1. How would you briefly define cyber security?
  2. How does a business benefit from cyber security?
  3. What are the differences between a vulnerability, a risk, and a threat?
  4. Who are black hat and white hat hackers?
  5. What is a cipher?
  6. What does one mean by the CIA in cyber security?
  7. What is a firewall and how do you install it?
  8. What do you understand by penetration testing?)
  9. How do you secure a server?
  10. How do you identify a compromised or at-risk system?
  11. Can you elaborate on SSL and its relation to HTTPS and TLS?
  12. What are DDoS attacks?
  13. What do you understand by phishing?
  14. How does the ransomware function?
  15. How does a 'Man In The Middle' attack happen?
  16. What is the difference between IPS and IDS?
  17. What is Diffie-Hellman and what sort of attack is it most vulnerable to?
  18. What is cross-site scripting?
  19. What is a three-way handshake?
  20. What are some common techniques for port scanning?
  21. In what ways can cyber crime be committed against individuals?
  22. Would you say proprietary projects are more secure than open-source ones?
  23. How would you assess the competence of a security team?
  24. What is the most important technology right now in your opinion?
  25. Who is your role model in the field of cyber security?
  26. Do you have any cyber security certifications to your credit?
  27. Tips to get a job in top cyber security companies

Ready to become a cyber security professional but yet to prepare for the interview?

Read this blog as we discuss,

  • 26 cyber security interview questions and answers
  • Tips to get a job in top cyber security companies

How would you briefly define cyber security?

Cyber security refers to protecting data, information, software, and hardware from malicious hackers or attackers.

Cyber attacks put sensitive or confidential information at risk, and cyber security prevents that from happening.

How does a business benefit from cyber security?

Businesses store and use vast amounts of data, which needs to be protected. Most of their operations are conducted or managed via computer networks and IT tools.

Cyber security protects this data and its users from threats like unauthorized users, malware, ransomware, phishing, social engineering, etc.

Cyber security also helps in recovering data after breaches.

Without cyber security, business is constantly at risk of facing cyber attacks which can slow down or completely disarm a business.

What are the differences between a vulnerability, a risk, and a threat?

Vulnerability can mean any gaps or weak points in the protection of a system, which can be exploited by a hacker.

Risk refers to the possible loss or damage if the vulnerability is exposed or exploited.

A threat is anything that has the capability of exploiting or damaging an unsecured system or network.

Who are black hat and white hat hackers?

Black hat hackers are the malicious hackers who break into secure networks to access, steal, modify or destroy data.

They are skilled in breaching network security for the wrong reasons.

On the other hand, white hat hackers are specialists in penetration testing. They usually work to protect information and network systems for an organization.

What is a cipher?

A cipher is used in the context of cryptography. It is an algorithm that is used to encrypt or decrypt data so that only the sender and receiver can read it.

Ciphers are commonly used to protect private or sensitive data like messages, credit card information, corporate or government data, etc.

What does one mean by the CIA in cyber security?

CIA stands for Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. It is a model for security professionals to guide Information Security policies in businesses and other organizations.

Confidentiality means information should have strong encryption so that it cannot be accessed or read by unauthorized people.

Integrity is important to ensure that the data is not modified or corrupted by any such unauthorized people.

Availability of this information to the user should be consistent through measures like data backups, recovery, good hardware, etc.

What is a firewall and how do you install it?

You may answer this as elaborately as you want to. The question tests basics and how clearly and systematically you solve a problem.

You can also mention any firewalls you have built or setup successfully in previous jobs.

A firewall is a security system to protect computers and information from unauthorized access, viruses, malware, etc.

They are set on the boundaries of a system where network traffic is monitored or controlled, to check and decide which traffic needs to be allowed or blocked.

The steps to set up a firewall are:

  • Establish a new username and password for the device.
  • Port enabling.
  • Disabling remote administration.
  • Installation of a firewall with existing DHCP servers.
  • Testing the configuration.

What do you understand by penetration testing?

Penetration or pen testing is a way to check the strengths and weaknesses of a security system.

Manual penetration testing is like ethical hacking, where the tester uses the latest hacking methods to examine an organization’s security setup.

It helps in gauging the setup’s strengths as well as exposing any vulnerabilities.

How do you secure a server?

It is a frequently asked cyber security interview question. The answer requires critical thinking and articulating clear and specific steps for the procedure.

Frame your answer keeping in mind what is asked, the type of server the organization uses, the number of methods you are familiar with and any practical experience you have in securing a server.

Besides concrete step-by-step procedures, you may also explain relevant concepts or philosophies in cyber security like Zero Trust or Trust No One.

How do you identify a compromised or at-risk system?

This answer can be supported by multiple identifying factors. You need to demonstrate your quick-thinking skills.

Even if you lack expertise, you should be able to draw from your knowledge and answer this.

Read about common anomalies that signify a compromised system. You may turn to your textbook or use online resources to revise.

Can you elaborate on SSL and its relation to HTTPS and TLS?

Explain the differences and functions of SSL/TLS and HTTPS in as much detail as you can. Revise your basics about the three terms with this concise and fun comic on HTTPS.

Yes, SSL(Secure Socket Layer) is a standard security tool for making encrypted links between servers and clients (usually web browsers) to protect computer networks.

SSL is the foundation for its successor, TLS, which is Transport Layer Security.

HTTPS stands for hypertext transfer protocol secure, which appears on networks or websites when they are combined with and secured by SSL.

What are DDoS attacks?

DDoS is an abbreviation for Distributed Denial of Service. It makes servers unavailable when they are occupied and cannot be handled.

A DDoS attack attempts to disrupt normal traffic of the target server or network by overloading it with Internet traffic.

DDoS attacks can be further classified into flooding attacks and crash attacks.

What do you understand by phishing?

Phishing is a type of attack which is often used to steal private data and credentials.

It uses fraudulent emails or messages which lead unsuspecting people to click on malicious URLs and fake websites in disguise.

Phishing can have dangerous results like malware being installed on a system, ransomware attacks, stealing money, exposing sensitive information, identity theft, etc.

How does the ransomware function?

Ransomware is used to launch malicious attacks on systems, hold them “hostage” and extort money and/or information.

It encrypts the target system’s data, making it inaccessible or corrupt.

Attackers can then demand a ransom amount from the victim in exchange for the decryption key for the unreadable data and restoring access.

How does a 'Man In The Middle' attack happen?

'Man In The Middle' (MITM) attack is used to hack into systems mainly through interception and decryption.

Attackers may make and use dummy networks and employ techniques like IP/ARP spoofing, DNS spoofing, HTTPS spoofing, SSL hijacking, etc. to redirect the target data through the attacker’s server or let the attacker access it

What is the difference between IPS and IDS?

IPS stands for Intrusion Prevention System and IDS for Intrusion Detection System.

IDS detects an intrusion and lets the system administrator decide how to assess the threat, IPS goes further to prevent the system from intrusion.

What is Diffie-Hellman and what sort of attack is it most vulnerable to?

Diffie-Hellman is a key exchange protocol used to exchange cryptography keys in symmetric encryption algorithms.

It is a public-key protocol, that exchanges the keys over a public channel.

It is most vulnerable to a Man In The Middle attack since neither side of the exchange is authenticated.

What is cross-site scripting?

Cross-site scripting or XSS is a vulnerability in web or network security. It lets malicious scripts be inserted or injected into websites.

Cross-site scripting attacks allow unverified sources to inject code into otherwise trusted web applications.

What is a three-way handshake?

A three-way handshake is used in a TCP or IP network to connect a host and a client.

It is called so because the method involves three steps through which the client and the server exchange packets.

First, the client sends an SYN or Synchronise packet to check if the server is up, then the server sends an SYN-ACK (or Acknowledgement) packet back to check if the client has open ports. Next, the client sends an ACK packet back to the server.

What are some common techniques for port scanning?

Port scanning is a technique to identify open ports available on a host. System administrators use port scanning to check a network’s security policies through techniques like Ping Scan, TCP Half-Open, TCP Connect, UDP and stealth scanning.

In what ways can cyber crime be committed against individuals?

Interviewers ask this question to assess your knowledge of potential threats and the criticality of cyber security.

Discuss famous cases related to various crimes as example and elaborate with possible solutions if you can.

It will support your answer and demonstrate your knowledge of real-world problems and threats.

Cyber crimes are committed in many ways through various channels. Some common ways of targeting individuals with cybercrime are

  • Transmission of computer viruses to infect systems Cybersquatting
  • Making false claims for any service used by another person
  • Cyber vandalism
  • Intellectual property crimes.

Would you say proprietary projects are more secure than open-source ones?

The quality of a project cannot be simply determined by whether it is open-source or proprietary.

Your answer should emphasize the pros and cons of both, using relevant examples.

Talking points can include the scale of the project, the people working on it and how well they keep control of quality.

Form your arguments on the topic instead of just repeating things that you have read about open-source/proprietary projects.

How would you assess the competence of a security team?

This question is intended to test more than just technical know-how.

You may discuss important technical skills, risk management strategies they can adopt, experience in different setups and other soft skills.

You can even counter with questions of your own to figure out what sort of a security team the interviewers are referring to before giving them a clear answer.

What is the most important technology right now in your opinion?

A question like this is asked to gauge your knowledge of recent developments in cyber security and how in-depth your knowledge is.

Keep yourself updated on technology in the market as well as its real-world applications to impress your interviewer with your answer.

Pick a tool or technology that you have a strong opinion about to be able to objectively justify it.

Who is your role model in the field of cyber security?

Such questions assess your levels of interest and knowledge about the world of cyber security.

Your choice of role model will reflect who inspires you and how well you know the people in your field.

For instance, it makes a difference whether you mention someone young, someone, who is a hacker, or someone who is a longstanding pioneer in the field.

Research about the pioneers of the field and follow innovative work done in security to ace subjective-type answers like these.

Do you have any cyber security certifications to your credit?

One does not need formal education per se to become a cyber security professional. It is a skill that can be acquired through online courses and certifications.

Talk about the relevant training that you may have earned and discuss its content in detail. Try to center your answer around the real-life application of the said training.

Cyber security certifications are a great way to hone this skill. You can check out some effective cyber security certification courses here .

Tips to get a job in top cyber security companies

Here are a few tips to help you prepare to get a job in top cyber security companies.

1. Research the company

Look up the company you are interviewing for and find out as much as you can about the nature of their business, their operations, and performance in recent years, etc.

Lookup any public statements or news about their information security practices to know the company better.

Try to get relevant information to support your answers during the interview. Reach out to people working in the organization currently and gather insights from them for more clarity.

2. Revise basic technical terms and concepts

The field of cyber security and information security deal with a lot of technical knowledge which is essential for good cyber security professionals.

Grasp basics like key encryption and decryption, types of cyberattacks, and how to carry out basic functions and resolve common problems.

Remember to keep working concepts and their practical applications clear in your mind, instead of cramming terms a night before the interview.

3. Stay up to date

Besides bookish theory and jargon, you should show how you keep in touch with news related to cyber security, hacking and data breaches.

Discuss the important blogs or forums that you follow and new or interesting trends you have read about. You can also use examples from previous jobs.

They demonstrate a passion for your field and greater proficiency in solving real-world problems.

4. Read up on cyber laws

An important part of staying in sync with the practicalities of cyber security is to know about cyber and IT laws.

Familiarise yourself with the laws in India and other countries, especially if the company is a multi-national organization.

For India, you can start by reading up on the IT Act, guidelines, policies, etc. on portals like the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology website.

5. Be polite and confident

Pay attention to basics like being on time, dressing formally, and maintaining a professional attitude.

Speak with confidence and ask smart questions about the company’s infrastructure, practices and policies on security, if given the opportunity.

Take care not to give the interviewers any unsolicited advice as it may only make you look arrogant.

Also read: Powerful Body Language Tips For Your Next Interview

All the best!

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