Cyber Security Interview Questions

Nowadays, with the increase in technology, we rely on the Internet to carry out our business activities. As a result, Cybersecurity risks have been increasing drastically. Cybercriminals have more scope to steal, hack and exploit data for wrongful use. So, Companies are actively trying to implement measures that can help protect their data that are essential for the company. This resulted in cybersecurity jobs, increasing the demand for Cybersecurity professionals. To grab this opportunity, you need to excel in your interview. So to help you in this aspect, our experts have come up with the frequently asked cybersecurity interview questions. So Let's get started with the basic level questions.

Basic level Cyber Security Interview Questions

1. What is Cybersecurity?

Ans: Cybersecurity is about protecting the software, hardware, and data from attackers. Cybersecurity focuses on protecting against cyber-attacks such as access, modification, or destruction of sensitive information.

2. What is Cryptography?

Ans: Cryptography is a technique that is used to protect information against third parties referred to as adversaries. Cryptography enables both the sender and the recipient of a message to read the details of the message.

3. Describe the terms Threat, Vulnerabilities, and Risks.

Ans: 

  • Threat: A threat is something that has the potential to cause harm to your organization.
  • Vulnerabilities: They are the weak areas of the system which will be able to be exploited by the cyber-criminal.
  • Risk: Risk refers to the damage that exploitation of vulnerabilities can cause to the organization.

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4. List some common types of cyberattacks a company may face?

Ans: The cyberattacks most likely to affect a company are:

  • Malware
  • Phishing
  • Data leaks
  • DDoS attacks
  • Ransomware
  • Brute-force attacks
5. What does the MITM attack mean?

Ans: MITM (Man-in-the-middle) is a kind of attack in which an attacker enters in between the communicating parties and steals the information.
We can prevent MITM attacks by following these methods:

  • Using VPN
  • Using strong WEP or WPA encryption
  • Using Intrusion Detection Systems
  • Forcing HTTPS
  • Using Public Key Pair Based Authentication
6. What is port scanning?

Ans: Port scanning is the technique that is used for identifying open ports and the service available on the host. Port scanning is used by Hackers to search for information that may be useful to exploit vulnerabilities. Port Scanning is also used by Administrators for checking network security policies. Commonly used port scanning techniques include:

  • UDP
  • Ping Scan
  • TCP Connect
  • TCP Half-Open
  • Stealth Scanning
7. What are Cybersecurity elements?

Ans: Main cyber security elements include:

Information security: Information security involves data protection like customer data, employee login data, and any other data that is essential to the business, like intellectual property data and software development codes.

Network Security: The aim is to protect your company's network like Wi-Fi and Internet from hackers. This is also known as perimeter security.

Application Security: Companies require a secure application for protection against cyber attacks.

End-user education: To have a strong cybersecurity measure in a company, it is essential to educate all employees on cybersecurity. They must be aware of different cyber security threats and the way they can address them.

Operational Security: It is used for the protection of the functions of the company and monitors vital information to detect gaps in the current methods. Business continuity planning is the analysis of the way operations could be affected by a cyber-attack and the way companies can overcome that kind of attack without a significant impact on the business operations.

Leadership commitment: Without proper leadership, the development, implementation, and maintenance of a cybersecurity program will become challenging.

8. What is the primary purpose of cyber security?

Ans: The main objective of cybersecurity is the protection of data. To protect data from cyberattacks, the security department provides a triangle of three related principles. This principle is called the CIA triad. Confidentiality, integrity, and availability are all elements of the CIA model. It is a security paradigm which guides people through numerous aspects of IT security. The purpose of the CIA model is to assist organizations in developing policies for the architecture of their information security. One or more of the security principles were violated when a security breach was identified.

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9. What is the CIA?

Ans: CIA refers to Confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

  • Confidentiality: Confidentiality is similar to privacy to the extent that it prohibits unauthorized access to the data. The goal is to ensure that data is available only to the authorized users to use it and to restrict access to other people. This prevents essential information from falling into the wrong hands. Encrypting data is an excellent example of privacy.
  • Integrity: This principle guarantees that the data is accurate, genuine, and free from the perpetrators of unwanted threats or unintentional changes by the user. If modifications are done, precautions must be taken to protect sensitive information from loss or corruption and to recover quickly. It also indicates that the source of information should be genuine.
  • Availability: This principle guarantees that information is always accessible and useful to the people who have access to it. It makes sure that system failures or cyberattacks do not interfere with such access.
10. What is Traceroute?

Ans: Traceroute is a tool which displays the path of the packets. It lists out all the points through which the package passes. This is especially useful when the package does not reach its destination. It is used to verify the point where the connection breaks or stops to determine the point of failure.

Intermediate level Cyber Security Interview Questions

11. What do you mean by Brute force attack? What can we do to prevent it?

Ans: Brute Force is a process to find good references by repeatedly trying all possible permutations and combinations of references. Generally, a Brute force attack will be automated when the software or tool automatically attempts to log in with a list of information. There are several ways you can stop Brute Force attacks. Some are as follows: 

  • Password Length: We need to specify a minimum length for the password. The longer the password, the more difficult it becomes to find.
  • Password: Adding different character formats to the password complicates brute force attacks. The use of alphanumeric passwords, as well as special characters and lowercase and uppercase characters, increases the complexity of the password, which complicates the task.
  • Limiting Login Attempts: Set a limit for the failed login attempts. For instance, the limit for failed login attempts can be set to 3. When there are consecutive login failures for three times, then limit the user to login for a while or send an OTP or email to be used to login next time. Since brute force is an automatic process, restricting attempts to connect will break the brute force process.
12. How can we reset the password-protected BIOS configuration?

Ans: There are different options for resetting the BIOS password. A few of them are listed below: 

  • Take away the CMOS battery.
  • With the help of the software.
  • With the help of a motherboard jumper.
  • With the help of MS-DOS.

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13. Distinguish IDS from IPS in the context of cybersecurity.

Ans: 

IDS refers to Intrusion Detection Systems. It analyzes and monitors network traffic looking for signals which attackers are trying to infiltrate or steal information from your network with the help of a known cyber threat. It detects various activities like malware, security policy violations, and port scanners comparing the existing network activity to a threat database known. 

IPS refers to the Intrusive Prevention System. It is located in between the internal network and the outside world within the same network zone as a firewall. When a packet represents the known security threat, the IPS will proactively ban network traffic according to a security profile.  

The main difference between IPS and IDS is that IPS is a control system while IDS is a monitoring system. IDS does not alter network packets, while IPS blocks packet delivery based on packet content, in the same way that a firewall blocks traffic based on the IP address.

14. How do Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing differ?

Ans: Vulnerability assessment is the process for detecting faults on the target. The organization knows that its system or network has defects or weaknesses and wants to identify those defects and prioritize them to correct them. 

The penetration test involves identifying vulnerabilities in the target. Here the organization will implement all possible security measures and would like to test whether there is some alternative way to hack their system or network.

15. How do HIDS and NIDS differ?

Ans: HIDS refers to Host ID, and NIDS refers to the Network ID. Both of them are intrusion detection systems and are used for the same purpose, that is, for the detection of intrusions. The main difference among them is that the HIDS is configured to a special host or device and monitors the traffic of a specific device, and will stop the system activities. At the same time, NIDS is established on a network and controls the traffic on all devices within the network.

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16. What is SSL?

Ans: SSL refers to Secure Sockets Layer. It is a security protocol which permits encrypted connections over the Internet. It is used for preserving the Confidentiality of data and protecting information within online transactions. The steps involved in creating an SSL connection are as follows:

  • A browser attempts to connect to the SSL-protected web server.
  • The browser transmits a copy of the SSL certificate into the browser.
  • The browser verifies whether the SSL certificate can be trusted or not.
  • If it is trusted, then the browser will send a message to the web server asking for the creation of an encrypted connection. 
  • The web server sends an acknowledgment of receipt to initiate an encrypted SSL connection.
  • The SSL encrypted communication happens between the web server and browser.
17. Which one is more reliable: HTTPS or SSL?

Ans: SSL is a secure technology which enables two or more parties to communicate in a secure manner on the Internet. To assure security, it operates on HTTP. It functions in the Presentation layer.

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HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a combination of HTTP and SSL, which utilizes encryption to build a more secure browsing experience. The functioning of HTTPS involves the four upper layers of the OSI model - the transportation layer, session layer, presentation layer, and application layer.

When it comes to security, SSL is more secure than HTTPS.

18. What does an SQL injection attack mean? How can we prevent it?

Ans: SQL injection attack is a type of cyberattack where a hacker will manipulate the data that is sent to the server to run malicious SQL code to monitor the database server of a web application, modifying, accessing, and deleting the unauthorized data. SQL injection attack is primarily used to take control of the database servers. We can avoid SQL injection attacks by using these methods:

  • Using prepared statements
  • Using Stored Procedures
  • Validating user input
19. Explain about the OSI model and what are the layers included in it?

Ans: OSI refers to Open Systems Interconnection. The OSI model demonstrates the way applications communicate on the network. It is important to understand and isolate the problem source and is commonly used for the purpose of troubleshooting. There are seven layers in the OSI model. They are:

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  • Physical layer: It transfers the raw data by the communication medium.
  • Data Link layer: Determines the format of the data and is responsible for encoding and decoding the data.
  • Network layer: The responsibility of the Network layer is to provide communication routes.
  • Transport layer: It is Responsible for the end-to-end communication across the network. It makes use of UDP and TCP transmission protocols.
  • Session layer: It is used for controlling sessions and ports.
  • Presentation Layer: In this layer, Data encryption is carried out, and it will make sure that the data will be in the usable format.
  • Application layer: Applications will have access to network services from this layer.
20. Explain the differences between symmetric and asymmetric encryption.

Ans: Symmetric encryption needs only one key for encryption and decryption. It is preferable to transfer huge amounts of data because it is quicker.
Asymmetric encryption needs a public key and a private key for data encryption and decryption.
It is used to transfer small data and is slower compared to symmetric encryption.

Cyber Security Interview Questions for Experienced

21. What is Salting?

Ans: Salting involves the addition of extra values to expand the password length and alter its hash value. It is responsible for protecting the password. It adds complexity to the password and prevents hackers from guessing simple passwords easily.

22. Differentiate stream cipher and block cipher.

Ans: Steam cipher is a method of encryption in which plain digits are combined with the pseudo-random stream to generate ciphertext one bit at a time. It is used for hardware implementation and is used within the Secure Sockets Layer.

A Block cipher is a method of encryption where a cryptographic key and algorithm are implemented to a block of data, like a group, in order to generate the ciphertext. It is used to encrypt files and databases.

23. Explain ARP.

Ans: ARP refers to the Address Resolution Protocol. It is a protocol used to map an IP address to a recognized physical machine address on the LAN. When the incoming packet sent to a host machine on a given local network reaches a gateway, the gateway instructs the ARP program to locate a MAC address or a physical host which matches the IP address. The ARP program searches the ARP cache and, if the address is found, gives it so that the packet will be converted to the appropriate format and length and sent to the machine. If no IP address input is found, ARP will release a special format request packet to every machine on the LAN to identify whether a machine knows it has that associated IP address.

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24. What is port blocking in LAN?

Ans: Limiting users' access to a set of services in the Local Area Network is known as port blocking. Halting the source so that the destination node cannot be accessed through the ports. Since the app runs on ports, ports are therefore blocked to limit access filling security gaps in the network infrastructure.

25. What can be done to prevent CSRF attacks?

Ans: The CSRF is known as Cross-site Request Forgery, in which an attacker deceives a victim to act in his or her name. The following steps can be taken to prevent CSRF attacks:

Use of the latest antivirus program to block malicious scripts.

When you authenticate on your bank site or carry out financial transactions on another website, don't navigate to other sites or don't open emails, which makes you run malicious scripts while authenticating to a financial site.

Do not save your login or password in your browsers for financial transactions.

Turn off the script in your browsers.

26. What is a botnet?

Ans: A botnet is also referred to as a robot network. It is a malicious program that infects computer networks and puts them under the control of only one attacker, referred to as bot herder. A bot is a single machine which is controlled by bot herders. The attacker acts like a central party that can command each bot to carry out coordinated and criminal actions. 

The botnet is a massive attack as a bot herder will be able to control millions of bots parallelly. Every botnet can be updated by the attacker to change how they behave quickly.

27. What are salted hashes?

Ans: If two users have the same password, it results in the same password hashes being created. In this situation, an attacker can easily decode the password by running a dictionary or a brute force attack. In order to prevent this, a salted hash is used.

It is used to Randomize hashes by adding a random string to the password prior to hashing. As a result, two different hashes are created, which may be used to protect users' passwords available in the database from the attacker.

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28. What is cognitive cybersecurity?

Ans: Cognitive cyber-security is a means of using human-like thinking mechanisms and turning them into artificial intelligence technologies to identify security threats. The aim is to transfer human knowledge to the cognitive system that can serve as a self-learning system. It enables us to identify threats, assess their impact, and implement reactive strategies.

29. Explain what cross-site Scripting is and how can we prevent it?

Ans: Cross-Site Scripting is also called a client-side injection attack. Its purpose is to run malicious scripts on the web browser of a victim by malicious code injection.
Cross-Site Scripting may not be possible using the following practices:

  • Encryption of special characters.
  • With the help of XSS HTML Filter
  • Validation of user inputs.
  • With the help of Anti-XSS services or tools
30. How is Diffie Hellman different from RSA?

Ans: 

  • Diffie Hellman: It is a key exchange protocol in which two parties share a common key that can be used for encrypting/decrypting messages among themselves.
  • RSA: It is asymmetric encryption in which there are two different keys. The public key will be shared with everyone and decrypted with a different one, which is kept private.
Conclusion:

All the above are the frequently asked cyber security Interview Questions. I hope these questions and answers will help you to clear your interview related to cyber security. If you could not find the answer to any question related to cyber security, feel free to comment in the comment section.

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Saritha Reddy
Saritha Reddy
Research Analyst
A technical lead content writer in HKR Trainings with an expertise in delivering content on the market demanding technologies like Networking, Storage & Virtualization,Cyber Security & SIEM Tools, Server Administration, Operating System & Administration, IAM Tools, Cloud Computing, etc. She does a great job in creating wonderful content for the users and always keeps updated with the latest trends in the market. To know more information connect her on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook.