Top 72 Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers in 2021

It is a digital era, where security plays an essential aspect. You might have heard of data breaches and cyber attacks on high-profile companies. Most of us confuse Network Security with Cybersecurity. These Networks and Cybersecurity are two different features.

Network Security is a process where an organization undertakes to prevent its underlying IT infrastructure from illegitimate or unauthorized access, misuse, and malfunction. Cybersecurity aims to protect the confidential data, sensitive information, and systems in the network connection over the internet.

After doing a lot of research on Cybersecurity, we have come up with the Top Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers. So if you have a Cybersecurity Interview nearby, you can easily crack the interview. Please go through our top Cybersecurity Interview questions and answers. You may come across these Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers in your interview.

Top 72 Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

1. Name some of the common Cyberattacks?

  1. Man-in-The Middle(MITM attack) or Eavesdropping
  2. Denial-of-service-attack
  3. SQL Injection
  4. DNS Tunneling
  5. Phishing
  6. Zero-day exploit
  7. Malware

2. Can you please explain the steps to set up a firewall?

  1. Secure your firewall so that access is limited to only those you trust.
  2. You need to Architect Firewall Zones and IP addresses. Here you need to group your network assets so that it is not easy for attackers to attack.
  3. You need to design your access control list so that you can invite the people only you trust.
  4. You need to build other firewalls services.
  5. You need to test your firewall configuration.
  6. After the installation, you need to maintain the firewall so that it functions optimally.

3. What measures will you take to secure your web server?

  1. You need to monitor your web server regularly and check for any issues. If found, you can fix them at the earliest.
  2. You need to apply automatic security updates and security patches to fix them if you even find a minimal attack.
  3. You need to set up security to block any potential threats that may damage your website.
  4. You need to implement security tools.
  5. Make sure you disable all unnecessary tools.
  6. You need to grant only the required permissions to run the service.
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4. Explain Chain of Custody?

The chain of custody is related to cybercrime. It is a sequence collection of sensitive or confidential information. It is a detailed document that includes the date and time of data transfer, the purpose of transfer, and the person who handles it. In cybercrimes, they submit this information in the court trial as a piece of evidence.

5. Can you explain about Cross-Site Request Forgery or One-Click attack or XSS attack?

CSRF or Cross-site request forgery or session riding is an attack on the web browser, forcing the end-users to execute illegitimate or unwanted actions. Here the attacker tricks the end-user who is using the web application to enter their sensitive information indirectly. Here the end-user is unaware of the attack. If an administrative person is a victim, then the whole web application is attacked.

6. Consider a scenario where you are a site administrator looking for incoming CSRF attacks. How do you prevent them?

  1. First, I need to check my antivirus, whether it is updated or not.
  2. One has to make sure credentials and other sensitive or confidential information are not stored on the web browser.
  3. I avoid responding to any suspicious emails.
  4. I will maintain two different browsers for banking and browsing.
  5. I will make sure to log-off from the website after my work.
  6. I will disable scripting in my web browser.

7. Differentiate between HTTP and HTML?

HTTP is a Hypertext transfer protocolHTML is Hypertext markup language
HTTP provides data for the WWWWeb page designing makes use of HTML.
HTTP is a protocolHTML is a programming language
HTTP uses hyperlink nodes to connect to a networkHTML uses tags, opening, and closing tags. Here the data between the tags is content.
HTTP vs HTML

8. Name a few security assessment tools?

  1. Nmap
  2. Metasploit
  3. Safe3Scanner
  4. Wire shark
  5. Aircrack
  6. OpenVas
  7. Samurai Framework

9. Which among these are more secure SSL, TLS, or HTTPS?

HTTPS is more secure than SSL and TLS because HTTPS includes SSL certification.

10. Explain the differences between ECB(Electronic Code Block) and CBC(Cipher Block Chaining)?

ECB is the first generation of AES (Advanced encryption standard)CBC is an advanced form of BCE (Block Cipher Encryption)
ECB is not as complicated as CBCCBC mode adds an extra level of complexity 
If encryption uses ECB, then there is a possibility of copy-paste attack.CBC is more secured
ECB vs CBC

11. Name a few examples of asymmetric encryption algorithms?

  1. RSA Encryption Algorithm.
  2. ECC Asymmetric Encryption Algorithm.

12. Name a few examples of symmetric encryption algorithms?

  1. AES Symmetric Encryption Algorithm.
  2. 3DES Symmetric Encryption Algorithm
  3. DES Symmetric Encryption Algorithm

13. Name some common defenses against XSS?

  1. First, we need to ensure the webpage is following the UTF-8 charset on the header or HTML element.
  2. One has to include HTML-escape.
  3. You need to validate the URLs and CSS values.
  4. If you have the option not to allow the user given HTML
  5. Use proper DOM methods rather than the user-given inputs.
  6. Use a proper Cross-site request security token. 

14. How do you secure a Windows server using the first three steps?

  1. You need to shut down the access, as it becomes difficult for the hackers.
  2. You need to patch your servers regularly.
  3. You need to limit access to the users, so this limits the hackers’ entrance.

Top Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

15. What is a traceroute? Explain in simple terms?

Traceroute is used to track the data packets’ path, from source to destination, which helps solve the connectivity issues. It measures the average round trip time.

16. How to build a bonnet?

  1. You need to find a good builder kit.
  2. Next is to build your payload.
  3. Next, you have to set your CNC infrastructure.
  4. To control infected servers, you need a CNC server.

17. What are the primary goals of information security within an organization?

  1. You need to avoid loss of availability.
  2. Protect Integrity
  3. Safeguard Confidentiality

18. Explain Data Leakage in simple terms?

Data leakage is an illegal or illegitimate transmission of data or sensitive information from an organization to an external source in terms of cybersecurity. The data leakage usually occurs through the web and email. Here it is transferred electronically or physically.

19. Differentiate between black hat, white hat, and grey hat hacker?

Black hat hackers are criminals. In terms of cybersecurity, they are capable of hacking customer data, government sensitive information, and company secrets.

White hat hackers are considered ethical hackers. These hackers hack sensitive information to benefit the public. They are research experts who work to safeguard people and systems.

Grey hat hackers combine both black hat and white hat hackers. They are responsible for both good and bad things.

20. Can you differentiate between VA, i.e., Vulnerability Assessment, and PT, i.e., Penetration Testing?

In penetration testing, the hackers, who may be either internal or external, break the organizations’ security and steal the organization’s sensitive information, resulting in its abnormal functioning.

Vulnerability Assessment is a mechanism, where it identifies potential risks and vulnerabilities in networks, systems, and the IT infrastructure.

21. Explain Port Scanning?

Port scanning is a mechanism to determine which ports are open to receive and transfer the data. Ports play a vital role because they are the places on a computer where information can be sent and received.

22. Explain Cognitive Cybersecurity?

Cognitive cybersecurity is a mechanism of inducing AI, i.e., Artificial Intelligence, on the human thought process to detect potential threats and safeguard the system. It is an automated security process to design and protect the network without human intervention.

23. Explain Diffie Hellman Algorithm?

Diffie Hellman Algorithm is also known as Diffie Hellman Key Exchange Algorithm. It is a mechanism where the cryptographic keys are exchanged securely over a public communication channel. It establishes shared secrets between two parties.

24. Can you explain how encryption and hashing are different?

Encryption is a two-way function. Here whatever is encrypted can also be decrypted with the help of a proper key. It includes both encryption and decryption.

In the case of Hashing, it is a one-way function. It converts the given key to another value to generate a new deal.

25. What is patch management? And how often do you perform this?

Patch management is a process of updating the software regularly. These patches are required to correct errors and vulnerabilities of the software.

We perform patch management on a weekly or monthly basis. We have to make sure that the patches are applied regularly.

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26. Differentiate between IDS and IPS?

An Intrusion Detection System monitors network traffic for any signs of personal data loss or illegitimate actions on your network. Intrusion Detection System requires Human intervention.

An Intrusion Protocol system is just a controlling system, which can either accept or reject data packets based on the given set of rules. For IPS, the database has to be updated regularly with threats.

27. Can you explain the Intrusion Prevention System?

An intrusion prevention system is a mechanism for preventing threats, examining the network traffic flow to detect and prevent any vulnerabilities. They actively scan the network traffic for potential hazards and malware.

28. What is the difference between Information security and Cybersecurity?

Information security is a mechanism used to safeguard sensitive data, misuse, malfunction, illegitimate or unauthorized access, or modification. It applies security controls to prevent unlawful or unauthorized access of sensitive data.

In cybersecurity, the main interest is guarding unauthorized electronic access to the data.

29. Can you explain Distributed Denial of Service attack(DDoS)?

In a Distributed Denial of Service attack, the attacker sends multiple requests to the webserver so that the webserver exceeds the capacity to handle the traffic. As a result, the website collapses. Here the webserver is flooded with internet traffic. You can see this type of attack with Online shopping websites.

30. Explain the difference between Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption?

Symmetric Encryption uses require only a single key for both encryption and decryption.Asymmetric encryption requires two separate keys, one for encryption and the other for decryption.
It is a speedy process.It is a slow process.
It transfers a large amount of data.Here, it transfers a minimal amount of data.
It provides confidentiality.It provides both authenticity and confidentiality.
Symmetric vs Asymmetric encryption

31. Explain RDP(Remote Desktop Protocol)?

It is a protocol used by remote desktops. RDP’s primary function is to provide a remote input display(monitor) and input(keyboard or mouse) over a network for windows application that is running on a server.

32. Name the seven layers of OSI?

Layers of  the OSI model are:

  1. Physical layer
  2. Data Link layer
  3. Network layer
  4. Transport layer
  5. Session layer
  6. Presentation layer
  7. Application Layer
“File:OSIModel.jpg” by MrsValdry is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

33. Is DNS monitoring critical?

Users can connect to the website because of the DNS. DNS monitoring is essential. If the DNS has any issues or it slows down, it directly impacts your website and applications.

34. Explain two-factor authentication and how can it be implemented for public websites?

W.R.T Two-factor authentication, an additional security layer is added. Apart from your user name and password, you need to give other credentials. A username and password get easily hacked. Hence an additional security layer is added in 2FA.

34. Explain VPN, i.e., Virtual Private Network?

A Virtual private network is a mechanism, where it provides a protected network connection to the users while using public networks. VPN provides security and identity to the users.

35. What techniques prevent a Brute Force Attack?

  1. Passwords have to be strong enough so that it would be difficult for the hackers to attack.
  2. You have to update your passwords regularly.
  3. Use 2FA(two-factor authentication).
  4. Limit the login tries to 3.
  5. You need to lock your account once it reaches the maximum number of login attempts.

36. Explain port blocking within LAN?

Port blocking w.r.t. LAN means blocking the physical ports like Bluetooth adapters,  smartphones, removable devices, USB, floppy discs.

Top Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

37. Explain the difference between VPN and VLAN?

VPN is a mechanism that creates virtual tunnels for safe data transmission.VPN secures the  movement of data between two companiesVLAN(Virtual LAN) is a subnetwork of VPN. Companies use VLAN to group devices among the companies that are scattered.
VPN is costlyVLAN is affordable
It provides security features.It doesn’t provide security features.
It increases efficiency.It requires special permission to grant access.

38. Name the standard methods of authentication for network security?

  1. Biometric Authentication
  2. Password Authentication
  3. Token-Based Authentication.
  4. Certificate-Based Authentication.
  5. Multi-Factor Authentication.

39. Explain active reconnaissance?

Active Reconnaissance is a system attack where the intruder attacks the targeted system to gather sensitive information about susceptibilities. Here the intruder may use tools like Netcat, ping, traceroute. Here the attacker has to communicate with the target to collect sensitive data.

40. Explain security misconfiguration?

In Cybersecurity, security misconfiguration fails to implement security controls for a web server or application or implements the security controls but with errors. With security misconfiguration, sensitive data was displayed in error and made it easy for the intruder to steal sensitive data to access personal information.

Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

41. What is software testing? Explain?

Almost all companies implement software testing to identify potential threats, errors, or missing information. Software testing has more opportunities. But if we compare it with Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity has more importance.

42. Differentiate between information protection and information assurance?

Information protection is protecting or securing sensitive data, illegitimate or unauthorized access, misuse, or destruction.

Information Assurance is the process of assuring information and inspecting risks related to the transmission of information and storage.

It includes securing the confidentiality and integrity of users’ data.

43. Explain buffer overflow work?

The program fills the memory buffer with more information in Buffer overflow than the memory buffer is supposed to hold. It is a result of programmers’ mistakes, which are easy to understand and difficult to analyze.

44. Explain a few advantages offered by bug bounty programs over regular testing practices?

  1. Bug Bounty is a continuous testing process which is executed by security professionals to identify vulnerabilities
  2. Bug Bounty provides flexibility
  3. It provides a detailed bug report
  4. A bug bounty executes testers who have skills and experience

45. Explain a scenario where you had to both encrypt and compress data during transmission. Which would you do first, and why?

You have to compress the data and then go for encryption. For encrypted data, you need a key.

46. Can you explain rainbow tables?

Rainbow tables crack the password hashes. When a user enters the password, the computer hashes the password and compares it with the stored hash. If there is a match, then access is permitted to the user.

47. Which among these do you prefer filtered ports or closed ports on your firewall?

For small companies, you choose closed ports because they do not get targeted by DDoS, i.e., Distributed denial of service attacks.

48. How to implement a secure login field on a high-traffic website with performance importance?

Two approaches achieve security.

  1. You need to make different login pages to get accessed with HTTPS
  2. For a more convenient login, you need to include HTTPS on the homepage login.

49. Consider a scenario where the mouse on your computer screen starts to move around on its own and click on your desktop things. What should you do?

  1. First, you need to turn off your computer.
  2. Then turn off the main switch.
  3. Remove the network connection.
  4. Restart your computer in a safe mode if the operating system allows it.
  5. Run a virus scan.
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50. Define the types of data leakage?

  1. Accidental breach.
  2. Electronic transmissions with malicious intent.
  3. Ill-Intentioned Employee.

51. How will you update yourself with the latest cybersecurity news?

  1. You have to follow security influencers and professionals.
  2. You need to check security-related topics over the internet.
  3. You need to attend live-cybersecurity events.
  4. You can listen to a podcast when you are busy.
  5. You have to read articles or read forums regularly.

52. Are open-source projects more secure than proprietary ones?

No, Proprietary projects are more secure than open-source projects. In proprietary projects, the software is concerned only with the individual or publisher who develops it. In open-source projects, the software is available to everyone.

53. Who among these are more dangerous to an organization, insiders or outsiders?

Insiders are more dangerous than outsiders because insiders have authorized access to the systems and networks to perform daily jobs, so it is easy for them to hack sensitive information from the organization.

54. How to measure how well a security team is doing?

  1. You need to check Average Time Response,  which corresponds with the security team whether they are meeting the requirements or not.
  2. You need to check the number of systems with vulnerability.
  3. You need to check for SSL Certificates for configuration.
  4. You need to check the amount of data that transferred using the organization’s network.
  5. You need to check the number of users who have super access levels.
  6. You need to check for the open communication ports.
  7. You need to check for the number of third-party access.

55. As a corporate Information Security professional, what is your primary area of focus? Threat or Vulnerability?

As a corporate information security professional, I would mainly focus on threat rather than vulnerability. A danger results in the damage of the system.

56. Can you explain the reason why most companies haven’t fixed their vulnerabilities?

Because companies focus on other unfixed things, they have tons of work to do. Maybe it’s the reason why companies haven’t fixed their vulnerabilities.

57. With respect to Cryptography, what is the primary method of building a shared secret over a public medium?

To build a shared key over a public medium in cryptography, we use the Diffe-Hilman method. It is a method where exchanging cryptographic keys securely over a public communication channel. Here the keys are jointly derived. There is no exchange of keys. Diffe-Hilman exchange method was the first public-key protocol.

58. Explain Forward Secrecy?

 In the case of Forward Secrecy, the keys are exchanged frequently and automatically for the encryption and decryption process. In this process, sensitive information leaks when the most recent key gets hacked.

59. Consider one of your friends XYZ subscribes to many free magazines. To activate his subscriptions, one of the magazines asked for her date of a month, the second magazine asked for her year of birth, the other magazine asked for her last name.

The above one is an example of identity theft, here all the three magazines, which are asking the related questions may belong to the same company. It is identity theft. The provoked user provides personal information.

60. Consider a scenario where you receive an email from your bank telling you that your account has a problem. The email provides instructions and a link to log into your account and fix the problem. How do you react?

First, you should never click the link. If possible pay a visit to your Main Branch and check for the problem. Or you can directly go to your bank website and log in so that there would be no issues.

61. Can you mention the significant components of the CIA triad?

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Integrity
  3. Availability.

62. Name some HTTP response codes?

  1. 1xx – Informational 
  2. 2xx – Success 
  3. 3xx – Redirection
  4. 4xx – Client error
  5. 5xx – Server Error

63. Explain SQL injection and its preventive measures?

SQL injection is a process where malicious SQL code is injected into the backend database to access sensitive information intended to display. The sensitive information may include companies’ data, or it may be an employee’s details.

  1. As a preventive measure, the company has to validate the inputs, i.e., code needs to execute, to identify illegitimate inputs by the user. This input validation should be considered as the best practice that the company has to follow.
  2. Should implement Web Application Firewall to identify SQL injections.

64. Can you explain the steps for securing a Linux server?

  1. First, you have to update your server.
  2. You have to disable the root access through SSH.
  3. You need to change your SSH port.
  4. Make use of SSH-Key-based logins.
  5. Next, you need to enable your firewall.
  6. Make sure you check for any open ports.
  7. Stop responding to pings.
  8. Make sure to read your logs so that it gives an idea about the threat.

65. Which among these does TLS use? Symmetric or Asymmetric encryption?

Transport Layer Security uses symmetric and asymmetric encryption. It uses the combinations of both symmetric and asymmetric encryption.

66. In public-key cryptography you have a public and a private key? Can you specify the functions of each key?

In public-key cryptography, we make use of two keys, public key, and private key.

  1. The public key gets shared with everyone. Encryption uses the public key.
  2. The private key is shared only with the recipient. Decryption uses the private key.

67. Explain steps to change DNS settings in Linux/windows?

Changing DNS settings in windows

  1. Open computer, go to Control Panel, click on Network and sharing, and click adapter settings.
  2. Right-click on the adapter settings and click properties.
  3. Select TCP/IPv4 and double click.
  4. Change the preferred DNS settings and apply changes.

Changing DNS settings in Linux

  1. Enter CTRL+T to open the terminal.
  2. Open resolve. Config file using nano editor.
  3. Enter the command Sudo nano /etc/resolve.conf.
  4. Type Password and press enter.
  5. In the editor, type nameserver 8.8.4.4, nameserver 8.8.8.8
  6. Save and close the file.

68. What if someone steals the server’s private key? Can they decrypt the previous content sent to that serve?

Yes, they can decrypt the previous content sent to the server. If the attacker has a private key, then with the help of a public-key, one can decrypt.

69. Differentiate between encoding, encryption, and hashing?

Encoding is a mechanism where data gets transformed so that most systems can read it. Here the transformed data can be used by external resources also.

Encryption is a mechanism where the information is encoded using various Encryption algorithms that only authorized people can access. Encryption transfers private data.

In the case of hashing, the information or data gets converted into hashes using the hashing techniques. Some examples of hashing algorithms are MD5, LANMAN, and SHA 1&2.

70. Explain salting and its uses?

Salting creates unique passwords. Here, the salting adds additional bits to each password instance before hashing. It increases security to passwords.

71. Differentiate between stored and reflected XSS?

In the case of reflected XSS, the application takes few inputs from the HTTP and inserts the information into the immediate response in an unsecured way.

In the case of Stored XSS,  the application stores the inputs and inserts them into a later response in an unsecured way.

72. Can you describe the last program that you wrote? What problem did it solve?

The interviewer asks this type of question to check your ability in programming. Be prepared for this type of question with a problem that you had handled so that the interviewer gets impressed. Make sure you explain clearly about your program and how you solved it.

Best of luck with your interview, and I hope cybersecurity interview questions and answers were of some help to you. Also please refer to our other interview questions like Apache Subversion.

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