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10 Questions to Note for Your First Cybersecurity Interview

With attacks like ransomware, malware, social engineering, and more on the rise, virtually every major company and government department rely on a trained team of specialists to help prevent loss from cybercrimes.  Cybersecurity Specialist, Cyber Threat Analyst, Network Security Engineer, Cyber Security Analyst, and more are crucial cybersecurity jobs.

For all newbies out there applying for cybersecurity jobs, this article lists 10 questions to crack a cybersecurity interview.


What is a Firewall and Why is it Used?

This is a basic question that an interviewer may use to gauge your experience level in cybersecurity applications. Show your knowledge and expertise by explaining what it is as well as how it may be used for large-scale organizations.

“A Firewall is a network security system set on the boundaries of the system/network that monitors and controls network traffic. Firewalls are mainly used to protect the system/network from viruses, worms, malware, etc. Firewalls can also prevent remote access and content filtering”.


What is a Traceroute? Why is it Used?

Traceroute is a tool that shows the path of a packet. It lists all the points (mainly routers) that the packet passes through. This is used mostly when the packet is not reaching its destination. Traceroute is used to check where the connection stops or breaks to identify the point of failure.


What is Cryptography?

The interviewer may likely ask this question to evaluate your basic knowledge of the processes of cybersecurity. In your answer, you should include the definition of cryptography and how you have worked with it in the past.

“Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for securing information and communication mainly to protect the data from third parties that the data is not intended for”.


Describe the Differences between IDS and IPS

The interviewer may ask this question as another way to measure your basic skill in system securities. You can answer this by providing your working knowledge of each system function.

“IDS is Intrusion Detection System and it only detects intrusions and the administrator has to take care of preventing the intrusion. Whereas, in IPS i.e., Intrusion Prevention System, the system detects the intrusion and also takes actions to prevent the intrusion”.


What is the Difference between a Threat, a Vulnerability, and a Risk?

Answering this question calls for a deep understanding of cybersecurity and anyone working in the field should be able to give a strong response. You should expect a follow-up question asking which of the three to focus more on. A simple way to put it: a threat is from someone targeting a vulnerability (or weakness) in the organization that was not mitigated or taken care of since it was not properly identified as a risk.


What is the CIA Triad?

Employers might want to get a sense of how you value your role in protecting large operational systems. You might answer by supplying just the basics of what CIA stands for and how it applies to the role.

“CIA stands for confidentiality, integrity, and availability. CIA is a model that is designed to guide policies for information security. It is one of the most popular models used by organizations”.


How is Encryption different from Hashing?

This question should inspire a short conversation about encryption, which gives you the chance to explain your knowledge of it. Though you’re often going to be implementing and choosing between encryption systems rather than building them, it should be something that you know about in theory.

“Both encryption and hashing are used to convert readable data into an unreadable format. The difference is that the encrypted data can be converted back to original data by the process of decryption but the hashed data cannot be converted back to original data”.


What is a Brute Force Attack? How Can You Prevent It?

Every candidate opting for cybersecurity jobs should know this.

“Brute Force is a way of finding out the right credentials by repetitively trying all the permutations and combinations of possible credentials. In most cases, brute force attacks are automated where the tool/software automatically tries to log in with a list of credentials”.


What does your home network look like?

Security people need to know that you follow cybersecurity best practices, in other words, that you have changed the default password on your home router, that you have segmented the home network at least into a segment for gaming and home use and a segment for business use and that, for all your main applications, you enable two-factor authentication and also use a password manager. Newbies need to show that they understand these basic issues and have had them on their radar for at least a few years.

Apart from these theoretical questions, some questions are asked by the interviewer to check your personality and interests like “Why do you want a career in cybersecurity?”, “What aspect of cybersecurity interests you?”, “Why are security teams essential for businesses today?”, etc.

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