I just received a SANS Local Mentor Program Update, Volume 1, Issue 5, April, 2005 email. Section 2 of this message is "Further discussion on GIAC certification changes." In the email we read the following:
"The local mentor program has received numerous emails and calls about the new GIAC certification procedures which no longer require the writing of a practical paper...
[B]ased on your input on we have developed the GIAC Gold Standard which will be known as the premier benchmark in assuring that a certified individual holds the appropriate level of knowledge and skills necessary in key areas of information security.
GIAC Gold will distinguish itself from the existing 'GIAC Silver' certification by requiring candidates to complete a technical paper. After completing the exams necessary to pass the GIAC Silver certification, students will have the option to pursue the GIAC Gold Certification.
All GIAC certified professionals who previously completed a 'practical assignment' under the old GIAC regime will be transferred to the GIAC Gold program. GIAC sent out a press release on Friday, April 8, regarding these changes."
I found the press release, New Standard for GIAC Certification and Upgrades To SANS On-Line Training (.pdf). It repeats the same information just posted.
So, SANS has reinstated the requirement to complete a technical paper. Of course students will perform this assignment. Who would want to drop $3000-$4000+ and end up with a "Silver Certification?"