The current version of CompTIA Security+ exam is based on the 2010 objectives and labeled SY0-301. Previous release of the Security+ exam (based on the 2008 objectives and labeled SY0-201) retired on December 31, 2011 and is no longer available.
It is expected that the SY0-301 should retire around May 2014; the new objectives for the upcoming SY0-401 Security+ exam have already been published by CompTIA (this document can be viewed after clicking on the link at the bottom of this page).
SY0-301 exam domains cover network security (21%), compliance and operational security (18%), threats and vulnerabilities (21%), application, data, and host security (16%), access control and identity management (13%), and cryptography (11%).
The educational version of the SY0-301 certification exam is coded JK0-018. This release is available exclusively for the CompTIA Academy Partner Program (CAPP Academy) training partners and their students. The educational version of the SY0-301 exam is identical in all aspects, except for the exam code and the fact it can be accessed by using discounted vouchers provided by the CompTIA authorized training partner.
SY0-301 exam is a computer-based, multiple choice test that consists of 100 questions, lasts 90 minutes, and requires a passing score of 750 points on a scale of 100-900. In addition to the regular multiple choice / multiple selection types of questions, new releases of CompTIA certification exams include performance-based questions requiring test takers to perform tasks / solve problems in a simulated IT environment.
Security+ bridge exam scheme retired on December 31, 2010 (along with all other CompTIA bridge exams which are no longer available). The SY0-301 exam is now part of the CE (Continuing Education) program, under which lifetime certification that could be gained previously by passing the Security+ exams is no longer offered by CompTIA and periodic certificate renewal for this exam becomes mandatory in order to be able to hold a valid certificate.
Starting from January 1, 2011, all new CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications are valid for three years from the date the candidate is certified. After three years they must be renewed either by passing the new release of the exam or by fulfilling units from the CE program.
A quote from what can be found on the CompTIA's website on lifetime certificates obtained before December 31, 2010:
"Individuals certified in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ or CompTIA Security+ on or before Dec. 31, 2010, will be considered certified for life. For individuals certified on or after Jan. 1, 2011, these certifications can be maintained by passing the most current CompTIA exam prior to the three-year expiration date or enrolling in CompTIA's new Continuing Education (CE) program. This initiative allows participants to keep skills and certifications current through a variety of activities that show an understanding of relevant industry knowledge."
Starting from July 9, 2012, CompTIA exams are available only through Pearson VUE testing centers (exams are booked at the Pearson VUE website).
CompTIA does not offer any free re-tests nor discounts on exam retakes, and candidates must pay the exam price each time they attempt the exam. There is no waiting period between the first and second attempt to pass the exam, only before the third attempt or any subsequent attempt there is a mandatory wait period of at least 14 calendar days from the date of the last attempt.
CompTIA Security+ certification fulfills the U.S. Department of Defense’s Directive 8570.1. Department of Defense (DOD) approves CompTIA Security+ to fulfill certification requirements for Management Level 1 positions. CompTIA Security+ certification can also help in demonstrating compliance with government regulations under FISMA (the Federal Information Security Management Act).