Top cybersecurity interview questions

by | Sep 16, 2022 | VAPT | 0 comments

Cybersecurity is the one area of IT that has escaped a downturn. Demand brings competition, so you must be among the best to land a job in cybersecurity.

While possessing the required cybersecurity abilities is the first step, passing the interview is an entirely different story. To help you pass the discussion, we have compiled a list of the most widespread cyber security interview questions and answers.

Top Cybersecurity interview questions

  1. Define Cybersecurity?
  2. What is cryptography?
  3. Difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption?
  4. What do you understand by port scanning?
  5. What is a firewall, and when would one use it?
  6. List the common types of cybersecurity attacks.
  7. What is a three-way handshake?
  8. How is hashing different from encryption?
  9. Difference between VA and PT?
  10. What is a botnet?

Define cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is the defense against cyberattacks on internet-connected systems, including software, hardware, electronic data, etc. In a computing document, it is referred to as protection against unauthorized access.

What is cryptography?

Cryptography is the process of encoding and transmitting confidential data to safeguard information from unauthorized third parties.

Difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption?

Symmetric encryptionAsymmetric encryption
The same key is used for encryption and decryption in symmetric encryption.Asymmetric encryption makes use of distinct keys for encryption and decoding.
Although performance encryption is quick, symmetric encryption makes it more vulnerable.Because of the high computation of asymmetric encryption, encryption is slow.  
Algorithms used such as DES, 3DES, AES, and RC4.Algorithms used such as DES, 3DES, AES, and RC4.
Its primary application is bulk data transmission.It is most frequently applied to the secure exchange of private keys.

What do you understand by Port Scanning?

Port scanning is the method hackers, and administrators use to find open ports and services on a host. Administrators use this approach to check the network’s security policies, while hackers use it to gather data that can be used to identify faults and attack vulnerabilities.

 Types of scan:  Ping Scan, TCP Half-Open, CP Connect, UDP.

What is a firewall, and when would one use it?

A firewall is a network traffic control and monitoring system. It is used to defend the system/network from malware, viruses, worms, and other threats and to block unauthorized access from a private network.

  • A firewall device’s default password should be changed.
  • Turn off the remote administration function.
  • Set up port forwarding for specific programs, such as FTP or web servers, to perform correctly.
  • Installing a firewall on a system with an existing DHCP server will cause problems unless the firewall’s DHCP is disabled.
  • Ensure that the firewall is set up with strong security policies.

List the common types of cybersecurity attacks

The most common cybersecurity attacks used are as follows:

  1. Malware
  2. Phishing
  3. SQL Injection Attack
  4. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  5. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
  6. Denial-of-Service (DoS)
  7. Session Hijacking
  8. Insider Threat

What is a three-way handshake?

In a TCP/IP network, establishing a connection between a host and a client is known as a three-way handshake. The three-step process used by the client and server to exchange packets is known as a three-way handshake. These are the three steps:

  • The user submits an SYN(Synchronize) packet to the server to see if it is online and whether any ports are open.
  • The server will send an SYN-ACK message if the client has open ports.
  • The client will acknowledge the message, which then returns an ACK(Acknowledgment) packet to the server.

How is hashing different from encryption?

Encryption and Hashing are used to turn readable data into an unreadable format. The distinction is that while the hashed data cannot be converted back to the original data, the encrypted data can be decrypted to return to the original data.

Difference between VA and PT?

VAPT is an abbreviation for Vulnerability Assessment Penetration Testing. VAPT refers to security testing aimed at finding and remedying vulnerabilities.

The process of identifying faults in the target is known as vulnerability assessment. The organization knows its system or network has defects or vulnerabilities and wishes to identify and prioritize these flaws for correction.

The process of discovering vulnerabilities in the target is known as penetration testing. In this situation, the business would have implemented all possible security measures and would want to see whether there is any other way that their system or network could be hacked.

What is a botnet?

A botnet is a collection of web devices such as servers, Desktops, mobile devices, and so on that have been infected with and controlled by malware.

It is used to steal data, send spam, launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and more, as well as to let the user access the device and its connection.

What is the difference between IDS and IPS?

IDS stands for Intrusion Detection System, which merely detects intrusions; the administrator is responsible for preventing them. In contrast, the IPS, or Intrusion Prevention System, detects the intrusion and takes action to avoid it.

Explain the CIA triad.

Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability are referred to as CIA. A model called CIA is intended to direct information security policy. It is one of the models that businesses utilize the most frequently.


Only an authorized person should have access to and view the information. It shouldn’t be accessible to anyone not authorized. Strong encryption should be used to protect the data so that even if someone manages to obtain it through hacking, it will not be accessible or understandable.


We are ensuring that no unauthorized party has altered the data. Data integrity ensures that unauthorized individuals cannot corrupt or alter data.


The user should have access to the data anytime they need it. It is essential to take care of hardware maintenance, regular upgrades, data backups and recovery, and network blockages.

Difference between HIDS and NIDS?

to identify intrusions. The only distinction is that the HIDS is set up on a specific host or device. It examines the traffic of a particular device and suspicious system activity. NIDS, on the other hand, is network-based. It monitors all network devices’ traffic.

Describe SSL Encryption

A security method called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) establishes encrypted connections between a web server and a browser. It is used to protect data privacy and information in online transactions.

What is two-factor authentication?

When a user gives two authentication factors to secure both their user credentials and the resources they are attempting to access, this is known as two-factor authentication, dual-factor authentication, or two-step verification.

Public services like Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and others can use two-factor authentication to provide another layer of security to accounts that are already password-protected.

What is the difference between stored and reflected XSS?

Saved XSS Attacks: Attacks in which the injected scripts are persistently stored on the target servers. When the victim requests the saved information, the malicious code is received from the server.

Reflected XSS Attacks: In this case, the user must first send the request, after which it will begin operating on the victim’s browser and reflect browser results to the user who sent the request.

What is a brute force attack?

Brute Force Attack is a trial and erroneous technique used by application programs to decrypt encrypted information such as data encryption keys or passwords rather than employing intellectual strategies. It is a method of identifying the correct credentials by repeatedly attempting all conceivable approaches.

What is the OSI Model? Explain any two layers of the OSI model.

A model that explains how applications communicate over a network is known as the OSI model.

Physical Layer: In charge of transmitting digital data from sender to receiver via communication.

Data Link Layer: Controls data transfer to and from the physical link. It is also in charge of encoding and decoding data bits.

Network Layer: In charge of packet forwarding and providing network communication routing paths.

Transport Layer: In charge of end-to-end network communication. It divides the data from the previous layer and sends it to the Network Layer, ensuring that all data has arrived safely at the receiver’s end.

Session Layer: This layer manages the connection between the sender and the receiver. It is in charge of initiating, sustaining, and synchronizing interaction between the sender and the receiver, as well as starting, ending, and managing the session.

Instead of sending raw datagrams or packets, the Presentation Layer works by displaying the data in an appropriate manner and data structure.

The application layer acts as a connection point between both the application and the network. It focuses on communication between processes and provides a communication interface.

What is DNS monitoring?

A service called DNS (Domain Name System) transforms domain names that can be read by humans into IP addresses that computers can read.

It enables the hosting of websites with memorable domain names. DNS monitoring is simply the monitoring of DNS records to ensure that traffic is appropriately routed to your website, electronic communication, services, and so on.

What distinguishes salting from hashing?

Data is converted to a fixed-length value using the one-way function of hashing, mostly used for authentication.

Salting is an additional stage in the hashing process that gives passwords that modify the generated hash value greater value.

How can “Man-in-the-Middle Attacks” be avoided?

  • Wireless access points should have greater WAP/WEP encryption to prevent unwanted users.
  • To protect sensitive information, use a VPN to create a secure environment. Key-based encryption is used.
  • Several layers of a stack must utilize public key pair-based authentication to verify that you are communicating the correct information or not.
  • To securely communicate over HTTP using public-private key exchange, HTTPS must be used.

What do you mean by Risk, vulnerability, and threat in a network?

  • A threat is someone who can cause harm to a system or an organization.
  • Vulnerability: A defect in a system that a future hacker could exploit.
  • Risk: The possibility of loss or damage if a threat exploits a vulnerability.

Explain the XSS attack and how to prevent it.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is a type of cyberattack in which hackers inject harmful client-side scripts into websites. XSS can hijack sessions, steal cookies, modify the DOM, perform remote code execution, and crash the server, among other things.

  • Verify user inputs
  • Clean up user inputs
  • Special characters should be encoded.
  • Make use of anti-XSS services/tools.
  • Use the XSS HTML Filter.

What exactly is LAN port blocking?

The technique of prohibiting users from using various services within a local area network is known as port blocking.

They are stopping the source from preventing port access to the destination node. Because the program operates on ports, ports restrict access and plug security gaps in the network infrastructure.

What precisely is cognitive cybersecurity?

Cognitive cybersecurity uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology based on human brain processes to detect threats and defend physical and digital networks. Self-learning security systems replicate the human brain using data mining, pattern recognition, and natural language processing, albeit in a high-powered computer model.

What is SQL Injection, and how can you avoid it?

SQL Injection (SQLi) is a code injection attack in which an attacker manipulates the data being supplied to the server to execute malicious SQL queries to control a web application’s database server, allowing the attacker to access, change, and delete unauthorized data. This technique is mostly used to gain control of database servers.

  • Make use of prepared statements.
  • Make use of Stored Procedures.
  • Validate the user’s input

What is a DDOS assault, and how can it be stopped and prevented?

A distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt ordinary network traffic by flooding the server with many requests and rendering the server unresponsive to the relevant recommendations. Because the demands emanate from multiple unauthorized sources, they are referred to as “distributed denial of service assaults.”

  • Create a denial of the service response strategy.
  • Safeguard your network infrastructure.
  • Use basic network security.
  • Keep a solid network architecture.
  • Recognize the Warning Signs.

What distinguishes a false positive from a false negative in IDS?

A false positive is regarded as a false alarm, whereas a false negative is considered the most challenging state. When an intrusion detection system (IDS) sounds the alarm in response to legitimate network activity, this is known as a false positive.

It happens when an intrusion detection system (IDS) fails to detect malicious network traffic.

What exactly is a cyber risk assessment?

A cybersecurity risk assessment identifies information assets that are vulnerable to cyber-attacks (such as customer data, hardware, laptops, and so on) and examines the various threats that could affect such investments. Organizations generally use it to detect, evaluate, and prioritize risks.

How can you change or remove the BIOS password?

  • Taking out the CMOS battery
  • By utilizing software
  • Utilizing the MS-DOS command
  • Using the motherboard jumper
  • Using the Backdoor BIOS password

What exactly is the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)?

ARP is a protocol for mapping IP network addresses to physical addresses such as Ethernet addresses. It changes 48-bit addresses from 32-bit addresses and vice versa. This is necessary because MAC addresses are 48 bits long, whereas the most general level of internet protocol (IP) that we use today is 32 bits long.

What does “security configuration error” mean?

If an application, network, or device is vulnerable to attack because of an unsecured configuration choice, there may be a security misconfiguration. Simple solutions include leaving the default username and password alone.

What is cyber security patch management?

Patch management is a procedure used in cyber security to keep the network and computer software up-to-date and enable them to fend off low-level cyberattacks. Any software that is vulnerable to technical flaws uses it.

As soon as it is released, patch management should be implemented. For instance, as soon as a patch for Windows is issued, it should be applied to all machines.

Best patch management tools or software?

  • Atera
  • NinjaRMM
  • Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
  • Acronis Cyber Protect
  • ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
  • Microsoft System Center
  • Automox
  • SmartDeploy