Cyber Security Interview Questions

1. What is cybersecurity? 
Answer: Cyber securities are defined as a group of processes, technologies, and practices that are designed in a special way to protect computers, networks, access which are unauthorized.

2. How to prevent identity thefts? 
Identity theft refers to the acquisition of personal data of the victim and uses it for illegal purposes. It is the most common type of fraud that may lead to financial losses and at times may be held responsible for criminal actions as the victim might be personified.

A few steps to follow to prevent identity thefts include:

  • Ensure the strong and unique password
  • Avoid postings of confidential information online
  • Do not post personal information on social media
  • Shop from known and trusted websites
  • Use the latest version of the browsers
  • Install advanced malware and spyware tools
  • Use specialized security solutions against financial data
  • Always update your system and the software
  • Protect the social security number
  • Download only the well-known apps and share limited details

3. What is Security Misconfiguration?
Answer: Security misconfiguration is a vulnerability when a device/application/network is configured in a way that can be exploited by an attacker to take advantage of it. This can be as simple as leaving the default username/password unchanged or too simple for device accounts etc

4. What’s the difference between a threat, vulnerability,
and risk? 
As weak as the CISSP is as a security certification it does teach some good concepts. Knowing basics like risk, vulnerability, threat, exposure, etc. (and being able to differentiate them) is important for a security professional. Ask as many of these as you’d like, but keep in mind that there are a few different schools on this. Just look for solid answers that are self-consistent.

If you were to start a job as a head engineer or CSO at a

Fortune 500 company due to the previous guy being fired for incompetence,

5. Information Security? Why?
Answer: A standard question type. All we’re looking for here is to see if they pay attention to the industry leaders and to possibly glean some more insight into how they approach security. If they name a bunch of hackers/criminals that’ll tell you one thing, and if they name a few of the pioneers that’ll say another. If they don’t know anyone in Security, we’ll consider closely what position you’re hiring them for. Hopefully, it isn’t a senior position.

6. How does a Process Audit go?
Answer: The first thing to do is to identify the scope of the audit followed by a document of the process. Study the document carefully and then identify the areas which you consider are weak. The company might have compensatory controls in place. Verify they are enough.

7. How will you prevent the “Man-in-the-Middle” attack?
Answer: Commonly known as the “Bucket Brigade Attack”, this attack happens through a man who is in between two different parties and controls the complete conversation without the two ends even realizing that. The first method to prevent this attack would be to have an end to end encryption between both the parties. This way, they both will have an idea with whom they are talking because of the digital verification. Secondly, to prevent this, it is best to avoid open Wi-Fi networks and if it is necessary then use plugins like HTTPS, Forced TLS, etc.

8. What is the protocol that broadcasts the messages across all the devices?
Answer: Internet Group Management Protocol [IGMP] is the communication protocol that is used in video or game streaming. This communication protocol facilitates the communication devices and the adjacent routers to send packets across the network. 

9. What are the risks if I use public Wi-Fi?
Answer: It is the general tendency of the public to prefer Wi-Fi in spite of having independent data plans as it is faster and free.

However, Wi-Fi comes with certain security issues. A few of the public Wi-Fi attack includes brute-force attacks, war-driving, sniffing, karma attack, and, etc. it would obstruct the data that is conveyed through the router like the passwords, emails, addresses, credit card data, browsing the history, and, etc.

This could be minimized by using routers that are encrypted with WPA2 alone.

And, when connected to public Wi-Fi it is suggested to take the following steps.

  • Turn-off the public networking sharing of the data.
  • Enable the firewall at all times
  • Use only secure websites for sensitive operations.
  • Encrypt the IP address by using the Virtual Private Network [VPN].
  • Do not forget to turn off the Wi-Fi once work is done.
  • Keep your system always updated to the latest version and patch-up.
  • Keep your system free of malware by using the latest and reliable antivirus.
  • Browse the sites only with a good anti-spyware solution[s].
  • Avoid any kind of financial transactions on public Wi-Fi unprotected.
  • Ensure you have the latest browser with the security patches.
  • Use the two-factor authentication factor as an extra security measure.

10. Is SSL enough for your security?
Answer: SSL is meant to verify the sender’s identity but it doesn’t search in a hard way for more hazards. SSL will be able to track down the real person you are talking to but that too can be tricked at times. TLS is another identity verification tool that works the same as SSL but better than it. This provides some additional protection to the data so that no breaches are formed.

11. When should a security policy be revised?
Answer: There is no fixed time for reviewing the security policy but all this should be done at least once a year. Any changes made should be documented in the revision history of the document and versioning. In case there are any major changes the changes need to be notified to the users as well.

12. What does Cybersecurity work for in a specific organization? 

There are mainly three major reasons for which cybersecurity works:

1. Confidentiality: Whenever information is transmitted from one place to another, a certain level of secrecy is maintained, which is known as confidentiality.

2. Integrity: This means that whenever there is a need for change in any document stored beforehand or new, it can only be done by an authorized person with the proper and secure mechanism.

3. Availability: Everything that is important should be readily available to the authorized people otherwise there will be no use of such information that is not available.

13. How should data archives be maintained?
Answer: Gone are the times when there used to be files and cabinets which held data over the years. This phase was long followed by archiving data over magnetic tapes and storing the tapes. There is another overhead for the maintenance and safety of the tapes. These are a few conventional approaches, but the world is slightly moving to cloud storage architecture. The only hurdle is data privacy. Companies are not very sure about handing critical data. This will actually take time but securely configured and managed cloud can be one of the best options.

14. Is social media secure?
Answer: The online social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so forth are becoming more agreeable for networking, business communications, and professional benefits creating a major and direct impact of our life activities.

Though the extent of networking is favorable and appreciated, it is creating space for intruders too. As we find headlines about data breach through social media, the use of social networking is getting reconsidered.

Recommended for You Back to Basics: Top 5 Social Media Safety Tips

However, there are measures to stay safe on social media. The possible risks are hacking, identity theft, bullying, standing, damage reputation, impersonators, and, etc.

A few of the measures to follow includes:

  •  Avoidance of sharing personal things
  •  Limiting the details about work in LinkedIn
  • Screening of images or any personal news before posting
  • Educating oneself about the rules followed in social postings
  • Connect with only trusted people
  • Have stronger and unique passwords for different social channels
  • It is recommended to be generic on social media
  • And more

15. What are a risk, vulnerability, and threat? 
Vulnerability means weakness. It refers to the gap between the protection efforts of a system and the attacker who can exploit the weak points.

Risk is nothing but a measure that determines the potential loss that would occur if the vulnerability gets exploited.

Threat refers to something that has all the potential to deliver serious damage to the computer systems, networks, and, etc. some of the threats include spyware, key logger, backdoor, and, etc.

16. DDoS and its mitigation?
Answer: DDoS stands for distributed denial of service. When a network/server/application is flooded with the large number of requests which it is not designed to handle making the server unavailable to the legitimate requests. The requests can come from different not related sources hence it is a distributed denial-of-service attack. It can be mitigated by analyzing and filtering the traffic in the scrubbing centers. The scrubbing centers are centralized data cleansing station wherein the traffic to a website is analyzed and the malicious traffic is removed.

17. What all should be included in a CEO level report from a security standpoint?

A CEO level report should have not more than 2 pages:

A summarised picture of the state of the security structure of the organization.

Quantified risk and ALE (Annual Loss Expectancy) results along with countermeasures.

18. I am using unsecured Wi-Fi from my neighbor. Is it possible for them to get access to my login ID and password? Answer: Yes, it is possible to access your IP address, passwords, GPS tracking, and so forth. It could be a trap like the Honeypot, set up to detect the data or neutralize the attempts of using the neighbor’s network unrightfully. In case the neighbor is tech-savvy, there is every chance that the connection could be used to hack the device, gain access to the system, or attribute the unwanted browsing history to you. 

19. How can the two-factor authentication be implemented for the public-facing websites?
Answer: The two-factor authentication or shortly abbreviated as 2FA acts as another or an extra seal on your already protected account with a password. This two-factor authentication can be implemented on public-facing websites like Microsoft, Twitter, Apple, Google, and LinkedIn. For enabling such services, one can easily go to settings and then to manage security settings. Here, you will find the option of enabling two-factor authentications.

20. What are the different levels of data classification and why are they required?
Answer: Data needs to be segregated into various categories so that its severity can be defined, without this segregation a piece of information can be critical for one but not so critical for others. There can be various levels of data classification depending on organization to organization, in broader terms data can be classified into.

21. What is port scanning?
Answer: Port scanning is the process of sending messages to gather information about network, system, etc. by analyzing the response received.

22. What is XSS, how will you mitigate it?
Answer: Cross-site scripting is a JavaScript vulnerability in web applications. The easiest way to explain this is a case when a user enters a script in the client-side input fields and that input gets processed without getting validated. This leads to untrusted data getting saved and executed on the client-side.

Countermeasures of XSS are input validation, implementing a CSP (Content security policy), etc.

TIP: Know the different types of XSS and how the countermeasures work.

23. What is a Firewall?
Answer: A firewall is a device placed on the boundary of the trusted and untrusted networks. One can set or define the rules that allow or blocks the traffic accordingly. 

24. What is Cross-Site Request Forgery?
Answer: Not knowing this is more forgivable than not knowing what XSS is, but only for junior positions. Desired answer: when an attacker gets a victim’s browser to make requests, ideally with their credentials included, without their knowing. A solid example of this is when IMG tag points to a URL associated with an action, e.g. A victim just loading that page could potentially get logged out from, and their browser would have made the action, not them (since browsers load all IMG tags automatically). 

If you were a site administrator looking for incoming.

25. What’s the difference between HTTP and HTML?
Answer: The answer is that one is the networking/application protocol and the other is the markup language, but again, the main thing you’re looking for is for them not to panic. The object here should be identifying absolute beginners and/or having fun with people who know how silly the question is. 

26. What’s the goal of information security within an organization?
Answer: This is a big one. What I look for is one of two approaches; the first is the über-lockdown approach, i.e. “To control access to information as much as possible, sir!” While admirable, this again shows a bit of immaturity. Not really in a bad way, just not quite what I’m looking for. A much better answer in my view is something along the lines of, “To help the organization succeed.”

This type of response shows that the individual understands that business is there to make money and that we are there to help them do that. It is this sort of perspective that I think represents the highest level of security understanding—-a realization that security is there for the company and not the other way around. 

27. What are your thoughts about the Blue team and the red team.?
Answer: A red team is an attacker and blue team the defender. Being on the red team seems fun but being in the blue team is difficult as you need to understand the attacks and methodologies the red team may follow.

28. What is data leakage? How will you detect and prevent it?
Answer: Data leak is when data gets out of the organization in an unauthorized way. Data can get leaked through various ways – emails, prints, laptops getting lost, unauthorized upload of data to public portals, removable drives, photographs, etc. Various controls can be placed to ensure that the data does not get leaked, a few controls can be restricting upload on internet websites, following an internal encryption solution, restricting the mails to the internal network, restriction on printing confidential data, etc.

29. What do you mean by a Botnet? 
A botnet is known to be a network or a group of computers which are affected by malware and are being constantly monitored by a server that throws the commands. The one is in control of the botnet that can impact some serious damage through all those linked computers affected with malware.

30. How does the HTTP control the State?
Answer: This is a tricky question. HTTP doesn’t and will never control the state. Answers like cookies are still better. The job of the cookies is to provide a gateway to what HTTP can’t do. In simpler terms, cookies serve as a hack to what HTTP fails to do.

31. How often should Patch management be performed?
Answer: The patch should be managed as soon as it gets released. For windows – patches released every second Tuesday of the month by Microsoft. It should be applied to all machines not later than 1 month. The same is for network devices, patch as soon as it gets released. Follow a proper patch management process.

32. Describe the working of Traceroute.?
Answer: Small Time To Live (TTL) values are transmitted through packets via traceroute. This process prevents the packets from getting into loops. After the router subtracts from the given packet’s TTL, the packet immediately expires after the TTL reaches absolute zero. After that, the sender is sent messages from Traceroute that exceed the time. When small values of TTL are used, the expiration happens quickly and thus the traceroute generates ICMP messages for identifying the router.

33. What should I do to encrypt my email transmissions?
Answer: Pretty Good Privacy [PGP] is a software that could be used to encrypt email transmissions. It is used to sign, encrypt, decrypt the emails, files, texts, directories, and the whole disk partition. Most of the companies today choose PGP to encrypt their communication.

The PGP uses a secret private key and a public key that is shared by the sender and the receiver. The receiver can verify the identity of the sender and content integrity. The receiver would know if the mail has tampered en route.

Schematic representation of the PGP principle:
Source: Wikipedia

34. Why is using SSH from Windows better?
Answer: SSH is a connection used on different platforms on appliances for the best security. This hardens your security system against any threat and works well with Routers, SFTP, and switches. It works the best with Windows although is compatible with other platforms too.

35. How do you acquire the Cybersecurity related news?
Answer: There are several places where one might get the best cybersecurity news from but it is important to remember not all of it is correct and precise. So, for the best news related to cybersecurity, you can go for Reddit, Team Cymru, Twitter, etc. You have to be on top of the news count so that you don’t wait for one to inform you about the recent changes.

36. Explain risk, vulnerability, and threat?

TIP: A good way to start this answer is by explaining vulnerability, and threat and then risk. Back this up with an easy to understand example.

Vulnerability (weakness) is a gap in the protection efforts of a system, a threat is an attacker who exploits that weakness. Risk is the measure of potential loss when that the vulnerability is exploited by the threat e.g. Default username and password for a server – An attacker can easily crack into this server and compromise it.

37. When do you use tracert/traceroute?
Answer: In case you can’t ping the final destination, tracert will help to identify where the connection stops or gets broken, whether it is a firewall, ISP, router, etc.

38. In a situation where a user needs admin rights on his system to do daily tasks, what should be done – should admin access be granted or restricted?
Answer: Users are usually not provided with admin access to reduce the risk, but in certain cases, the users can be granted admin access. Just ensure that the users understand their responsibility. In case any incident happens, the access should be provided for only limited time post senior management approval and valid business justification.

39. What is the main point of consideration when it comes to the differences between the Stored XXS and the Reflected XXS?
Answer: In the case of Stored XXS, since Stored XXS is stored in a static page, thus, it is directly pulled out and displayed to the user directly as per needed. On the other hand, in Reflected XXS, the user has to send a request first. Now, this request will start running on the browser of the victim’s computer and then will reflect the results from the website or the browser to the user who has sent the request.

40. How do you govern various security objects?
Answer: Various security objects are governed with the help of KPI (Key Performance Indicators). Let us take the example of the windows patch, agreed KPI can be 99%. It means that 99% of the PCs will have the latest or last month’s patch. On similar lines, various security objects can be managed. 

41. Describe the 3 major first steps for securing your Linux server? 

Every system has its security software’s so for securing your Linux, the first three steps are:

1. Auditing: A system scan is performed using a tool called Lynis for auditing. Every category is scanned separately and the hardening index is provided to the auditor for further steps.

2. Hardening: After the audit is complete, the system is hardened depending on the level of security it further needs. It is an important process based on the decision of the auditor.

3. Compliance: The system needs to be checked almost every day for better results and also lesser threats from a security point of view.

42. What is used to hide the message in cryptography?
Answer: The cipher, an algorithm is used to perform the encryption or the decryption. It is used to protect e-mail messages, corporate data, and credit card information.

Only, the sender and the receiver can read the message.

43. Which is more secure? An open source project or a proprietary project?
Answer: The securities of these projects depend mainly on the size of the project, the total number of the developers who are working under this project and the one factor, which is most essential as well as important, is the control of the quality. Just the type of project won’t determine its quality, the inside matter of the corresponding projects will matter.

44. What are your views on the usage of social media in the office?

TIP: Keep an open mind with these kinds of questions.

Social media is acceptable, just ensure content filtering is enabled and uploading features are restricted. Read-only mode is acceptable until the time it does not interfere with work.

45. What problem did it solve?
Answer: All we want to see here is if the color drains from the person’s face. If they panic then we not only know they’re not a programmer (not necessarily bad) but that he’s afraid of programming (bad). I know it’s controversial, but I think that any high-level security person needs at least some programming skills. They don’t need to be a God at it, but they need to understand the concepts and at least be able to muddle through some scripting when required.

46. What are the ways to gain personal achievement?
Answer: Certain basic courses related to cybersecurity are best recommended for any professional irrespective of the job role. A person need not be a cybersecurity specialist to hold the certification. Certain certifications are generic and deal with common and best practices one has to follow to keep safe from the cyber threats.

To be simple and relevant, earning a security certification could be one of personal achievement. It validates your knowledge, skills and helps to be aware of your surroundings and measures to protect from it.

47. HIDS vs NIDS and which one is better and why?
Answer: HIDS is a host intrusion detection system and NIDS is a network intrusion detection system. Both systems work on similar lines. It’s just that the placement is different. HIDS is placed on each host whereas NIDS is placed in the network. For an enterprise, NIDS is preferred as HIDS is difficult to manage, plus it consumes the processing power of the host as well.

48. what’s more important to focus on: threats or vulnerabilities? 
This one is opinion-based, and we all have opinions. Focus on the quality of the argument put forth rather than whether or not they chose the same as you, necessarily. My answer to this is that vulnerabilities should usually be the main focus since we in the corporate world usually have little control over the threats.

Another way to take that, however, is to say that the threats (in terms of vectors) will always remain the same and that the vulnerabilities we are fixing are only the known ones. Therefore we should be applying defense-in-depth based on threat modeling in addition to just keeping ourselves up to date.

Both are true, of course; the key is to hear what they have to say on the matter.
Industry Wisdom

49. How encoding, hashing, and encryption differs from one another.?

1. Encoding: Encoding converts the data in the desired format required for exchange between different systems. This doesn’t convert it into a secret data, but usable data. It can be further decoded through the same tools when necessary.

2. Hashing: This serves for maintaining the integrity of a message or data. This way if any day it is hampered or changed, you will get to know.

3. Encryption: Encryption ensures that the data is secure and one needs a digital verification code or image to open or access it.

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