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Explore the top Cyber security interview questions and answers in 2023!
Before discovering the Cyber security interview questions and answers, let us briefly understand what is cyber security, how and where can you get Cyber Security Course, what is the scope of this course, and what are the job options after the cyber security course.
Cyber security is a part of the IT field that involves tools and techniques to protect computer OS, data, and networks from cyber attackers. Worldwide, data generation is increasing by the day. Every day there are around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created by us. With such huge data comes the great responsibility of protecting it. Hence cyber security is of utmost importance in the present era.
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Scope of cyber security courses
Cyber security courses train you with the necessary skills required to protect all the internet-connected systems from malicious attacks by spammers and cybercriminals. This knowledge is very useful in the fields of Antivirus software and Firewalls, Prevention of data loss, monitoring of network security, Intrusion Detection and Prevention systems (IDPs), etc.
There are many well-known academies like Henry Harvin Education which provide one of the best Cyber Security Courses online. The training opens up many career options such as Security Architect, Cybersecurity Engineer, Chief Information Security Officer, Malware analyst, Penetration tester, etc. Getting one such job means, along with having the necessary skills, you also have to crack the interview diligently. Preparing for the Cyber security interview questions and answers will equip you further towards your goal.
Take a look at the Cyber security interview questions and answers
Part A: Theory-based cyber security interview questions and answers
1. Which are the major elements of cybersecurity?
The major elements of cybersecurity are operational security, application security, network, and information security, End-user education, and Business continuity planning.
2. What is cryptography?
A technique to secure information and communication that are derived from algorithms to alter the messages in a way that is hard to decode is known as Cryptography. Cryptography allows only the targeted user to view the message. The third-party users also called adversaries cannot have access to the communication by the sender.
3. Define a Firewall and its uses
A network security device that is used to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic is called a firewall. It protects the system from malware or viruses by a filtering mechanism that works on the pre-defined set of rules.
4. What is data leakage? Explain it briefly
Data leakage means the unauthorized transmission of information from its origin to an undesired destination. This leakage can be intentional or accidental in nature. There are 3 types of leakages based on the nature of their cause namely, Accidental breach, Intentional breach, and System hack. The accidental breaches can be a result of human error while Intentional breaches and System hacks are deliberate attempts towards stealing data.
5. Mention the different layers of the OSI model
OSI model is a model of reference to understand how network communications happen. There are 7 layers of the OSI model namely, the Session layer, the Transport layer, the Application layer, the Presentation layer, the Network layer, the Data link layer, and the Physical layer.
6. What is a VPN?
This is among the most asked cyber security interview questions and answers. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It provides a secure private network achieved by encrypting the information which is accessible only by the intended end-user. VPN protects the user’s identity even while using a public Wi-Fi network.
7. What is Network sniffing?
A type of analysis of small data packets sent via any network in order to identify problems in network and application activity is known as packet sniffing. With this tool, it is possible to assess traffic slowdowns or security risk factors.
8. What is SSH? Briefly explain
SSH or Secure Socket Shell also known as Secure Shell is a protocol that allows 2 computers to communicate and share data in a secure pathway. The layer of network where SSH runs is the Application layer. It authenticates and encrypts all the connections. This tool needs access to the server and user’s computer to establish a connection.
9. Briefly explain Salting and its uses
Salt means random data. Salting is a process of adding random, unique characters to safeguard passwords. It is also helpful in protecting the system from cyber attackers who might be testing known words across the system.
10. What do vulnerabilities mean in network security?
Any weakness in software code that can be easily corrupted and accessed by cybercriminals is known as vulnerability. It is usually found in SaaS applications.
11. What is Data encryption?
A method in which the sender modifies the message into a code that cannot be easily deciphered by random users or attackers is known as data encryption. The information can only be accessed by the intended user.
12. What are the differences between stream cipher and block cipher?
A stream cipher works on small plaintext and needs fewer code whereas block works on large data blocks and requires more code. Stream cipher is used to implement hardware whereas block cipher is used to implement software. Key can only be used once in stream cipher whereas reuse of the key is possible in the block cipher.
13. Explain the CIA model
CIA is the acronym for Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability. This being a widely used model, is applied by many organizations to develop security policies. Confidentiality ensures that the data is accessible only by the right user. This means hackers or cybercriminals cannot get their hands on the sensitive data of an organization. Integrity tells you that the data is in the correct format. Availability ensures that the data is available to those who need access.
14. Explain Three-way handshake used in TCP/IP network
A method used in a network to form a connection of the host with the client is called a three-way handshake. Since there are 3 steps involved in the process, it is known as a three-way handshake. The steps are SYN which is synchronization, SYN-ACK which means synchronization acknowledgment data packet, and ACK which is an acknowledgment of the packet by the client.
15. What is the difference between black box testing and white box testing?
These two are testing techniques used by software testers. Main difference between the two is that the black box test doesn’t provide the tester with any knowledge about the internal structure or program code whereas the white box testing takes into consideration the internal structure.
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16. State the difference between IDS and IPS
The functions of IDS and IPS are similar with respect to the detection of security breaches. The significant difference is that IDS i.e., Intrusion Detection System only detects the threat while the administrator has to work on its prevention, whereas IPS i.e., Intrusion Prevention System not only detects the threat but also prevents it.
17. Briefly explain Traceroute
It is a tool used to trace the path of a data packet. This tool points to all the routers that the packet is passing through. While it is mainly used when the data packets don’t reach their destination, it is also helpful in identifying connection breaks or any type of failure.
18. What is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a technology that helps create encryptions between the web server and browser. It is an industry-standard technology to secure data.
19. Explain how an SSL connection is established?
First, a browser tries and connects to the server which is secured with SSL. Next, the server sends its SSL certificate which is checked by the browser, and then it allows to establish an encrypted connection.
20. State the differences between HIDS and NIDS
HIDS helps detect intrusions on a particular device whereas NIDS is used on an entire network. HIDS monitors traffic and detects threats of a particular device only while NIDS monitors all the traffic of a network.
21. What is SQL injection? Mention the ways to prevent it.
It is a code injection threat that corrupts a server database. In this type of attack, the hacker modifies the data which is being sent to the server in order to execute dangerous SQL statements which control a web application on a server.
This type of cyber attack can be prevented from happening by following a few steps such as using stored procedures and prepared statements and validating the user input.
22. What is a botnet?
A botnet is a group of network-connected devices which are corrupted by malware handled by a single attacker. The bots on these devices are used to send harmful scripts to hack a target.
23. What is data exfiltration?
Data exfiltration means the theft or transfer of unauthorized data from computers carried out by cyber attackers. Exfiltration can happen on data or personal/corporate credentials. For this type of cyber attack to occur it is required that the attacker has physical access to the systems.
24. What is Brute Force Attack? Mention the ways to prevent it.
It is a type of attack where the hacker uses a trial and error method to get all the probable combinations to obtain the credentials/PIN of a system. However, this type of attack can be manual as well as automated in nature. A brute force attack can be prevented by using a lengthy and complex password and setting a limit on the number of login attempts.
25. Explain Port Scanning.
A set of techniques such as stealth scanning, ping scan, TCP connect, etc which is used to check open ports on a host server is known as port scanning. This is used by hackers to look for loopholes to place harmful codes. Port scanning is used by administrators to check and verify any possible open ports that can pose a risk for attack.
26. Define black hat, white hat, and grey hat hackers.
Black hat hackers – These attackers have excellent hacking knowledge and can break into any system for personal financial gain. They are capable of crimes like stealing, deleting or corrupting important data.
White hat hackers – They are also called ‘ethical hackers’ as they use their knowledge for good use by protecting systems from hacking. They are specialists in penetration testing.
Grey hat hackers – These hackers fit in between black hat and white hat hackers. Therefore, they have good hacking knowledge and are inclined to do it without owners’ consent but don’t use it for personal gain or harmful intention.
27. What is penetration testing?
Penetration testing is a vulnerability testing technique that is done on the target to check whether there are any exploitable traits in the system. This type of testing is done by organizations to check whether they are vulnerable to hacking.
28. What is WAF?
WAF or Web Application Firewall is used to monitor, filter, and fix vulnerabilities at once. It protects web applications from usual malware and bots by monitoring outgoing and incoming web traffic.
29. What is meant by DNS monitoring?
Domain Name System monitoring or DNS monitoring is done to check the communication between websites, their users, and the services used. DNS is also applied to convert human-readable names into machine-readable IP addresses.
30. Name the risks linked with public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi is subject to various types of threats and risks. Some of the risks are Session Hijacking, Sniffing, Malware distribution, brute force attack, Man-in-the-middle attacks, etc.
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31. What is Remote Desktop Protocol?
RDP or Remote Desktop Protocol is a protocol that enables the usage of desktop computers remotely. Although developed by Microsoft, it is available for Windows operating systems and Mac operating systems.
32. What is an MITM attack?
MITM or Man-in-the-Middle attacks are the ones where the hacker steals confidential information/communication between two parties.
33. Define Hacking.
A technique in which digital systems and networks are broken in, to obtain unauthorized data is called hacking. Although usually illegal and unethical, there are exceptions when used for a good cause such as protecting systems from malicious attacks.
34. What is a buffer overflow attack?
It is the violation of programming languages and overwriting them on the bounds of their buffers.
35. Define MS baseline security analyzer.
Microsoft baseline security analyzer aids in the verification of patch compliance. It is most useful for small to medium businesses to determine their security state.
36. How do you secure a web server?
A web server can be secured by updating the server and the file ownership regularly and by disabling extra modules in the server.
37. Define IP and MAC addresses.
Internet Protocol address or IP address is a unique identity of a computer or devices on a network. Media Access Control address or MAC address is a unique identification of network interfaces for communicating at the physical layer of a network.
38. Name a few tools used for packet sniffing.
Some of the tools used for packet sniffing are NetworkMiner, Savvius Omnipeek, Dsniff, Wireshark, Colasoft Capsa, Kismet, etc.
39. What is a honeypot?
A mechanism of cybersecurity where the cybercriminal is lured away from the actual target and manipulated into attacking a false target that is manufactured by the organizations is called a honeypot.
40. What is spyware?
Malicious software that is installed in a system without the owner’s knowledge is known as spyware. It invades devices and damages the computer systems of an organization.
41. What is DDOS?
This topic is one of the frequently asked cyber security interview questions and answers. It is a malicious attack to disturb the traffic of a selected server or network by flooding it with overwhelming web traffic.
42. Explain ethical hacking.
Ethical hacking is a method of improving vulnerability detection in a system, network or application. It is an authorized attempt to obtain unauthorized access to a system or data. It involves imitating the actions and strategies of cybercriminals.
43. Explain the concept and methods of session hijacking.
This type of hijack exploits the web session control mechanism. One of the common methods of session hijacking is IP address spoofing. The other methods of session hijacking are blind attack, XSS attack, and packet sniffers.
44. What are hacking tools? Name a few.
Hacking tools are scripts or programs on computers that help find vulnerabilities across devices and systems. A few of the popularly used hacking tools are Nmap, Nikto, SQL ninja, Acunetix, etc.
45. What is Trojan virus?
Trojan virus is a malware that mimics legitimate programs and downloads itself onto a computer. These attackers use techniques based on social engineering to execute the virus on the target system.
Part B: Practical cyber security interview questions and answers
46. The mouse cursor on your screen starts moving and clicking on its own and you are not able to control it. State the measures to be taken in this scenario
This is a suspicious scenario where someone else seems to be in control of the computer remotely. The first step to be taken is to disconnect the system from the internet. There’s no need to shut off the system. However, the superior should be made aware of this issue immediately, and a report of the error should be sent to the ITS support center.
47. You will receive an email claiming the sender is from the helpdesk which insists you share your credentials in order to retrieve your account. The presentation of the contents in the email seems legitimate. As a user, what will you do?
This is a classic example of a phishing email where the attacker aims to steal money by coaxing you to reveal your personal details or credentials. While these emails can often appear legitimate, one should not fall prey to them. Make sure you do not respond to such emails or even calls. It should be common knowledge that legitimate organizations never ask for personal details over calls or emails.
48. From the given list of passwords, choose the ideal option that meets the password requirements.
Option 4 meets all the criteria for a password as per UCSC’s requirements as it has 8 characters, upper and lower case alphabets, symbols and numerals, etc.
49. You receive an email from your bank requesting you to send account details and CVV to fix an error with your account. What will you do?
One of the most commonly asked cyber security interview questions and answers. The mail clearly is evident with signs of fraud and is a typical example of phishing or spam and should not be responded to. The best advice is to ignore the email and report it as spam.
50. Your supervisor requests you to log in to the server with his credentials and retrieve some reports for him as he is very busy. What will you do in such a scenario?
The ideal recommendation, in this case, is to refuse the request politely as it is wrong on many levels. The company policy is against anyone sharing their credentials. One must remember that it is unethical to log in to others’ accounts. However, there are also chances that you will be answerable if there is some unauthorized data breach that you have not done.
These were some of the top cyber security interview questions and answers. All these will prepare you with enough knowledge required to crack the interview.
Advantages of cyber security course
Cyber security is a field with immense potential for growth. It is an evergreen industry with plenty of career options. This could be a career that serves a greater good as many people fall prey to phishing and spam these days. Such people who are victims can be helped by these experts. However, there is also a possibility of working as a secret agent! There’s a world of golden opportunities waiting for you with cyber security course.
Henry Harvin Education provides one of the best cyber security courses online. There is an entry-level course, cyber security fundamental course, and cyber security professional course. The advantages of signing up for this course are many.
Benefits of Henry Harvin Cyber security courses
- Live instructor-led training
- Flexible learning hours
- Experienced trainers
- Flexible payment options
- Internship opportunity
- 100% Placement assistance
- Hallmark certification
Explore the cyber security courses at Henry Harvin Education:
- Entry-level cyber security certification
- Cyber security fundamentals training course
- Certified cyber security professional course
- Information security and cyber law course
Cyber security interview questions and answers are of prime importance as the training alone will not suffice or provide you with the necessary tools to crack the interview. While learning the course and preparing for an interview are two different aspects, both are equally important in getting a job in cyber security. As mentioned earlier, it is an evergreen and evergrowing industry that will give you a multitude of career options and high earnings. Let these cyber security interview questions and answers be of assistance to all those who wish to pursue a career in this field. All the very best with the interview.
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One should have a vast set of specific technical skills in the topics of malware analysis, intrusion detection, programming, ability to think as a hacker, cloud security, etc. to build a career in cybersecurity.
You can opt for B.tech in cybersecurity followed by a master’s degree or go for online cyber security courses that are equally good and rewarding. Later, prepare for cracking the job interview by taking a glance at the cyber security interview questions and answers discussed in this blog.
Cyber security course trains you to acquire several technical skills that help you get a good profession in the field. This course is not very hard and can easily be picked up with enough practice.
It is a job with flexible timings while the work hours may total up to full time. Some organizations have cybersecurity analysts on call as the attacks might happen at any time of the day.
The daily tasks of a cybersecurity analyst depend on the organization that you are working for. It generally involves monitoring and checking for threats and researching new attack methods.