Interview Questions For A Job As Cybersecurity Professional Part 1
By Kamal Jacob
Are you preparing for an interview for your next cybersecurity job? It would have been great if you knew what questions your interviewer would ask you! Unfortunately, we do not know, and we won’t be able to tell you what questions you will face in your next cybersecurity interview. Don’t you worry! To help you as much as possible, we have carefully selected top cybersecurity questions.
In this article, we will see answers of cybersecurity questions which have high chances of getting asked. We do not recommend you sticking to these answers and giving a canned response. You can consider this as your interview guide. Let’s have a look the questions which can help you clear your interview.
What do you mean by Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the combination of best practices to protect systems, networks, web applications and programs. It also involves protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and information from attack, damage or unauthorized access.
What are the differences between encoding, encryption, and hashing?
Encoding is a method of transforming data from one format another so that it is readable by computer systems or any external process. It can easily be decoded by publicly available decoding algorithms, so it can not be used for securing data. ASCII, BASE64, and UNICODE are some of the widely used encoding techniques.
Encryption ensures the confidentiality of the data while the data is being transferred across networks such as ID and Password. On the other hand, hashing is used for ensuring the integrity of the data.
In summary, encoding and encryption are reversible. Encoding can easily be decoded, and hashing can be cracked using rainbow tables and but is not reversible.
Which programming languages you know?
The answer to this question can’t be the same for everyone as each one of us will be having different programming and scripting skills. Cybersecurity experts test web applications, mobile applications, and internal and external networks.
What is the difference between vulnerability, threat, and risk?
Vulnerability is a security weakness or loophole present in a system, an attacker who tries to exploit that vulnerability is a threat. After the vulnerability is exploited, the measure of potential loss can be identified as a risk.
For example: Having week ID and password for a web server is a security weakness. If an attacker can compromise it via successful brute force attack, it comes high risk.
How do you stay up-to-date with the Cybersecurity news?
I follow cybersecurity blogs such as PentesterLab to get updates about the latest vulnerabilities and CVEs. I also check Exploit Databases to get insights about the latest exploits. For regular cybersecurity news, I follow a website known as The Hacker News.
Be sure to check and follow a few security forums so that you get regular updates on what is happening in the industry and about the latest trends and incidents.
Which certifications do you have?
Just like we saw one answer above, answer to this question will also differ from person to person as each person will have different certifications from different organisations. Usually, cybersecurity professional take one or the other professional training. Certifications allow your interviewer to identify your areas of strength.
Certified Ethical Hacker (Practical) and Certified Security Analyst (Practical) from EC-Council and Offensive Security Certified Professional are some of the widely known and widely accepted certifications across the globe. These can give you an edge in your interview.
The organization has been hit by (any malware). How will you protect our organization?
First, I will identify which systems have been highly affected by the malware attack. I will disconnect the infected systems from the external and internal network to prevent further damage. After that, enterprise-grade anti-malware can be used to repair and recover those systems. Ideally, an organization should have an effective network monitoring tool, a hardware firewall, IPS and reliable and up-to-date anti-malware programs in place.
How is Vulnerability Assessment different from Penetration Testing?
Vulnerability Assessment mainly focuses on discovering and identifying security weakness in web applications, mobile applications and networks. Penetration testing is a next step or next phase in which the tester or attacker tries to exploit the identified vulnerability via malicious payloads. After the exploit, penetration tester tries to gather data by having unauthorized access to the system.
What is your approach when it comes to web application Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing?
I follow phases of Penetration Testing combines with OWASP Testing Guide V4 when it comes to web application Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing. After the scope of work is defined, the first thing I do is reconnaissance which includes gathering as much as information about the target. Once that is completed, I spider of my target to identify the entry-points in the web application.
Then I move to the vulnerability identification phase in which I inject payload in the parameters to see if any vulnerabilities are present or not. If vulnerabilities are present then I will try to exploit those vulnerabilities by penetration testing. In the end, I will prepare proof-of-content and security assessment report.
What tools do you use for testing the security of web applications?
I use tools such as BurpSuite for testing web application and perform dynamic analysis of mobile applications. For testing databases, I use a tool known as SQLMap. For mobile apps, I use Smali, APKInspector and Mobile Security Framework. In terms of the operating system, I mainly use Kali Linux.
What are the types of XSS, and how will you mitigate it?
Three types of Cross-Site Scripting attacks are Reflected XSS, Stored or Persistent XSS and DOM-based XSS. There are multiple ways of preventing XSS attacks. In client-side, input validation should be implemented. Server-side mitigation techniques can be input filtering, input sanitization, and implementing a Content security policy response header.
How a stored XSS is different from reflected XSS?
The payload of Stored XXS is stored in the database of web application and is displayed on a page the user directly as the victim visits the webpage. In reflected XSS, the payload created by the attacker has to be a part of the request which is sent to the webserver. The request should be sent using the victim’s web browser.
Can you explain privilege escalation and its types?
Privilege escalation is a security vulnerability which allows a user to get access to more functionality or resources of an application. Usually, such unauthorized request to resources or functionality is denied by the application. There are two types of privilege escalation;
In vertical privilege escalation, a lower privileged user accesses functions or resources allowed only for higher privilege users. Normal user being able to execute admin level functions can be an example of vertical privilege escalation.
In horizontal privilege escalation, a user accesses information or resources allowed to another same level user. An internet baking user being able to access the online account of another internet baking user can be an example of vertical privilege escalation.
What are the most common web application security risks?
According to OWASP Top 10 2017, injection flaws such as SQL and NoSQL injection, OS command injection and LDAP injection are some of the most common web application security risks.
A wireless network is secured with WPA2/PSK, WPS is disabled, and SSID is hidden. MAC Filtering and AP Isolation are enabled. Attacker's MAC is not whitelisted. The wireless access point is connected with five devices. After having a WiFi password, which attacks, an attacker will use to connect to the router?
First, the attacker will monitor and get the MAC addresses of the whitelisted or connected devices to the router. After getting those MAC addresses, the attacker will perform MAC Spoofing attack to be able to connect to the wireless access point and may perform further attacks.
How do you define the severity of security vulnerabilities?
We can define the severity of security vulnerabilities by giving them a CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) numerical score between 0 to 10. CVSS is widely used by organizations across the globe. The numerical score can also be represented qualitatively in levels which are low, medium, high, and critical.
Best practices to follow during the interview process:
1. Gives examples wherever possible.
2. Be ready for situation & analogy based questions. If you don’t know the answer, try to put your views forward & be open to communicate about it.
3. Gives answer precisely and in detail.
4. Keep yourself updated with the latest security vulnerabilities and new testing methodologies in the domain.
We hope that these questions helped!
We really hope that these cybersecurity interview questions will help you to crack your next interview. This was the part one of our series of cybersecurity interview questions. We are soon coming with part two of the same topic in which we will explore even more questions. Stay tuned!
Planning to advance your career?
Manipal ProLearn is a leading learning platform which gives you an opportunity to build new skills. You can take industry-relevant course to take your career to new heights. You can also choose from learning paths which will offer you a customised set of courses to ensure that you become a successful and future-ready professional. Our next-generation education platform, EduNxt will provide you with an immersive learning experience.
Build a successful career in cybersecurity – learn penetration testing
We recommend you to explore our latest cybersecurity courses. Manipal ProLearn offers industry-relevant courses such as Master Certificate in Cyber Security and Certification in Web technologies.
Was this article helpful? Share it with others!
We hope that this article helped you to prepare for your next cybersecurity interview. If you liked this article, feel free to share with people who will benefit from it.