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Exam Details
Exam Codes SY0-401 SY0-501
Launch Date May 1, 2014 October ​4, 2017

Exam Description The CompTIA Security+ exam will certify the successful candidate has the knowledge and skills required to install and configure systems to secure applications, networks, and devices; perform threat analysis and respond with appropriate mitigation techniques; participate in risk mitigation activities; and operate with an awareness of applicable policies, laws, and regulations. The successful candidate will perform these tasks to support the principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Number of Questions Maximum of 90 questions
Type of Questions Multiple choice and performance-based
Length of Test 90 minutes
​Passing Score 750 (on a scale of 100-900)
Recommended Experience CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus
Languages English, Japanese, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese. English (Japanese, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese estimated Q2 2018)

English retirement: July 31, 2018;
Japanese, Portuguese and Simplified Chinese: December 15, 2018
Usually three years after launch

CompTIA Security+ is the certification globally trusted to validate foundational, vendor-neutral IT security knowledge and skills. As a benchmark for best practices in IT security, this certification covers the essential principles for network security and risk management – making it an important stepping stone of an IT security career.

Jobs that use Security+
Security Specialist/Administrator
Security ​Consultant
Security or ​Systems ​Administrator
Network ​Administrator

Companies that use CompTIA Security+ include:
U.S. Department of Defense

4 Steps to a Cybersecurity Career
Want more CompTIA Security+ information?

IT security is paramount to organizations as cloud computing and mobile devices have changed the way we do business. With the massive amounts of data transmitted and stored on networks throughout the world, it’s essential to have effective security practices in place. That’s where CompTIA Security+ comes in. Get the Security+ certification to show that you have the skills to secure a network and deter hackers and you’re ready for the job.

Security+ is government approved
CompTIA Security+ meets the ISO 17024 standard and is approved by U.S. Department of Defense to fulfill Directive 8570.01-M requirements. It is compliant with government regulations under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Security+ is globally recognized
CompTIA Security+ is a globally recognized credential with certified professionals working in over 147 countries throughout the world.

Security+ provides substantial earnings potential
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Security Specialists, Administrators and Managers earn over $86,000 per year.

Security+ is industry supported
Security+ is developed and maintained by leading IT experts. Content for the exams stems from a combination of industry-wide survey feedback and contributions from our team of subject matter experts. Learn more about the people behind the CompTIA Security+ Advisory Committee. is CompTIA’s intelligent online learning tool to help you learn for your Security+ exam. It can verify what you already know and fill in knowledge where you need it. It’s a great addition to your learning prep and will be your guide on your path to master the Security+ curriculum.

Training Materials
There’s a wealth of training materials available that match your learning needs and learning style. Whether you are studying on your own, or in a classroom environment, we recommend CompTIA Authorized Quality Curriculum (CAQC) training materials that will help you get ready for your certification exam and pass the test.

For all training options, visit our training overview.

Instructor-Led Training
Instructor-led training provides a comfortable teaching environment with instructors that are familiar with the certification process and can help you master your certification exam. Find your instructor now.

Ready for the Test?
When you’ve completed your training and you know you can take your certification exam with confidence, head over to the CompTIA Marketplace and purchase your exam voucher that you will need to sign up for the test.

Once you’ve purchased your voucher, you can find a testing location and schedule your test.

Keep your certification up to date with CompTIA’s Continuing Education (CE) program. It’s designed to be a continued validation of your expertise and a tool to expand your skillset. It’s also the ace up your sleeve when you’re ready to take the next step in your career.

Get the most out of your certification
Information technology is an incredibly dynamic field, creating new opportunities and challenges every day. Participating in our Continuing Education program will enable you to stay current with new and evolving technologies and remain a sought-after IT and security expert.

The CompTIA Continuing Education program
Your CompTIA Security+ certification is good for three years from the day of your exam. The CE program allows you to extend your certification in three-year intervals through activities and training that relate to the content of your certification. Like Security+ itself, CompTIA Security+ ce also carries globally-recognized ISO/ANSI accreditation status.

It’s easy to renew
You can participate in a number of activities and training programs, including higher certifications, to renew your CompTIA Security+ certification. Collect at least 50 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in three years, upload them to your certification account, and Security+ will automatically renew.

A security analyst wishes to increase the security of an FTP server. Currently, all trails to the FTP server is unencrypted. Users connecting to the FTP server use a variety of modem FTP client software. The security analyst wants to keep the same port and protocol, while also still allowing unencrypted connections. Which of the following would BEST accomplish these goals?

A. Require the SFTP protocol to connect to the file server.
B. Use implicit TLS on the FTP server.
C. Use explicit FTPS for the connections.
D. Use SSH tunneling to encrypt the FTP traffic.

Answer: B

A company has three divisions, each with its own networks and services. The company decides to make its secure web portal accessible to all employees utilizing their existing usernames and passwords, The security administrator has elected to use SAML to support authentication. In this scenario, which of the following will occur when users try to authenticate to the portal? (Select TWO)

A. B. The portal will function as an identity provider and issue an authentication assertion
B. C. The portal will request an authentication ticket from each network that is transitively trusted
C. D. The back-end networks will function as an identity provider and issue an authentication assertion
D. The back-end networks will request authentication tickets from the portal, which will act as the third-party service provider authentication store
E. F. The back-end networks will verify the assertion token issued by the portal functioning as the identity provider

Answer: C

Which of the following would a security specialist be able to determine upon examination of a server’s certificate?

A. CA public key
B. Server private key

Answer: B

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As ‘organizers of information distribution’ they must store data about users’ communications on servers in Russia

Russia’s communications regulator has ordered Facebook, Twitter and Google to join a register of social networks or face being blocked in Russia, according to a report in the newspaper Izvestia.

Data integration is often underestimated and poorly implemented, taking time and resources. Yet it
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By registering as “organizers of information distribution,” companies agree to store data about their users’ communications on servers in Russia or face a fine of 500,000 Russian roubles ($13,000), the report said. Companies that fail to register within 15 days of a second order from the regulator can be blocked in Russia.

A number of Russian Internet companies have already registered, said the newspaper. These include search engine Yandex, social networking service VKontakte, and webmail service, it said, citing Maxim Ksenzov, deputy head of the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roscomnadzor).

The regulator’s move against the three U.S. Internet companies was no surprise: Western monitoring organizations including the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists have been predicting it since Russia passed its so-called Social Media Law in May.

It’s not just Internet services that must register with Roscomnadzor, however: Bloggers too must register as mass media outlets if they have more than 3,000 visitors per day, and must comply with the same restrictions on their output as television stations and newspapers. These include obeying the election law, avoiding profanity, and publishing age-restriction warnings on adult content, according to the CPJ.

Roscomnadzor maintains an extensive list of blogs and other sites that it says contain “incitements to illegal activity”, and requires Russian ISPs to block them.

Organizations including the CPJ expect the registration requirement to have a significant effect on freedom of expression in Russia, not through blocking but through self-censorship, as bloggers limit what they say to avoid the risk of administrative sanctions.


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More marketers are starting to believe in advertising their brands on social networks. Facebook is expected to get the vast majority of social network ad revenues. More specifically, next year the social networking giant is expected to see $5.78 billion in ad revenue, garnering 72 percent of all social network advertising revenues and 6.1 percent of worldwide online ad spending.

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In the US, Facebook will account for 7.9 percent of all online ad spending in 2012. Furthermore, Facebook is expected to pass Yahoo to become the top website in US display ad revenues this year.

This data comes from eMarketer’s latest report, titled “Worldwide Social Network Ad Revenues: A $10 Billion Market by 2013.” The report also notes worldwide social network ad revenues will surpass $8 billion in 2012 and approach $10 billion by 2013.

“As more companies build out their marketing presence in social networks, they are also increasing their focus on spending ad dollars there,” Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst and the report’s author, said in a statement. “Social networks have cemented their place in advertising, not just marketing. With $7 of every $10 in social network advertising flowing to the company, Facebook is taking not only a greater share than ever of social network ad spending, but also an increasing proportion of total online ad spending. Although its ad offerings and metrics aren’t perfect, marketers still feel they need to be there to reach their target audience.”

Adoption of new technologies such as tablets, social media and cloud computing is expected to transform the small and medium enterprise landscape within the next year, according to new research by CompTIA, the global IT trade association.


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The research offers insights into the business opportunities for IT service providers and the new challenges that IT departments will face as IT becomes a more critical part of running the business.

Forecasts of Increased Cloud Cover
The research shows that 18 percent of U.K. small and medium enterprises are now using cloud products, and a further 30 percent plan to introduce them during the next year. Almost all (93 percent) of those using them found the transition easy and 79 percent found results positive. Furthermore, 81 percent expect to increase their cloud usage during the next two years.

However small and medium enterprises still voice the usual concerns about security (50 percent), reliability of cloud provider (30 percent), Internet connections (27 percent), and lack understanding of the cloud model (26 percent).

This indicates significant opportunities for providers of cloud services. If cloud is to continue its successful growth, providers will need to work closely with IT departments to explain cloud services and provide ongoing support to ensure these concerns are addressed.

More Tablets, More Side Effects
Part of the move to the cloud will be driven by the uptake of tablets, which benefit from the remote access cloud provides. Thirty-seven percent of small and medium enterprises already have tablets and another 37 percent plan on purchasing them, meaning it will be a prevalent business tool within the year.

Most current usage is simply taking advantage of their convenience, with the majority planning to use tablets for work while traveling, presentations and note taking. However a significant proportion are looking at using them for specific business purposes, such as demonstrating a product (34 percent) or point-of-sale transactions (32 percent).

Only 5 percent of small and medium enterprises have purchased tablets to replace PCs or smartphones. It seems likely that a three-device system will become the norm in most enterprises in the near future.

“Tablets will open new challenges for IT staff, as employees use them outside work,” said Seth Robinson, CompTIA’s director, technology analysis, who conducted the research. “Tablets can get infections from home networks, which can spread to the corporate network. Support for tablets’ closed hardware system is different to that of PCs or laptops. These and other issues will need to be considered by the IT department in building a mobile device management policy.”

Social Media Helping to Communicate
At 26 percent, social media has the highest adoption rate among emerging technologies, with 61 percent of respondents saying they have seen a positive return on social media investment. Eighty-one percent of firms have a social strategy, which correlated with those who thought social media had proven beneficial.

The most common uses of social media are marketing-related, such as brand awareness and communicating with customers, while 22 percent are using social media to monitor information and better understand market dynamics.

While social media has had tangible benefits, 49 percent of companies not using it see no clear benefit, despite nearly half of those saying improved communication with customers would be beneficial. IT departments can help their companies understand the benefits by developing clear case studies of social media success.

Not-So-Green IT
Green IT had the lowest adoption rate, at 12 percent, despite relatively easy adoption, though a significantly higher number of companies plan on using it soon (26 percent).

“Technology trends change from year to year,” Robinson said. “Technologies that were on the fringe a year ago are now becoming an important part of business, whilst others which seemed about to take hold have shown a slower adoption.”

Facebook’s new Skype integration is another marker in its long-deepening relationship with Microsoft, as both companies seek to battle Google.

When Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in May, it kicked off a good deal of analyst chatter about how Redmond would choose to integrate the communications company’s assets into its product lineup.

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How exactly Skype will appear in products like Office 365 remains to be seen, but the acquisition could end up paying dividends for Microsoft in its competition against Google, by giving Facebook—in which Redmond owns a minority stake—another tool with which to battle for social-networking hearts and ad dollars.

Starting July 6, Facebook users can video-chat with one another using Skype. (The social network is also introducing a retooled people sidebar, supposedly to make initiating chats easier, as well as a way to initiate group instant messaging.)

“We are now making it possible to video chat with your friends right from within Facebook,” read a note on Skype’s corporate blog. “The partnership with Facebook makes fantastic business sense for Skype and gives us an unprecedented opportunity to offer Skype’s voice and video calling products to more than 750 million active users on Facebook.”

During a July 6 presentation at Facebook headquarters, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed his company had been working with Skype on the project for the past six months, before Tony Bates assumed the CEO slot or Microsoft announced the acquisition.

“This is going to be something that’s rolled out to everyone that you can integrate immediately,” he told the audience. “It’s so minimal and it’s so easy to use.”

More to the point, it offers Facebook a counter to Google’s own video-chat service, and perhaps even Apple’s FaceTime conferencing feature. Although Facebook and Apple aren’t direct competitors, the two companies apparently had a disagreement over allowing Apple’s Ping, a social-networking service centered on music, to import Facebook contacts. Facebook is also rumored to be prepping an HTML5 mobile-app platform that would conceivably challenge Apple’s App Store.

Last week, Google offered a limited number of people the ability to start a profile on Google+, its nascent social-networking service. The search-engine giant likely sees Facebook as its major competitor for online ad revenue, and CEO Larry Page has reportedly tied in employee bonuses to success in social networking. Whether or not Google+ becomes an existential threat to Facebook, it certainly raises the specter of increased competition—and boosts the pressure on Facebook to create new features that will hold its 750-million-member base.

Microsoft and Facebook have been deepening their relationship in recent months. When Microsoft decided to evolve its Bing search engine by “infusing the emotional into it,” in the words of Bing director Stefan Weitz, the company chose to do so by integrating Facebook features such as the “Like” button.

When users query Bing for specific people, for example, the search engine can offer Facebook information on the results page. If they’re traveling to a new city, such as Paris, Bing will tell them which Facebook friends live there. Bing will also notify users of airfare deals for places they’ve liked on Facebook, and let users post Bing Shopping pages on their Facebook wall (“Should I buy this?”).

In a March interview with eWEEK, Weitz suggested that the Web’s social layer has come to mimic the same sort of behaviors that people exhibit in the real world. Even before the addition of new social features, Facebook and Microsoft had already collaborated on Facebook Profile Search, which leveraged a user’s Facebook connections to deliver more relevant results for people searches; they could also post messages to their Facebook walls via Bing’s pages.

During his July 6 talk, Zuckerberg also painted a portrait of a Web increasingly focused on the social—specifically, the ability to share loads of content. “We’ve seen this trend since [Facebook] began,” he said. In terms of how much data people share with those in their social circles, “it’ll be about twice as much a year from now, and twice as much a year after that.” That will affect everything from app development to the tools that people use to interact.

Skype is evidently a vital part—at least for the moment—of that Facebook evolution, and Microsoft owns Skype. More than ever, Facebook and Microsoft find themselves bound together in a growing battle for the Web.

The IRS today said it crossed the 1 billion mark for individual tax returns processed via its e-file system.

The Internal Revenue Service’s electronic filing program started as a pilot project in 1986 and became available nationally in 1990. Prior to the April 18 deadline, IRS e-file passed another high point as more than 100 million individual tax returns were e-filed during the 2011 filing season, the agency stated.


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MORE NEWS: IRS: Top 10 things every taxpayer should know about identity theft

Congress set an 80% goal for the electronic filing of federal tax and information returns in 1998. E-file is now very close to that mark, the IRS said. Currently, more than 79% of taxpayers have used e-file to submit their tax returns so far this year. The IRS also says an e-file return costs 20 times less to process than a paper return.

In 2009, Congress passed another provision requiring tax preparers who file 10 or more tax returns to use e-file. IRS e-file has been steadily growing, but the new law, which the IRS is phasing in, brought a surge of e-filed returns for 2011. For this year, tax preparers who filed 100 or more returns were required to e-file. For 2012, tax preparers who file 11 or more returns will be required to e-file.

The IRS was in the news last week as a report from the Government Accountability Office said that the number of tax-related identity theft incidents is exploding and the IRS has seen reports of the crime rice from 51,702 in 2008 to 248,357 in 2010.

While the IRS has programs in place to fight the identity theft issue, it is also hamstrung in many other areas, the report said.

McAfee-Rovio Mobile
Let’s face it – fighting viruses on your own computer gets really old after a while. You perform an hour-long scan of your hard drive, you quarantine suspicious files, you scrutinize them and then delete them one-by-one. To rectify this, imagine what would happen if McAfee tried to spice things up a bit by overlaying Rovio’s uber-popular “Angry Birds” interface onto its antivirus software. In this setup, suspected viruses appear on your screen as green pigs that you then have the option of eradicating with a wide arsenal of antivirus birds. Now if only someone could figure out a way to integrate “Farmville” into hard drive reformatting…


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At this point, there’s pretty much nothing the United States government can do to stop WikiLeaks from acquiring and publishing vital state secrets. So in order to streamline the leaking process and to raise some cash to pay down the national debt, the government might consider licensing the domain name to WikiLeaks so the website can have easy access to U.S. intelligence databases.

Goldman Sachs-Google Wallet
Goldman Sachs, the oft-subpoenaed investment banking titan, has done a bang-up job making money for a wide range of esteemed clients including the Greek government and Col. Moammar Gadhafi. So with this in mind, why wouldn’t you want Goldman managing your digital wallet? Just think of the joys you’ll feel when you wake up to learn that all the money in your checking account has been invested in complex currency swaps and synthetic junk bonds! We’ve looked at a lot of bad merger ideas in this piece, but the only way to aptly describe this proposed merger is with the words of Goldman senior executive Tom Montag; in other words, this is “one [expletive] deal.”

With yesterday’s unveiling of the HP TouchPad tablet, at last the players sitting across from the iPad are pretty much set. Over the past several months, tablets from multiple manufacturers have been revealed, and all we’re waiting for now is for Apple’s sequel to its original tablet. Well, that, and for the other models to actually go on sale—so far the only real contender that you can buy is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, though that’s not much of a fair fight since its screen measures just 7 inches to the iPad’s 10, and it runs what’s technically a phone OS. But of the coming 10-inch tablets, do any of them actually have a fighting chance against the iPad, or rather, the next iPad, the one they’ll actually be competing against?


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They might. As I watched yesterday’s reveal of the TouchPad, I couldn’t help but think that the TouchPad was a just OK. It’s not lousy by any stretch, but as far as a killer feature to really make me want it… well, there wasn’t one. Like many tech observers, I find webOS to be an excellent operating system, but, as a fan of shiny new gadgets, I didn’t see much to make me want to buy HP’s gadget in lieu of a second-gen iPad, which will surely be on sale in a few months if not weeks. Sure the cameras are nice, but it would be insane to think Apple hasn’t got that covered in iPad 2.

However, as analyst Harry Wang at Parks Associates explained to me, such hardware comparisons may not matter. HP’s retail-channel distribution is excellent, he said, and if the company can get the TouchPad to follow its printers and PCs into megastores like Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart, then it’s all but guaranteed to sell in high numbers.

“This device has a good chance of selling good volume,” Wang says. “HP is a credible and trustworthy brand, but also you’ll find [the TouchPad] everywhere. The retail distribution strength of HP’s brand will definitely help sales. The hardware performance and pricing are certainly important, but we should not underestimate the ability of good distribution network.”

In yet another corner is Google Android, its Honeycomb tablet OS, and its headliner first product, the Motorola Xoom. Although the Xoom looks to be able to go toe-to-toe with iPad 2 feature-wise, the supposedly leaked price, $800, looks to handicap the device’s chances at luring iPad customers even before it goes on sale. However, if you look at the actual numbers, including carrier costs, the difference isn’t quite so stark, Wang says.
“The $800 price tag… is one way to validate Steve Jobs’ claim that competition will have a hard time to match Apple’s offerings on price,” he says. “But Verizon’s data plan (according to the BestBuy leaked weekly circular) is more generous than AT&T’s on a per megabyte basis ($20 for 1GB versus $15 for 250 MB at AT&T). So if looking at one-year total ownership cost, these two offerings are probably equal.”

Looking at the TouchPad, there are still two big unknowns that could make or break it, however, says Wang. One is battery life: the Xoom’s is rated at 10 hours, or about the same as the iPad’s, but HP was mum on this spec at yesterday’s event. The other factor is price. If the TouchPad ends up being more expensive than an iPad with similar specs, then it’s hard to imagine anyone but the most intense WebOS loyalists (or, conversely, Apple haters) picking one up.

“If the TouchPad can’t match those features,” Wang says. “It will probably be at significant disadvantage.”

Assuming a decent battery life and competitive price, though, the TouchPad just might have a shot. It definitely has its work cut out for it—the depth of webOS’s app store is extremely thin, and a summer release puts it months behind Apple’s probable refresh. But if it can get in the right stores, and at the right price, HP will sell a bunch of them, almost inevitably. It’s hard to think of a factor more important in sales than just getting your product in front of people, and that’s something HP already knows how to do.

So, according to many reports, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is beginning to lag in sales already, and it’s doubtful the company will sustain the thing if it continues to fall behind the leaders.

I haven’t even seen one of these phones, but people who have seen one tell me that it’s actually a very nice device. The problem it seems to have is that it’s the odd man out in a two man race. It’s number three, or maybe four, or maybe five.


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To fix this, Microsoft should bite the bullet and embrace Linux and should even take the Android OS, which is Open Source, and simply use it with various modifications.

Microsoft, like many other big commercial software companies, is scared to death of Open Source just because of the possibility that one of the many Open Source licenses will thrust everything the company does into the open source stew pot. They think that suddenly, because of some error in distribution or usage, Word, for example, could become Open Source. Microsoft is scared to death this will happen.

At least, that’s what I assume because there is no other rationale for the refusal to use Open Source to benefit the company. After all, Microsoft is notorious for lifting ideas and designs from other vendors and putting them in its products. The company loses lawsuits over this practice. But here we have a huge cache of wide open products and source code and Microsoft stays away like a bear confronted by a skunk.

You’d think Microsoft would have completely raided and exploited the Open Source scene by now, but no.

I’m actually shocked that more MSFT shareholders haven’t made a fuss about this. Why spend all that R&D and marketing money to develop and sell Phone 7 when people are buying Androids phones at an alarming rate.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer made this observation: “A month ago, Microsoft said 1.5 million Windows Phones had shipped in the first six weeks—from the Oct. 21 Europe-Asia launch until around Dec. 2. That means from then until the end of December, just about 500,000 more Windows Phones were shipped.”

And as Preston Gralla from Computerworld points out, this is shipped to stores, not people. Compare this to the 300,000 Android phones activated daily!

The fact is Microsoft is zigging when it should be zagging. It needs to open a new division that has nothing to do with the rest of the company, so Open Source code can’t come into contact with its commercial code. Here it can evolve an Open Source and Linux policy with products for sale and support services. The company needs to get back to an even footing with Google in the phone and, soon, the pad business. It may not catch up with Apple insofar as innovation is concerned, but it can’t afford to languish and constantly be humiliated by seemingly pointless and dead-end rollouts.

It will be a huge embarrassment for the company to pull the plug on Windows Phone 7, but that’s the direction this is headed. I’m sure there have been a lot of meetings about this with a lot of shouting and bogus excuses for yet another failure. Plus, all of this is right on the heels of a ridiculous flop called the Microsoft Kin phone.

Microsoft should swallow its pride and look at Linux and Android. That decision can’t be any more humiliating that what it has already been doing. In fact, it may be seen as a stroke of genius.

The first thing most people do after buying an Apple iPad is head to iTunes and start downloading apps. But with thousands to choose from, where do you start. That is easy. Start with these 10 apps. Six of them are free, so there is no commitment there. The other 4 are well worth the money, I promise. (If you’re looking for the overall best iPad apps, check out our feature story.)


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Dazzling design aside, the iPad owes its remarkable success chiefly to the vast and varied library of applications it runs. Competitors like the Galaxy Tab fall short because they don’t have an app library to match it. For the time being, HP’s Slate is relying Windows 7 massive number of apps, but that only matter to business users. For the average consumer, the AppStore is the only game in town.

I had just a couple of requirements for this list. The apps had to have wide appeal among average users. Sketch for the iPad is certainly a killer app, but if your artistic abilities are like mine–the word “limited” comes to mind–it is useless to you. Likewise, the Bloomberg iPad App is the best way to track your investments, but after a year with unemployment at 10%, precious few of us have those anymore. When I say these apps are essential for every man, woman and child, I mean it. And if you think you don’t need to download Angry Birds, you’ve never played it.

Of course, you are probably going to download and install a LOT more than this, so just consider these apps a great first start. Click on the image below to start the slideshow and get all 10 of my picks.

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