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Top 10 Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Last Updated : February 1, 2023
Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

While attending a job interview, one should have the confidence and the clarity to crack it effortlessly. This handpicked collection of the top 10 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.

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

Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Here are the top 10 cyber security interview questions and answers -

Question 1 - What is Cryptography?

Answer - 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.

Question 2 - 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

Question 3 - Explain the CIA triad.

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

CIA Triad
  • 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.

Question 4 - What is a three-way handshake?

Answer - 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.

3-way handshake

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.

Question 5 - What is a traceroute? Why is it used?

Answer - 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.

Question 6 - What steps will you take to secure a server?

Answer - 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.

Question 7 - What is the difference between HIDS and NIDS?

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

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

Question 8 - 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.

Question 9 - What are the different layers of the OSI model?

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

Layers of OSI Model
  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.

Question 10 - Explain the DDOS attack and how to prevent it?

Answer - 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

These are the top 10 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. 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.

You can also watch this CEH Course Demo Video -

In conclusion, these top 10 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.

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Ethical Hacking Interview Questions

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