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PyNet Labs- Network Automation Specialists

Top Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Author : PyNet Labs
Last Modified: January 23, 2024 
Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Introduction

While attending a job interview, one should have the confidence and the clarity to crack it effortlessly. This handpicked collection of the top cyber security interview questions and answers for a cyber-security job interview aims to help you prepare effectively for your next cyber security job interview.

However, depending on the scope of the position, cyber security interview questions may test candidates’ familiarity with a wide range of technologies. You will need to demonstrate your trustworthiness, dependability, problem-solving expertise, inventiveness, and composure under pressure situations since cybersecurity jobs require safeguarding critical corporate data.

About Cyber Security

Cybersecurity is the practice of safeguarding digital systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, attacks, and potential damage. It encompasses a wide range of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect information, devices, and infrastructure from cyber threats. These threats can take various forms, such as hacking, malware, phishing, ransomware, and more.

Cybersecurity involves implementing layers of defense mechanisms, including firewalls, encryption, access controls, intrusion detection systems, and regular updates to ensure that sensitive information remains confidential, systems function reliably, and online interactions remain secure. In an increasingly interconnected and digital world, cybersecurity plays a crucial role in preserving the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of digital assets and ensuring the trust and privacy of individuals, businesses, and organizations.

We’ve compiled a list of cyber security interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your next one. Let’s dive in!

Basic Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Here are the top 10 basic cyber security interview questions and answers –

Q1 – What is Cryptography?

Cryptography is a method used for information protection from unauthorized parties called adversaries. It involves changing plain text into encrypted text (called “ciphertext”) and then back to plain text. Cryptography aims to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of information while it is being transmitted or stored.

Cryptographic techniques include encryption (using symmetric or asymmetric key algorithms), digital signatures, message authentication codes, and hash functions. Cryptography is used in various applications, including secure communication, email, file protection, and online transactions.

Q2 – What is the difference between Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption?

Here’s a comparison table between Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption, with key differences:

Key DifferencesSymmetric EncryptionAsymmetric Encryption
Size of Cypher TextCypher text is smaller as compared to the original fileCypher text is larger as compared to the original file
Key LengthDepending on the level of protection required, the length of the keys that are often used is either 128 bits or 256 bitsThe key length is substantially higher, for example, the suggested RSA key size is 2048 bits or higher
Speed & EfficiencyFaster and more efficientSlower and less efficient, as there is a usage of two keys
Key ExchangeThe key must be securely exchanged between the sender and the recipient, which can be a challenge in practiceKey exchange is simplified
ExamplesAES, DES, BlowfishRSA, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), Diffie-Hellman algorithms

Q3 – Explain the CIA triad.

The CIA triad is a framework or model encapsulating the three primary objectives of information security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

  • Confidentiality: The safeguarding of sensitive information from unauthorized access is referred to as confidentiality. It guarantees that information is only available to those who have been granted access.
  • Integrity: Data quality and consistency across its entire lifespan are referred to as integrity. It guarantees that data cannot be changed or tampered without authorization.
  • Availability: The capacity of authorized individuals to access data when needed is referred to as availability. It ensures that information is always accessible to those who need it.

The CIA triad is a commonly used framework for assessing the security of information systems and is considered a cornerstone of information security. The three components of the CIA triad are interdependent and must be considered together to ensure the overall security of information systems.

Q4 – What is a three-way handshake?

The three-way handshake, also known as the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) handshaking process, is a method used to establish and terminate a reliable communication session between two devices over a network.

The three-way handshake consists of three steps:

  1. SYN (Synchronize): The initiating device sends an SYN packet to the receiving device to request the establishment of a connection.
  2. SYN-ACK (Synchronize-Acknowledge): The receiving device receives the SYN packet and responds with an SYN-ACK packet, indicating that it is ready to connect.
  3. ACK (Acknowledge): The initiating device receives the SYN-ACK packet and sends an ACK packet, acknowledging the receipt of the SYN-ACK and completing the three-way handshake.

Q5 – What is a traceroute? Why is it used?

A traceroute is a network diagnostic tool that shows the route packets take from source to destination, including the time it takes for each hop.

It is used to identify and troubleshoot network delays, locate bottlenecks and detect if a server is down or not reachable.

Q6 – What steps will you take to secure a server?

You can protect your server by taking five simple, practical steps. These are:

  1. Review your server status: An issue may be stopped before it becomes serious if routine checks are performed consistently.
  2. Set up automatic updates for security: The danger may be reduced and the server’s security improved by immediately deploying available automated security updates and patches.
  3. Install firewalls to protect the server: Border routers and firewalls are useful applications for blocking recognized threats, automated assaults, malicious traffic, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, fake IP addresses, and unsafe networks.
  4. Remove unnecessary services: Remote Registry Services, Print Services, and RAS are examples of insecure network and operating system defaults. As the number of services using an OS grows, the more likely it is that ports will be exploited for malicious purposes. For this reason, it’s advisable to turn off any unused services.
  5. Permissions: Permissions on files and network services reduce the risk of severe consequences in an account breach. Therefore, it is recommended that you verify the permissions in your file system frequently. Restrict each user or service’s permissions to the absolute minimum necessary for them to do their networked tasks.

Q7 – What is the difference between HIDS and NIDS?

Here’s a comparison of HID (Host-based Intrusion Detection) and NID (Network-based Intrusion Detection):

FeatureHIDSNIDS
PurposeDetect intrusions on a single hostDetect intrusions on the network
LocationInstalled on individual hostInstalled at the network perimeter
Data AnalyzedLocal system logs, process tables, files, etc.Network packets and traffic
Performance ImpactHigh, as it runs on the hostLow, as it runs on a separate device
DetectsIntrusions on a specific hostIntrusions across the network

Q8 – What is a Brute Force Attack? How can you prevent it?

A brute force attack is a method where one try multiple combinations of username/password pairs to get into an unauthorized system. It is called a “brute force” attack because the attacker tries every possible combination of inputs until the correct one is found. This type of attack can be used on any system that relies on a username and password for authentication, including websites, servers, and even personal computers.

Steps to prevent brute force attack:

  • Use strong passwords: Create a strong, unique password by combining capital and lowercase characters, digits, and symbols.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA): This adds an extra layer of security to your login process.
  • Limit login attempts: Implement rate limiting or lockouts to limit the number of login attempts that can be made in a given period of time. This makes it harder for attackers to use brute force methods to guess a password.
  • Use encryption: Encrypt sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, to protect it from being intercepted and used in a brute force attack.

You can also check out – Bluetooth Hacking

Q9 – What are the different layers of the OSI model?

The OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model is a 7-layer reference model that defines the rules and standards for communication between computers:

  1. Physical layer: defines the physical transmission of data over a network.
  2. Data link layer: It is responsible for providing error-free transmission of data frames over a physical link, such as an Ethernet cable.
  3. Network layer: responsible for routing and delivering packets of data to their destinations.
  4. Transport layer: provides reliable data transfer and error recovery services.
  5. Session layer: establishes and maintains connections between applications.
  6. Presentation layer: handles the formatting and encryption of data.
  7. Application layer: provides an interface for users and applications to access network services.

Q10 – Explain the DDOS attack and how to prevent it?

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a type of cyber-attack that attempts to make a website or online service unavailable by flooding it with a large number of requests from multiple sources. The goal of a DDoS attack is to overload the target’s servers, network, or resources, making it impossible for legitimate users to access the service.

Some steps to prevent DDoS attacks are:

  • Monitor your network
  • Create a denial of the service response strategy
  • Use basic network security
  • Use a DDoS protection service
  • Safeguard your network infrastructure

You should also know the difference between DoS and DDoS Attack.

These are the top 10 basic Cyber security interview questions curated by our experts with the help of our Cyber Security trainers. If you are going for a cyber security job interview, these interview questions are definitely going to help you. Now let’s move on to some advanced Cyber Security Interview Questions.

Advanced Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Here are the top most asked Advanced Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers –

Q11 – What countermeasures will you take to secure a server?

Data is encrypted and decrypted using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol on a secured server to prevent unauthorized access.

The four stages to secure a server are as follows:

Step 1: Password-protect the root and administrator users.

Step 2: For Managing the system, create new users.

Step 3: Avoid giving administrator or default root accounts remote access.

Step 4: Configuring firewall rules is important for remote access.

Q12 – Do you know what is a VPN?

By creating a private and secure network, a virtual private network, or VPN, shields your online activities from the dangers of a public internet connection. Use a VPN to boost your anonymity and privacy when performing things like sending emails, making online payments, and conducting e-commerce.

Working of VPN:

  • Your device directs the internet connection to the VPN’s private server when you establish a VPN connection rather than your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • Your data is encrypted and transferred through another point of internet during this transmission.
  • The data is decrypted when it reaches to the server.
  • The server’s response enters the VPN, where it is encrypted, and is later decoded by another VPN point.
  • The decrypted data is finally delivered to you.

Q13 – Do you know how to prevent identity theft?

You can take the following precautions to avoid identity theft:

  • Protect your private documents.
  • Don’t disclose private information online.
  • Protect your Social Security Number or AADHAR number.
  • Use secure and strong passwords and update them frequently.
  • Never reveal your bank information on websites that you don’t trust.
  • Use cutting-edge technologies firewall and spyware programs to secure your PC.
  • Maintain system, software, and browser by keeping them updated.

Q14 – What are salted hashes?

The identical password hashes will be generated if two users share the same password. In such a scenario, a dictionary or brute-force attack can be used to quickly crack the password. A salted hash is used to prevent this.

A salted hash is one that adds or prefixes a random string (salt) to the password before hashing in order to randomize hashes. As a result, two entirely distinct hashes are generated, each of which can be used to defend the database users’ passwords from an attacker.

Q15 – What is phishing and how do you prevent it?

In phishing, an attacker acts as a reputable entity (a real person or business) in order to manipulate the victim and gain sensitive information. It can be done by requesting that the victim click on a harmful link or download a dangerous attachment in order to obtain private data including credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, and network credentials.

Here are some strategies for avoiding phishing:

  1. Installing firewalls
  2. Change your passwords often
  3. Avoid clicking on or downloading from untrusted sources
  4. Install free anti-phishing software
  5. Never disclose personal information to an untrusted or unknown website

Q16 – What is SQL injection and how to prevent it?

An online application’s database server, such as MySQL, SQL Server, or Oracle, can be attacked via a technique known as SQL injection, which involves the execution of malicious SQL queries. The goal is to get illegal access to sensitive information, such customer information, personal information, information on intellectual property, and so forth. An organization’s data integrity is lost as a result of this attack because the attacker has the ability to add, change, and delete records from the database.

Here are some of the methods to prevent SQL injection:

  • Limit the number of people who can read the database.
  • Reduce data contamination by limiting special characters.
  • Verify user inputs.
  • Make use of prepared statements.
  • Look for current sets and updates.

Q17 – What is the MITM attack and how to prevent it?

A hacking attempt known as a “Man-in-the-Middle” (MITM) attack occurs when a hacker inserts himself in the middle of a conversation between two people in order to acquire their data. Let’s say that A and B are the parties communicating. The hacker then enters this conversation.

He impersonates party B in front of party A and party B to party A. Both parties’ data are transferred to the hacker, who then redirects it to the intended recipient after stealing the necessary info. While the two parties believe they are speaking with one another, they are actually speaking with the hacker.

You can prevent MITM attack by using some of the below mentioned practices:

  • Use VPN
  • Use WEP/WPA encryption that is strong.
  • Detect intrusions by using IDS.
  • Prefer HTTPS.
  • Authentication using a public key pair.

Q18 – Explain the difference between vulnerability assessment and penetration testing.

Despite their differences, vulnerability assessment, and penetration testing, both play a crucial role in securing the network environment.

  • Vulnerability Assessment: The process of defining, identifying, and prioritizing vulnerabilities in software, network infrastructure, applications, and other systems provides the company with the necessary data to address the faults.
  • Penetration Testing: Penetration testing is sometimes referred to as ethical hacking or pen testing. To find vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit, a network, system, application, etc. are tested through this method. It is most frequently used to supplement a web application firewall (WAF) in the context of web application security.

These are the most important Advanced Cyber security Questions and Answers. If you want to learn Cyber Security in-depth, you should check out our Certified Ethical Hacker Course. It is rated the best course in the IT industry for Cyber Security Enthusiasts.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these top cyber security interview questions and answers are crucial for both the interviewer and interviewee to gauge the level of understanding and experience with cyber security. It’s essential for organizations to secure their systems and protect sensitive data, making the selection process for hiring a cyber security professional an important one.

The candidate’s answers to these questions provide valuable insight into their technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and overall approach to cyber security. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, organizations need to ensure they have the right professionals in place to defend against potential attacks.

Suggested Reads

Ethical Hacking Interview Questions

Penetration Testing Interview Questions

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