Introduction of Cyber Security Interview Questions

It’s often said, ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and a few minutes of a cyber incident to ruin it – Stephane Nappo.’ With each passing year and the increasing dependency of businesses on technology, it becomes imperative for organizations to hire Cyber Security Experts who can safeguard their operations from potential cyber-attacks. Consequently, Cyber Security training has gained immense popularity among students, as they recognize the opportunity to enter the thriving IT industry.

For those aspiring to become cyber security analysts, it’s essential to prepare for their journey by familiarizing themselves with key concepts and staying ready to answer some of the most commonly asked and crucial cyber security interview questions. These questions serve as a measure of a candidate’s proficiency in cyber security, their ability for critical thinking and problem-solving, as well as their familiarity with various security tools and techniques, which are vital skills one acquires during their Cyber Security boot camp.

By delving into these questions and effectively addressing them, candidates can position themselves for a successful career in the dynamic and essential field of cyber security.

Here are the top 20 Cyber Security Interview Questions

Can you explain what a firewall is and how it functions in network security?

The main objective of the firewall is to allow a non-threatening external network or traffic that will protect one’s computer from malicious viruses, worms, and malware. It can be hardware or software-based and is a fundamental component of network security.

 What is the difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption, and when would you use each?

AspectsSymmetric EncryptionAsymmetric Encryption
Key TypesSingle secret key for both encryption and decryption.Pair of mathematically related keys. Where the public key is for encryption, the private key is for decryption.
Key DistributionNeed to securely share and maintain the secret key.Public keys can be openly distributed and private keys must be kept secret.
Processing SpeedFaster processing due to simpler algorithms.Slower processing due to complex mathematical operations.
Bulk Data EncryptionEfficient for encrypting large volumes of data.Not ideal for encrypting large amounts of data due to computational intensity.
AuthenticationDoesn’t provide inherent sender authentication.Provides authentication through digital signatures.
Use CasesSymmetric encryption is commonly used to protect files and data stored on devices or servers. It is often used to encrypt data transmitted over secure connections, such as VPNs or SSL/TLS.Asymmetric encryption is used to establish secure communication channels by exchanging symmetric keys in a secure manner. It is used to create digital signatures that authenticate the sender and ensure data integrity.

How do you stay updated with the latest Cyber Security threats and trends?

There are many security tools and software available that can help you protect yourself from cyberattacks. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Anti-virus software
  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection systems (IDS)
  • Intrusion prevention systems (IPS)
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions

Enroll in cyber security training courses, certifications, and workshops to learn about the latest threats and defensive strategies. Engage news sites, and blogs, and attend conferences to track evolving threats and trends in cyber security.

Could you walk us through the steps you would take to respond to a data breach incident?

The very first thing you should do is-

  • Activate Response Team: Immediately assemble a cross-functional response team including IT, legal, PR, and management representatives.
  • Contain the Breach: Identify and isolate affected systems to prevent further compromise. Change passwords and restrict access to critical resources.
  • Assess Impact: Determine the extent of the breach: what data was accessed, stolen, or compromised, and the potential consequences.
  • Notify Relevant Parties: Comply with legal obligations by notifying affected individuals, regulatory authorities, and law enforcement if necessary.
  • Preserve Evidence: Document all actions taken, log files, and relevant data. This helps in understanding the breach and potential legal proceedings.
  • Mitigate Damage: Apply patches, and updates, and implement security measures to prevent similar breaches in the future.
  • Communication Strategy: Develop a clear and honest communication plan for affected parties, media, and stakeholders, maintaining transparency.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Collaborate with legal counsel to ensure compliance with data breach reporting laws and regulations.
  • Public Relations Management: Address public concerns promptly and honestly, minimizing reputational damage.
  • Forensic Investigation: Conduct a detailed investigation to identify the attack’s source, method, and vulnerabilities exploited.
  • Recovery and Remediation: Restore affected systems, verify their integrity, and implement additional security measures.

Continuous Improvement: After resolving the breach, conduct a post-incident review to identify lessons learned and enhance future prevention and response.

What is the CIA triad, and why is it important in cyber security?

In the ever-evolving world of cyber security, understanding the CIA triad is crucial for cyber security analysts. The CIA triad stands for Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability – three fundamental principles that form the foundation of information security. 

Confidentiality ensures that sensitive data remains protected from unauthorized access. It involves measures such as encryption and access controls to safeguard information from being disclosed to unauthorized individuals.

Integrity focuses on maintaining the accuracy and consistency of data throughout its lifecycle. It ensures that information is not tampered with or altered in any unauthorized manner. Techniques like checksums and digital signatures are employed to detect any modifications to data.

Availability refers to ensuring that systems and resources are accessible when needed. This involves implementing redundancy measures, backups, and disaster recovery plans to mitigate potential disruptions or downtime.

Describe the concept of zero-day vulnerabilities. How can organizations protect themselves from such vulnerabilities?

A zero-day vulnerability is a software vulnerability that is unknown to the software vendor and for which no patch has been released. This means that attackers can exploit the vulnerability without any security measures in place to prevent them from doing so.

There are several ways that organizations can protect themselves from zero-day vulnerabilities-

  • Regular Updates: Apply software updates promptly to patch known vulnerabilities.
  • Security Testing: Employ ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities before malicious actors do.
  • Intrusion Detection: Implement advanced intrusion detection systems to spot unusual activities.
  • Network Segmentation: Separate critical systems to limit the impact of breaches.
  • User Training: Educate users about safe online practices to reduce risk.
  • Threat Intelligence: Stay updated on emerging threats through threat intelligence services.
  • Application Whitelisting: Allow only approved applications to run, limiting attack vectors.
  • Behavioral Analytics: Monitor user behaviour to detect unusual patterns.
  • Vendor Relationships: Choose vendors with robust security practices.
  • Incident Response Plan: Develop a comprehensive plan to swiftly address breaches.

Can you differentiate between penetration testing and vulnerability scanning?

AspectPenetration TestingVulnerability Scanning
NatureSimulates real-world attacks to identify exploitable vulnerabilities.An automated process that identifies known vulnerabilities.
ApproachInvolves skilled testers mimicking attackers’ techniques.Uses automated tools to scan systems, networks, or applications.
Depth of AnalysisProvides deep-dive analysis by attempting to breach systems.Offers a broad overview of existing vulnerabilities.
PurposeIdentifies potential vulnerabilities and assesses real-world impact.Identifies known weaknesses for risk assessment.
Attack SimulationConducts controlled attacks to understand security posture.Does not perform actual attacks and identifies weaknesses based on pre-defined signatures.
Manual vs. AutomatedIncludes manual testing and analysis.Primarily automated, with limited manual intervention.
AdvantagesMore comprehensive and in-depth assessment can identify zero-day vulnerabilitiesLess expensive and faster to complete, can be automated
DisadvantagesMore expensive and time consuming, can be disruptiveCan miss vulnerabilities, not as comprehensive as penetration testing

 How do you secure wireless networks to prevent unauthorized access?

There are a number of things you can do to secure your wireless network to prevent unauthorized access. Here are some of the most important:

  • Strong Passwords: Use complex passwords for router administration and change them regularly.
  • Hide your SSID: The SSID is the name of your wireless network. Hiding your SSID makes it more difficult for attackers to find your network.
  • Use a firewall: A firewall can help to protect your network from unauthorized access. Firewalls can block malicious traffic from entering your network.
  • Strong Encryption: Use WPA3 or WPA2 with strong, unique passwords to encrypt network traffic and prevent eavesdropping.
  • Two-Factor Authentication: If supported, enable two-factor authentication for router access.
  • Disable Remote Management: Turn off remote management to prevent unauthorized configuration changes.
  • Physical Security: Place routers in secure locations to prevent physical tampering.
  • Intrusion Detection System (IDS): Implement IDS to detect suspicious activities and unauthorized devices.
  • Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS): Use WIPS to monitor and mitigate wireless threats.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep an eye on network activity for any unusual patterns.

Explain the term “phishing” and provide strategies to educate employees about it.

Imagine ‘phishing’ as a digital fishing trick used by bad actors to catch your personal information, like passwords or credit card details. They pretend to be trustworthy, like a friend or a company you know, and trick you into giving them your info. 

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that involves sending fraudulent emails or text messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or credit card company.

Here are some strategies to educate employees about phishing:

  • Email Awareness: Teach them to be cautious of unexpected emails, especially asking for sensitive info or urgent action.
  • Check Links: Tell them to hover over links before clicking to see where it really goes.
  • Verify Requests: Advise them to double-check with a known contact if they get a strange request.
  • Attachments: Caution against opening email attachments unless they’re sure of the sender.
  • Phishing Simulations: Run fake phishing tests to show them real examples and educate them gently.
  • Strong Passwords: Remind them to use strong, unique passwords and avoid sharing them.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Encourage using extra security layers, like codes sent to phones.
  • Regular Training: Hold short sessions on phishing and cyber security training to keep them informed.
  • Reporting: Make sure they know how to report suspicious emails or incidents.
  • Keep Calm: Stress that it’s okay to doubt and verify things before taking action.

What are the common types of malware, and how would you mitigate their impact on an organisation’s systems?

Think of ‘malware’ as digital troublemakers that sneak into your computer to cause havoc. Malware is software that is designed to harm a computer system or network.

 There are different types:

  • Viruses: These are like contagious files that spread when you open infected programs or files. Keep your antivirus updated to catch them.
  • Trojans: Imagine them as digital spies hiding in useful-looking software. Be cautious when downloading stuff from the internet.
  • Ransomware: This is like a digital kidnapper that locks your files until you pay a ransom. Regularly back up your files to escape their trap.
  • Worms: They’re like online bugs that spread through networks. Keep your system updated to block their entry.
  • Spyware: These are digital snoops that watch what you do online. Install anti-spyware tools to kick them out.

To fight back against malware:

  • Antivirus Software: Install good antivirus software to catch and remove different types of malware.
  • Firewalls: Set up firewalls to block unauthorized access to your network.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your operating system, software, and antivirus up to date for better protection.
  • Email Caution: Be careful with email attachments or links, as they can carry malware.
  • Safe Browsing: Stick to trusted websites and avoid downloading from sketchy sources.
  • User Training: Educate your team about malware risks and safe practices.
  • Backups: Regularly back up important data so you can recover if malware strikes.
  • Access Control: Limit user permissions to only what they need, reducing the risk of spreading malware.
  • Patch Management: Stay on top of software patches and updates to fix vulnerabilities.
  • Incident Response Plan: Have a plan ready to respond quickly if malware hits.

What is a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, and how can it be mitigated?

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to overwhelm a target website, service, or network by flooding it with an excessive amount of traffic. This surge in traffic, often generated from a network of compromised devices called a botnet, exhausts the target’s resources, rendering it inaccessible to legitimate users.

There are two main types of DDoS attacks:

  • Volumetric attacks: These attacks flood the target with a large amount of traffic, such as HTTP requests or UDP packets.
  • Protocol attacks: These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in network protocols, such as SYN floods or ICMP floods.

DDoS attacks can be mitigated by a number of methods, including:

  • Filtering traffic: This involves blocking traffic from known botnets or from IP addresses that are sending an excessive amount of traffic.
  • Using a cloud-based WAF: A web application firewall (WAF) can help to protect against DDoS attacks by filtering out malicious traffic.
  • Using a DDoS mitigation service: A DDoS mitigation service can help to absorb the impact of a DDoS attack by routing traffic through a network of servers.

How do you ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA when handling sensitive data?

A comprehensive approach is necessary:

  • Data Mapping and Classification: Classify data into categories based on sensitivity and purpose. This helps in understanding what data falls under regulatory jurisdiction.
  • Privacy Impact Assessment: Conduct regular assessments to identify potential risks to data privacy and security.
  • Conducting regular audits: It is important to conduct regular audits to ensure that your organization is in compliance with the regulations. This includes audits of your security controls, your employee training program, and your incident response procedures.
  • Data Minimization: Only collect and retain the minimum amount of data necessary for the intended purpose. This reduces the potential impact of a data breach.
  • Conducting regular audits: It is important to conduct regular audits to ensure that your organization is in compliance with the regulations. This includes audits of your security controls, your employee training program, and your incident response procedures.

Describe the concept of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and its significance in enhancing security.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security process in which a user is granted access to a system or resource only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. 

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security process in which a user is granted access to a system or resource only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. 
  • Phishing Resistance: Even if a user falls for a phishing scam and provides their password, MFA prevents unauthorized access. Attackers won’t have the second factor needed for entry.
  • Reduced Credential Sharing: MFA discourages users from sharing passwords since access also requires possession of a specific device or biometric trait, minimizing the likelihood of credentials being passed around.
  • Remote Access Security: Especially relevant in today’s remote work environments, MFA adds a layer of security when accessing sensitive systems from various locations and devices.
  • Compliance Requirements: Many regulatory frameworks and industries require MFA implementation to ensure a higher level of data protection. Non-compliance can result in penalties and reputational damage.
  • Balanced User Experience: While security is paramount, user experience matters too. MFA solutions often provide options like push notifications, time-based codes, or biometrics, maintaining a balance between security and convenience.
  • Account Recovery: In scenarios where a user forgets their password or gets locked out, MFA can serve as a reliable method for account recovery.
  • Protecting High-Value Targets: For critical systems, privileged accounts, or valuable data, MFA acts as a crucial safeguard against unauthorized access.
  • Evolving Threat Landscape: As cyber threats become more sophisticated, MFA remains an effective defence strategy against new attack vectors.

What is the principle of least privilege, and how does it contribute to security?

The principle of least privilege (PoLP) is a security concept that states that users should only be granted the permissions they need to perform their job functions. This means that users should not be granted more permissions than they need, as this could increase the risk of a security breach. The principle of least privilege contributes to security by reducing the attack surface. The attack surface is the amount of exposed area that an attacker could exploit. By limiting the permissions of users, the attack surface is reduced, making it more difficult for attackers to gain access to sensitive data or systems. Think of access rights as keys to different rooms in a building. The principle of least privilege ensures that each person gets access only to the rooms they require for their responsibilities, nothing more.

Here’s why PoLP is vital for security:

  • Minimized Attack Surface
  • Containment of Breaches
  • Mitigated Insider Threats
  • Prevention of Lateral Movement
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Reduced Impact of Human Error
  • Improved Auditing and Monitoring
  • Adaptation to Changing Roles

Can you provide an example of social engineering, and what measures can be taken to prevent it?

Attackers taking advantage of human flaws in businesses to overcome security measures is known as Social Engineering attacks. Attackers are taking advantage of human error to overcome security measures. Here is how one can counter it.

  • Setting up Multi multi-factor authentication
  • Continuous monitoring of critical system
  • Use next-gen web application cloud-based firewall
  • Verifying email sender’s identity
  • Identifying your critical assets which will attract criminals
  • Check for an SSL Certificate
  • Enable Spam filter

How do you approach the task of securing IoT (Internet of Things) devices within an organization?

IoT (Internet of Things) has become a very important aspect of any business nowadays but maintaining the security of your systems and computers is also a top-notch priority. Here is how you can secure your devices within an organization.

  • Set a monitoring system
  • Guard your assets
  • Encrypt your connection
  • Actively guard your IoT devices
  • Use multi-factor authentication
  • Adopt secure password practices
  • Continuously update and patch your software

Explain the process of risk assessment and its role in developing a strong cyber security strategy.

Risk assessment is a process to assess and mitigate the risk an organization will face through malware or virus attacks. Usually, every company will have risk estimation and evaluation performed to mitigate such attacks.
Here are the roles of developing a strong cyber security analyst strategy

  1. Identify security vulnerability
  2. Review security control
  3. Meeting industry compliance and regulations

What are security patches, and why are they important for maintaining a secure environment?

The primary motive behind the security patchwork is to prevent any hacker or malware from exploiting your network. Security patches are often called software or OS (operating System) updates that quite literally patch a hole in your computer to prevent the attacks.

How would you handle a situation where an employee violates security protocols unintentionally?

This is a tricky part but there are certain standard operation procedures that you can follow if you are in a situation where your employee has unintentionally violated the security protocol.

A) Communicate the policy to the employees.
B) Spell out the consequences of breaching this policy to create fear among them.
C) Understand why it has happened.
D) Fit punishment for it.
E) Work with HR.
F) Update the policies.
G) Escalate the matter to the Security team.

Can you discuss the concept of encryption at rest and in transit, and why it’s crucial for data security?

Encryption at rest refers to the encryption applied to the stored data, while encryption in transit refers to the encrypting data that is transferred between two nodes of the network. Basically, encryption is done to protect the unauthorized use of the data and to protect the data from hackers who might not be able to access the data with the encryption key.


As the demand for Cyber Security training and certification is rising one must make sure to excel in their Cyber Security analyst interview. By mastering these top 20 Cyber security interview questions you can surely crack the code and get a job in the IT industry. One must also remember that with technical skills the companies are also looking for soft skills like effective communication, dedication and trustworthy employees, so your soft skills might come to the rescue and you might be considered as the perfect candidate for the job. The questions and answers are sourced directly from industry experts who have years of experience in Cyber security industry.
We hope you ace your interview and get your dream job. Good luck!