
This is written as an overall resource for people who need to learn the material basically from scratch. For people who’ve actually spent a lot of time working on security, this will probably mean that big chunks of the book’s 500ish pages aren’t going to be necessary, but that just comes with the territory when you’re buying learning materials that have to cover this much ground.
It’s not going to make you an expert in any particular area, but that’s a good thing. The exam and certification are intended to demonstrate general security knowledge, so that’s what you need to get. You’ll learn about the difference between block ciphers and stream ciphers, for example. They also actually give you a pretty good description of things like 3DES and AES and how the algorithms work. On this, and other topics, they spare you a lot of obsessing over the really fine details that will only be useful for someone who’s specializing in a particular sub-field, rather than doing security work generally.
The practice tests on CD are probably at their most useful as a way of helping you to quickly get a rough idea of where you mostly have a handle on the material and where you really need to spend a lot more time studying.
It’s a pretty decent package, overall. With this type of material, a lot depends on how well you understand the way the authors express themselves, so it’s really worth your time to take a good look at the preview’s avaialable on the catalog page for the CompTIA Security+ Training Kit from O’Reilly Media.