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Certification Watch (Vol. 18, No. 43)

In this week's roundup of the latest IT certification news, the ITCC seeks certification innovators, CompTIA reports a revealing security experiment, and more.

Best and Brightest Sought for ITCC Industry Innovation Award


Certification inventor innovatingThe IT Certificaiton Council (ITCC) is on a mission to promote and popularize IT certification, and that includes shining on a spotlight on improvements, inventions, and innovations that make the IT certification realm a materially better place for education, self-improvement, professional growth and more. The inaugural ITCC Industry Innovation Award was presented to Microsoft's Larry Kaye last year. Now it's time for the cycle to begin again, and the ITCC is seeking input on worthy nominees for its 2016 Industry Innovation Award. Eligible nominees must be employed by a company or organization that is actively involved in the IT certification industry and must have played an active role in the development of a product that has improved or bettered IT certification. Eligible products must have been released in the past two years, and must have a demonstrated benefit to users that "addresses a market need within the IT certification industry." You can create and upload a nomination without getting up from your desk, so take five and spread the word about an IT certification innovation. You or someone you know could be the next big winner!


Cisco CISO Thinks YOU Are In a Cybercriminal's Crosshairs


In case you were wondering, it is, yes, still National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And in the spirit of awareness we direct your attention to an interesting and faintly terrifying interview with Cisco Chief Information Security Officer John Stewart freshly posted at Cisco Learning Network. Stewart has a lot to say, but here are a couple of of the bullet points:

● Cyberattackers often target individual employees of IT organizations large and small. This means that you, at this very moment, could be viewed as someone's primary access point to the company network.

● Spam has a renewed presence as a security threat. Just when you thought it was safe to check your e-mail, apparently hackers are making a renewed effort to turn your errant click into a data breach nightmare.

Stewart's interview was spurred by the release of the Cisco Security Manifesto from Cisco's 2015 Annual Security Report. The full 53-page report can be accessed online (registration required).


See a Flash Drive and Pick It Up, All the Day You'll Have BAD LUCK


Let's keep the NCSAM love flowing for a moment. Picture this: You've just parked the car and, paper bag from McDonald's in one hand and smartphone in the other, you are approaching the front door of your workplace through the parking lot. You kick something with your toe and look down to see a USB jump drive (memory stick, flash drive, etc.) lying on the ground. Do you: a) throw it in the nearest trash receptable, b) ignore it and keep walking, c) look around for someone who might have dropped it and then throw it in the trash or ignore it and keep walking, or d) pick it up, walk inside and plug that sucker into your workstation to see what's on it. A new report from CompTIA reveals that an alaming number of individuals apparently choose Option D. Because curiousity killed the cat, or in this case, probably breached the company network. CompTIA reveals in a white paper titled Cyber Secure: A Look at Employee Cybersecurity Habits in the Workplace that nearly one in five individuals have an Option D mindset. That particular statistic was gleaned from a live experiment involving 200 unbranded USB flash drives left in high-traffic public areas. Visit CompTIA to get the full account.


Microsoft SMEs: Exam Takers Are 'Overthinking' Challenged Questions


We've been following a series of engaging blog posts from Microsoft Learning psychometrician Liberty Munson in this space for the past couple of weeks, and there's another good item this week. Munson has been discussing challenges to questions on Microsoft certification exams, and reports that, while all such challenges are carefully considered, they rarely result in a question's being changed. Why is that? Munson said that Microsoft SMEs (subject matter experts) are most often of the opinion that certification candidates are simply "overthinking" relatively standard questions. Munson goes on to offer a series of tips to lessen the likelihood of such self-sabotage that should probably be required reading for exam candidates tackling certifications offered by any company or organization. Definitely check it out if there's a Microsoft certification exam in your future.


That's all for this edition of Certification Watch. Please keep your certification news and tips coming to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..