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30+ Cybersecurity Interview Questions to Ace Your Next Interview in 2022

By 2022, there will be nearly 3 million unfilled cybersecurity positions, making it vital that you stand out from the crowd when you go to your next interview. In order to give yourself the best chance of impressing your future employer with your knowledge and expertise, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time by learning these 30+ cybersecurity interview questions. Practice answering them during mock interviews and get ready to impress during the real interview!

In order to prepare for Cyber Security Jobs, let’s break this blog up into three parts: Beginner Questions, Intermediate Questions, and Advanced Questions. We will start with an introduction to cybersecurity.

Introduction

In the past few years, there has been an exponential increase in cyber attacks. In 2017, for example, 2 billion data records were stolen from US companies alone. This is only going to get worse as more and more people use the internet every day and everything from credit cards to personal emails are increasingly at risk of being hacked. With this increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals and higher than ever stakes for success, it’s more important than ever that you ace your next interview.

10 Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers for Beginners (Entry Level)

Is this your first interview for a cybersecurity position? Then you should prepare and be prepared for the interview process. You can get in there by answering these 10 Beginner Questions (Entry Level).

Question 1: What do you mean by Cybersecurity?
Answer: Cybersecurity is the act of protecting networks, data, and devices from cyber criminals. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines cybersecurity as the collection and analysis of information about actual or potential attacks or intrusions on computer systems and networks.

Cybersecurity can be viewed as a combination of people, process, and technology used to protect valuable digital assets.

Question 2:What is the primary goal of Cybersecurity?
Answer: 
A primary goal of cybersecurity is to prevent unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of information. It also includes preventing the improper authorized access to information systems that could result in the physical harm of people.

Question 3:Define threat in cybersecurity.
Answer:
A threat is anything that could potentially damage your company’s information and data. Threats can range from sabotage to theft, or even a natural disaster. There are countless types of threats that companies face every day. It’s important for cybersecurity professionals to be aware of the most common ones and how they can protect their company from them.

Question 4:What is vulnerability in Cybersecurity?
Answer:
A vulnerability is a weakness that may be exposed by a system’s design, implementation, operation, or management. Some vulnerabilities are known and documented, while others are not. Vulnerabilities can also exist because of human error or other contingencies.

Question 5:What is Risk in Cybersecurity?
Answer:
Cybersecurity is a multifaceted field that requires you to be aware of the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities that come with the territory.

Risk = Likelihood of a threat * Vulnerability Impact

Cybersecurity

The most common types of risk are: privacy, denial-of-service, and information leakage.

Privacy is a risk when users’ private data may be exposed or used without their knowledge.
Denial-of-service is a risk when hackers cause systems or networks to crash by overloading them with fake traffic. Information leakage occurs when sensitive data is revealed unintentionally, such as passwords being posted publicly on social media sites.

All three of these can lead to disastrous consequences for those involved, so it’s important to do everything possible to minimize those risks before they occur!
Question 7:What is SSL?
Answer:
SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s an encryption protocol that helps keep data from being intercepted or altered during transmission. When a user visits a website that uses SSL, the server creates a temporary session key that encrypts the data before sending it back. The client (or browser) decrypts the session key with its own private key and can then read and display the information sent by the server.
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Question 8:What is XSS?
Answer: Cross-site scripting is a type of attack that occurs when an attacker injects malicious code, typically in the form of JavaScript, into a website. The malicious code is then executed by the victim’s browser whenever the browser loads the page. Most often, XSS attacks are used to steal cookies from a victim’s browser and send them back to the attacker’s server. These cookies could contain session identifiers or other sensitive information like user names and passwords.
Question 9:What does RDP stand for?
Answer:
Remote Desktop Protocol, also known as RDP, is the protocol for connecting remotely to a server running a graphical user interface. It was introduced with Windows NT 4.0 Server and Windows 2000 and has since been adopted by most other major operating systems, such as UNIX and Linux.
Remote desktop protocol is the protocol for connecting remotely to a server running a graphical user interface.
Question 10:What is a Firewall?
Answer:
A firewall is a form of defensive security that sits between an organization’s network and the internet, blocking unauthorized access. Firewalls are often categorized as either application-level or packet-filtering firewalls. Application-level firewalls provide protection for individual applications and control traffic based on the type of data being sent. Packet-filtering firewalls focus more on the type of data being sent, rather than what it is used for, which can make them easier to configure.

10 Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers for Intermediates (Mid-Range)

Our next topic will be mid-range interview questions and answers for intermediates with some experience in cybersecurity. Let’s get started without further ado!

Question 1:Explain Cryptography in Cybersecurity.
Answer: 
Cryptography is a set of techniques that are used to keep messages or other data secret, and can be used to protect information within a computer system. Encryption is the process of converting readable information into an unreadable format. Decryption is the reverse process; it converts unreadable information back into its original readable format. Cryptography is also used for authentication, digital signatures, and ensuring data integrity.

Question 2:What is traceroute in Cybersecurity?
Answer:
The traceroute utility is a tool that takes advantage of the TCP/IP protocol’s time-out mechanism. When an IP packet fails to reach its destination, it will time out after 30 seconds and return as an ICMP time exceeded message. The traceroute utility measures the round-trip times for packets sent from a specified source host to a destination host and broadcasts the results, enabling you to see which router isn’t working correctly or which link on the way is down.

Question 3: What is Cross-Site Scripting and how it can be prevented?
Answer:
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability that can occur when a website displays data it should not, such as content supplied by a user.

To prevent XSS, developers need to verify any input they receive and make sure it doesn’t come from an untrusted source. This requires developers to validate the data before displaying it on their site.
You could also use browser plugins like NoScript or Disconnect to block JavaScript execution in all third party pages.

Question 4: Name the elements of CyberSecurity.
Answer: 

  • Information security
  • Network security
  • Operational security
  • Application security
  • End-user education
  • Business continuity planning

Question 5:What is Cyber Crime? Name some common Cyber Crime.
Answer:
Cybercrime is any crime that is committed using a computer or any other electronic device. Common forms of cybercrime include hacking, phishing and malware.

You can protect yourself from these crimes by using strong passwords, installing antivirus software, not clicking on suspicious links and being cautious with your personal information.

Below are some common Cyber Crimes:

  • Identity Theft
  • Online Predators
  • Hacking of sensitive information from the Internet
  • BEC (“Business Email Compromise”)
  • Ransomware
  • Stealing intellectual property

Question 6:What is the difference between Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption in Cyber security?
Answer:

  1. The first difference is that symmetric encryption uses the same key for both encryption and decryption, whereas asymmetric encryption uses a different key for each of those functions.
  2. The second difference is that symmetric encryption is faster than asymmetric encryption, but it can only be used to encrypt data of a set size. Asymmetric encryption can be used on any size of data. In addition, as mentioned before, asymmetric encryption uses two keys instead of one which adds another layer of security.
  3. Finally, asymmetric encryption offers more flexibility since one key cannot decrypt the other’s encoded message; thus if one key gets compromised there is still protection for all messages using the other key.

Question 7:What are some examples of malware?
Answer:
Malware is a term that encompasses a variety of malicious software. This includes viruses, trojan horses, worms, and ransomware. Malware is typically found on computers and other devices connected to the internet. Some examples of malware include:

● Viruses: A virus spreads by attaching itself to another program or file on your computer. When you open the infected file or program, the virus is activated and can infect your computer with more viruses.
● Trojan Horses: These programs masquerade as something else so they can be opened without arousing suspicion. They spread just like viruses do but the difference is that once they are activated, they cause some sort of damage instead of spreading to other computers.
● Worms: These programs attack all networks at once and have an aggressive self-replicating ability which makes them difficult to stop.
Question 8:How can you protect yourself from malware?
Answer: 

Malware comes in many forms and can be hard to detect, but here are some ways you can protect yourself:
1. Install the latest security updates on your computer software, including browsers and other programs.
2. Use antivirus software with real-time malware protection such as Bitdefender Total Security or Kaspersky Internet Security.
3. Keep your operating system up-to-date with the latest service packs and security patches.
4. Scan your emails for malware using an email scanner like Outlook Scanner or ClamXav.
5. Avoid clicking on suspicious links within emails, even if they appear to come from someone you know well.
6. Never open attachments without verifying that they came from a trusted source first.
7. Never give personal information online unless it is over a secure connection like SSL (look for https at the beginning of a web address).
8. Be wary when installing free applications or downloading content.
9. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible, especially for social media accounts which have access to lots of sensitive data about you.
10. Always use anti-malware software such as Avast Antivirus Pro before downloading files from an unknown website.
Question 9:What is the CIA triad?
Answer:
The CIA triad is a set of three strategies used to reduce cyber risks. It is made up of the following: – Confidentiality: Ensuring that data cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals.
Integrity: Ensuring that data cannot be altered by anyone without authorization.
Availability: Ensuring that data is accessible when it’s needed and for those who need it.
Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers

In which order do you apply these cybersecurity principles?: You should always try to maintain confidentiality and availability first, then integrity. Finally, once you have ensured these two goals, if there are any resources left over, you can use them to improve your security measures. When assessing risk management, how would you rank one against the other? Which is more important?

Question 10:Define VPN.
Answer:
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a popular form of cybersecurity technology that allow people to connect to the internet using a virtual connection. VPNs are used by both individuals and businesses for a number of different purposes, with some of the most common uses including securing network communications and accessing geo-restricted content. Most VPNs work by establishing a secure connection between a device and an endpoint server, which is often located outside the end user’s country.

10 Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers for Experts (Senior-Level)

We will discuss some common questions and answers for Cybersecurity interviews in this section.

Question 1:What is the difference between IDS and IPS?
Answer: 
An IDS (Intrusion Detection System) monitors the network for anomalies, while an IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) protects the system by preventing attacks. In other words, an IDS is reactive and an IPS is proactive. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.
For example, an IDS has a better detection rate than an IPS but can’t prevent attacks like the IPS can. Conversely, the IPS can identify malicious traffic before it reaches its target but isn’t as accurate as an IDS. As such, many companies rely on a mix of both systems to cover any potential gaps in protection.
The key takeaway here is that you need both types of systems and then decide which one should be your primary focus depending on your company’s specific needs.

Question 2:What is the difference between hashing, encoding, and encrypting?
Answer:
Hashing, encoding, and encrypting are all methods for securing data.
Encoding is the process of converting raw data into a form that can be transmitted over a network or stored on disk. Encrypting is the process of transforming encoded data into a form that can be read only by those with access to the appropriate key.
Hashing is a one-way encryption method used for verifying input integrity, but not secrecy.

A message digest is generated from an input string (e.g., hello) using a hashing algorithm (e.g., MD5). If the same string is entered again, it should produce the same hash value as before. The two strings should also have identical hash values if they’re identical copies of each other (e.g., hello = hello). However, if one character changes in either string (e.g., hello = hellp), then their hashes will be different.

The primary advantage of hashing is its speed: Given any arbitrary input there’s no way to determine what hashed output was calculated because it’s such a simple operation. One disadvantage of hashing is that sensitive information may still leak out during the hashing process because some information about the original input may be revealed during this operation.
Question 3:Who are Black Hat, White Hat and Grey Hat Hackers?
Answer: 
Black Hat hackers are malicious hackers who may also be referred to as cybercriminals. They attack systems and networks with the intent of financial gain, espionage, or causing physical damage.
White Hat hackers are ethical hackers who use their skills to find and fix vulnerabilities in computer systems.
Grey Hat hackers typically have both good and bad intentions when they hack systems.
Some will not identify themselves as hackers, but instead work alongside system administrators and IT professionals. These types of hackers try to stay on the right side of law enforcement agencies by reporting on illegal activity from other malicious individuals without breaking laws themselves.
Question 4:How Would You Keep a Server and Network Secure?
Answer:
  • A strong firewall is the first line of defense against cyber security threats. If you have a weak firewall, hackers can easily access your data and steal it. This is why it’s important to make sure that your firewall software is up-to-date and configured properly.
  • You should also install antivirus software on all of your devices, including laptops and smartphones, as this will provide added protection for any data leaks or malware.
  • Another thing you need to do is create different passwords for each device so if one gets compromised, other devices are still secure.
  • And finally, you should turn off wireless connections when they’re not in use to avoid them being hacked.

Question 5:What is two-factor authentication and how it can be implemented for public websites?
Answer:
Two-factor authentication is a method of confirming the identity of a person through two means. One factor would be something they know, such as their password. The second factor is something they have, such as their mobile phone.

In this case, if someone tried to log into your account from an unknown location (a public computer or network), you would receive a text message with an access code that needs to be entered before you can log in and use your account. Even though this system seems simple, it has helped thwart many hacking attempts because it requires attackers to steal both parts of the security puzzle—something they know (your password) and something they have (your mobile device).

How does encryption work?: Encryption is a process used for securing data by converting readable information into unreadable form using cryptographic techniques. It helps in protecting confidential information like personal data, credit card numbers etc., from unauthorized persons.

Question 6:What is data leakage?
Answer:
Data leakage is a cybersecurity term that refers to the unauthorized transfer of data from one system, device, or network to another. The data could be anything from an email containing sensitive information, a confidential file on your laptop, or a customer’s credit card number.

  • It can happen through hacking, social engineering techniques like phishing and keylogging, or by simply losing your phone.
  • When you create passwords for your accounts, it is important to use complex passwords (letters, numbers) and change them regularly.
  • You should also never click links in emails from unfamiliar sources or open attachments from people you don’t know as this could lead to malware infections or credential theft.
What precautions should I take?: To avoid data leakage, it’s important not only to have strong passwords but also avoid clicking links in emails from unknown sources or opening attachments without scanning them first with antivirus software.
Question 7:What are the Types of data leakage?
Answer:

Leakage by accident: Data is accidentally sent from an authorized entity to an unauthorized entity.
Insider threats: An authorized entity intentionally sends data to a non-authorized entity.
Electronic communication: Hackers use hacking tools to gain access to electronic communication systems.

Question 8: Explain brute force attack and the ways to prevent it.
Answer: Brute force attacks are a type of hacking that involves systematically guessing passwords and other key data by testing every possible combination. This technique can be used for both breaking into networks and gaining access to individual user accounts.
To prevent brute force attacks from happening, a strong password should be created that is at least 8 characters long, with a mix of upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s also important to keep your password private; don’t write it down or store it on your computer.

Question 9: What Anomalies Do You Typically Look for When a System Becomes Compromised?
Answer: This is a difficult question. Interviewer want to know if they can think creatively and outside the box when there are no answers readily available.
A good answer might be When a system becomes compromised, I typically look for any evidence of user or administrator access that should not be present. If anything looks out of place, it would be worth looking more closely into. I also look for any changes in file permissions on system files or directories as well as evidence of changes in firewall rules, host-based intrusion prevention systems (HIPS), or other protections put in place by the system’s administrators.

Make sure to explain this point when answering these kinds of cyber security questions:
  • Define an anomaly.
  • Discuss why it’s important to catch anomalies in a compromised system.
  • Describe a time when you identified an anomaly. What did you do?

Question 10: How Would You Monitor and Log Cyber Security Events?
Answer: It’s important to show your Interviewer that you can keep track of security events when answering cyber security interview questions. Your detail-oriented nature can be demonstrated here, which is a great opportunity.

When answering this question, be sure to explain the following:

  • The tools and methods you use to monitor computer systems.
  • The process you use for logging events.
  • How logging cyber security events helps you understand them.

Final Thoughts:

The cybersecurity industry is booming and it’s not only for the people who have years of experience under their belt. The industry needs smart, young minds to keep up with the ever-changing threats. If you’re looking for a career change, this is a great place to start.

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