MockQuestions

Cyber Security Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Cyber Security interview, here are 47 interview questions and answer examples.

Cyber Security was written by and updated on June 5th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 47

Can you recall a time your manager was unavailable when a situation arose that demanded an immediate resolution? How did you react?

How to Answer

When responding to this question, emphasize your willingness to take the initiative rather than complain about the manager's absence. Explain why you felt the need to take action and describe how you did so to resolve the immediate situation and then review the issue and your actions with your manager. Be prepared to answer a follow-up question about what you would do differently next time.

Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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47 Cyber Security Interview Questions & Answers

  • Behavioral

    1. Can you recall a time your manager was unavailable when a situation arose that demanded an immediate resolution? How did you react?

      How to Answer

      When responding to this question, emphasize your willingness to take the initiative rather than complain about the manager's absence. Explain why you felt the need to take action and describe how you did so to resolve the immediate situation and then review the issue and your actions with your manager. Be prepared to answer a follow-up question about what you would do differently next time.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      While this appears to be a question about leadership, it addresses your willingness to take the initiative. The interviewer is interested in this because it helps them determine your future growth potential. Organizations like to hire individuals who continually improve themselves and develop new skills, allowing them to advance within the company.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "Recently, my manager was away on vacation, and I was asked to fill in for them. A conflict arose between our team and another department that demanded an immediate resolution. The manager from the other department insisted we do what they wanted since our manager was not available. Knowing this was not the best solution, I presented an alternative and recommended that we discuss this with the senior leadership team to get their input. The other manager agreed. Working with senior leaders, we developed a compromise that resolved the conflict. When my manager returned from vacation, I briefed them on the incident, and they agreed I had acted appropriately."

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    2. Please describe a situation where you needed to adapt a process, procedure, or technology differently from how you usually did things.

      How to Answer

      When responding to the question, provide the interviewer with a brief description of a situation where you encountered a new challenge and how you addressed it by learning a new process or procedure or acquiring new skills. Describe how the way you reacted to this situation benefited the company.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Interviewers are curious to learn how flexible and adaptable you are and if you are willing to learn and expand your knowledge. They know that the job you are being hired for will evolve, and you'll be required to learn new methodologies, processes, and procedures to continue to do the work effectively. They want to ensure that you are capable of this.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "Recently, our company switched to a new random password generating system. I was required to explain this to our internal clients and help them set up their password management programs. Having never done this myself, I first had to learn the system to explain it to the staff. After doing this and gaining confidence in my knowledge, I put together a tutorial and presented it to the entire organization. They quickly adopted the new system, which reduced the number of unauthorized logins by 20% during the first year."

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    3. Can you recall a time you were assigned a task that wasn't a part of your job description? How did you handle this, and what was the outcome?

      How to Answer

      The best way to answer this is to start by stating that you are always open to pitching in wherever you can to help the company get the job done. You should also emphasize that you are open to learning new skills that will help both you and the company. Then describe an incident to illustrate this.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Some employees are reluctant to do anything that is not part of their job description. However, in today's fast-paced business environment, people are often asked to do extra work that may not have been part of their original assignment when they were hired. Interviewers seek to understand how you react when asked to do something not part of your normal job and determine how flexible you are.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I have worked for several small companies where the employees wore many hats. I enjoyed this experience because it allowed me to learn new skills as an information security manager outside of my profession. This helped me grow my portfolio of skills and contributed to the company's success. In one case, I was asked to attend a trade show to research new information security products from a technical perspective. Even though I had no experience in this area, I accepted the assignment with enthusiasm. Attending the show and interfacing with the suppliers taught me a great deal about how products are developed and marketed, which helped me evaluate new product features and make recommendations for adopting them to our management team."

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

  • Behavioral

    4. Can you give me an example of when you had to work with someone difficult to get along with? How did you handle the situation?

      How to Answer

      This is a behavioral question to which the interviewer expects a 'STAR' formatted answer: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Interviewers ask behavioral questions to determine how you react to challenging situations in the workplace. Your description of how you handled this in a previous job will indicate what you will do if hired by the organization. Behavioral questions typically involve challenges, relationships, conflict, or communication errors.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      This is a behavioral question to which the interviewer expects a 'STAR' formatted answer: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Interviewers ask behavioral questions to determine how you react to challenging situations in the workplace. Your description of how you handled this in a previous job will indicate what you will do if hired by the organization. Behavioral questions typically involve challenges, relationships, conflict, or communication errors.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Behavioral

    5. Please tell me about a time when something major didn't go according to plan at work.

      How to Answer

      Since this is a behavioral question, you should utilize the 'STAR' response methodology. Make sure to stay positive, don't blame anyone else for the problem, and don't take full credit for the solution. Demonstrate how you worked with others to resolve the situation. As with any behavioral question, discuss the results you attained and possibly the lessons learned, especially if the outcome wasn't optimum.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Responding to situations that don't go according to plan is a key characteristic that interviewers look for. They will ask you a question like this to determine how you react to unforeseen circumstances. This provides them an indication of your flexibility, responsiveness, and creativity.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Behavioral

    6. Can you describe a time you were asked to do something you had never done before? How did you react?

      How to Answer

      Provide an example of a situation where you were asked to perform a new task. Explain how you readily accepted the job and gathered resources to complete the task. Then describe the results of your efforts and what you learned from the experience. Your answer should follow the 'STAR' response pattern: Situation, Task, Action, Results.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Interviewers will ask this question to determine how you react to new situations and your attitude toward learning new skills and procedures. Employers prefer employees who are willing to learn new skills and thereby contribute more to the organization's business objectives. Curiosity and continuous learning are traits interviewers look for.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Behavioral

    7. Tell me about a difficult decision you had to make in one of your previous roles.

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, choose a situation in which you made a decision involving a personal sacrifice or two equally undesirable outcomes. Explain the choice you made, your rationale, and the outcome. Then briefly discuss what, if anything, you would have done differently based on the outcome.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The interviewer is looking for examples of your decision-making process and how you approach difficult challenges or situations. They want to learn more about how decisive you are and whether you are willing to make difficult choices. The interviewer hopes to see that you are willing to put the organization's interests ahead of your personal feelings.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    8. When was the last occasion you asked for direct feedback from your manager?

      How to Answer

      Requesting feedback from the people you work with demonstrates your desire to improve. Most employees avoid receiving feedback, fearing that it will be negative. By actively seeking it, you demonstrate courage, a willingness to be open to criticism, and the initiative to improve. Describe a time you felt you didn't complete a task properly and sought feedback to correct your process so you'd do better next time.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The interviewer will ask this question to separate you from most applicants. This is because many professionals don't ever seek feedback from their supervisors. Interviewers prefer candidates who constantly seek feedback so they can immediately correct any deficiencies they may have or incorrect actions they are taking. The best professionals know that the only way to get better news is to engage their colleagues for feedback and suggestions.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    9. Can you tell me what your home network consists of?

      How to Answer

      Since discovery questions are general, there is no way to prepare for these. The best way to respond is frankly and honestly. Keep in mind that the information you provide the interviewer may be used for additional questions throughout the interview. This allows you to guide the interviewer toward areas you're comfortable talking about.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The interviewer may ask you several different discovery questions to learn more about your background beyond what they read in your resume when beginning an interview. These questions provide them with the information they can use throughout the interview. These questions also begin the conversation, creating a dialogue between you and the interviewer. Another goal of these questions is to relax you, so the interviewer gets a clearer picture of how you respond when not feeling stressed because of the interview.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    10. What is a professional achievement that you are proud of?

      How to Answer

      When responding to this question, try to have an achievement in mind that will demonstrate how you can help the interviewer's organization achieve one of its business objectives or goals. Employers hire individuals to help them make money, save money, or save time. Demonstrating how you can do this with all your answers during an interview will help convince the interviewer that you are the right person for this job.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      If your resume or CV is well written, it will detail some of your significant achievements and the contributions you've made to your previous employers. The interviewer asks this question to determine which of these you're most proud of and why. They hope to learn about your efforts to achieve the objective and how they contributed to your organization's success or business objectives.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    11. Describe a situation where you needed to persuade someone about an idea or process.

      How to Answer

      You can answer this question using the STAR format, describing how you seek to understand other people's points of view, acknowledging them, then offering them an alternative and the rationale behind it. You can then describe how you addressed any questions and concerns they had and developed a win-win scenario with a positive outcome.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The interviewer will ask you this question because they are interested in learning about your communication and leadership skills and how you apply them to accomplish the tasks required in this role. Persuading other people about your ideas and suggestions is a valuable skill. Interviewers recognize that this will make you more effective in the job and reduce conflict between you and other team members.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    12. Why did you choose to interview with our organization rather than with others in our industry?

      How to Answer

      If you expect this question during every interview, you can be prepared to answer it based on your research of the company before the interview. Mention something about the company's recent achievements, business prospects, or work culture. You may also want to refer to the company's challenges and how you can help them address these based on your skills and experience.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      You should anticipate being asked this question in every interview. Employers want to know why you chose their specific company to interview with. They prefer to hire employers who are passionate about their work and the organization. This question is also meant to determine how much research you have done about the company.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    13. What's the most interesting thing about you that I didn't see on your resume?

      How to Answer

      You can answer this question by giving the interviewer information about yourself that is not controversial and will support your qualifications for the position. Examples may be musical talent, an interesting hobby, or an unusual experience you had. Your research about the organization and its culture will help you prepare for this question.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Interviewers like to ask this question to learn more about your personality and determine whether you will fit into their corporate environment. By inviting you to the interview, they've already indicated that you have the skills and qualifications necessary to perform this job. The purpose of the interview is to confirm this and see how well you will fit into their culture.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    14. Tell me about an aspect of your profession that makes you the most satisfied, energized, and productive at work.

      How to Answer

      This is a great question to ask yourself before beginning your job search. It will help you target specific jobs that you enjoy doing and will therefore be good at. This will enable you to answer this question when asked by an interviewer by simply describing a task you enjoyed working on related to the job you are applying for.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      This question is meant to uncover your passion and what you enjoy doing. Interviewers know that people do their best work when they are passionate about what they do. They will ask questions like this to discover if you are truly passionate about this job or just doing it for the money.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    15. What motivated you to make a move from your current role?

      How to Answer

      When answering questions like this, be positive and explain that you are moving towards something new, not away from something old. Discuss your desire to be challenged and the rewards you will get by helping a new organization achieve its objectives. Also, talk about the opportunity to improve yourself by acquiring new skills and experiences in a new position.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Interviewers will ask this, knowing it is a potential 'trick' question that may prompt you to speak poorly of your current job, organization, or supervisor. They know that if you do this in your current situation, you will likely do it if you elect to leave their organization. Interviewers seek to hire candidates who are positive and move toward new opportunities rather than away from bad ones.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Discovery

    16. What's a misconception your coworkers have about you, and why do you believe they feel this way?

      How to Answer

      Since the interviewer is asking you to reveal either a real weakness or behavior that appears to be a weakness, it may be hard to answer this question. Your answer should either point out a minor flaw that you are working to correct or discuss a strength your coworkers and managers are unaware of. In any case, remain positive when answering this question.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      This may be a trick question to get you to identify a weakness you have or are perceived to have. Interviewers will ask this to uncover a weakness or determine how self-aware you are. They also want to know if you'll answer this question positively or say something negative about yourself or your coworkers.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Leadership

    17. Can you give me an example of a time you led by example and describe what you did and how your team reacted?

      How to Answer

      Since this is a behavioral question, format your answer in the STAR framework by first describing a Situation and the Task you were required to complete. Then, describe how you Acted by demonstrating the behavior you needed the team to exhibit. Finally, discuss the outcome of the project or task and what your team learned from the example you set. Make sure you communicate how you led by example and how this motivated the team to accomplish the assigned task.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Interviewers ask this question to prompt you to talk about your leadership style, hoping you will describe how you lead from the front by example rather than from the back by exercising your authority. They recognize that teams perform better when they believe in their leadership and are willing to follow their example. By asking this question, the interviewer can discern whether you will be an effective leader.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    18. How will you detect an incident or data breach, and what steps do you take to prevent it from happening?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      There are many software and hardware detection systems in the market that help prevent incidents and data breaches. Hiring managers will ask operational questions about detection and how they start. They expect you to answer by describing the methodologies you use to employ intrusion detection systems and the success you have had with these. Providing concrete examples of your work will convince the manager that you are up to this task and can do the work for which they are hiring you.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      You can answer this question by explaining to the manager that organizations need to change their mindset about how detection is addressed. This will give you points in the interview. Cyber experts should be able to articulate the procedures involved in tracking an intruder and where most companies fail with their detection systems. Tell the manager how much you enjoy your work and how proud you are of setting up and maintaining environments with 0% intrusions due to your security strategy and vision.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    19. What steps would you recommend our employees take to prevent identity theft?

      How to Answer

      You should anticipate this question during every interview you attend. You can prepare your answer by creating a list of easy-to-follow measures that will help individuals protect their identity, both on the job and in their personal lives. Your ability to describe how you would do this will convince the interviewer that you are capable of performing this job and would be an asset to the organization. As with any operational question, keep your answer brief and to the point, and always be prepared for a follow-up question.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Employers expect cybersecurity professionals to perform a wide variety of tasks within the organization. In addition to taking specific measures to protect the organization's data, cyber security personnel is also expected to educate the employees about protecting their personal and the organization's information. The interviewer will ask you about your knowledge of preventing identity theft to ensure that you can perform this function. This will help protect the employees, which in turn keeps the organization's information safe.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    20. What are the various ways to inform employees about information security policies and procedures?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Anyone in IT leadership responsible for establishing and maintaining company policy and procedures for security needs to ensure that there's a system in place for monitoring corporate computers and mobile devices to protect against email viruses, malware, and data breaches. You'll find that hiring managers tend to spend a bit more time on this question because they want to gauge your level of confidence on how you implement these practices across the company and how you communicate the procedures to all employees. It's not uncommon for a manager to ask you to talk about communicating effective ways to identify phishing emails, transferring confidential files securely, password management tips, and applying privacy and security updates for all employees.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Since communication is a key sauce skill hiring managers look for in prospective employees, you can use this question to demonstrate your skills in this area. A good way to respond would be by relating an experience you had with a previous employer in which you communicated the organization's cyber security policies and procedures and how important was to adhere to these. The experience you share with the manager will be a reflection of your capabilities and may IP show that you can think outside the box. This helps the manager see the level of detail you go through to protect your company's information security assets and employees.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    21. Give me your opinion on Blockchain technology, and how do you think it will revolutionize cyber security?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Since Blockchain was introduced to the market, security technologists have been busy keeping Blockchain transactions secure through distributed networks so people can use bitcoin or crypto-currency as a payment gateway. Hiring managers, especially in the finance/banking industries, are well aware of this technology, so when they ask this question, they are looking for your opinion on how it applies to cyber security. They expect you to be well versed in this area and to be able to respond with a strong, fact-based opinion that examples and presidents can support.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      If you have experience working in an environment that uses Blockchain, showcase that experience in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd. For example, use a scenario (without giving away sensitive company information) where you used it and how you could protect web servers and ID systems so the transactions were safe and secure. If you have limited knowledge of Blockchain, show your eagerness to learn the technology and how your skills would apply in those situations.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    22. In a situation where a user needs admin rights on his system, what protocol do you follow to grant or restrict admin access?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Hiring managers ask this common question to confirm that you limit the number of users accessing sensitive data. They want to know if you follow security protocols and best practices for roles and privileges. In an interview, you might hear the term (Greenplum). Greenplum is a database system that manages access to those databases using roles. Giving an example of some challenges you had with restricting access for a good reason and then granting access after approval shows the manager how well you followed protocol.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      There are numerous occasions when someone needs an important document for something like a proposal, and the only place the data needed is on a server or drive that requires administrative access. If you've ever needed to access folders or files that are locked or inaccessible, you understand this issue. When answering this question, you need to point out that you always follow protocol when granting admin-level permission to a user. This demonstrates your adherence to company cyber security policies, and your understanding of how having admin access can cause serious security breaches. You may want to note that your old and two exceptions to this role, but only with the appropriate approval by individuals with authority to grant this.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I occasionally encounter this situation at ****. If access is needed as a one and done I dispatch a tech to assist the user if is needed on an ongoing basis I have the data owner of the unit request the access from us and state for how long. On a larger organization, it would be the department head. Once we review the ticket I usually have the user moved to a different staff network that we have reserved for special cases, that network has its own firewall in front and a NIDS too and we use DAC to assign back access to only the resources needed by the employee. After the period of time ended, we moved back the user to its default privileges which are based on his group and role. This allows us to keep the attack surface area as restricted as possible."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Fantastic! You've clearly outlined how you all restrict admin access to meet different needs and minimize the attack surface. The confidence in your answer makes it clear that you're comfortable working with this protocol.

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  • Operational

    23. How do you assess the difference between a cyber threat, vulnerability, and risk?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      When assessing a threat, vulnerability, and risk, there are several factors to consider. Let's take a deeper dive into what these are and how to be prepared to answer questions that come up in an interview. In simple terms, a threat refers to a circumstance or event with the potential to cause harm by way of an outcome. One example could be a phishing attack that allows the attacker access to steal private or confidential information for personal gain. Vulnerability simply means a weakness in a system. One example is an attacker planting a cross-site script to gain control over sensitive data within a network infrastructure. Lastly, in this case, a threat is defined as a threat probability followed by potential loss. It is important to note that a hiring manager might ask a combined question or a singular question. This means they may just ask about vulnerability or just a threat question to move the interview along. It's best to be prepared for all three questions anyway. The hiring manager is looking to achieve a couple of things here. They want to see how well you can articulate all three definitions (provided they ask all three questions) and how deep your understanding is within these three areas.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      The best approach to responding to this question is to define each issue the interviewer asks you about. You can then begin to compare and contrast them, noting the differences between each of them and how you would prepare or respond to these. You may want to provide the interview with examples of a cyber threat, vulnerability, and risk that you've encountered in your previous positions and how you dealt with each of these. If the interviewer asks a follow-up question about any of these topics, it indicates they have a special interest and may have already encountered them or are anticipating they will.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    24. How do you protect connected mobile devices on your network from cyber attacks?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Mobile and connected devices are becoming a way of life in the corporate world. Network/Systems and Cyber Security engineers have to be on the defensive regarding mobile and connected devices that enter their workplace. They don't know if a smartphone, for example, has a malicious app on an employee's phone and if unknowingly having that can compromise their networks or systems. This is a question that an interviewer will likely ask. They may go as far as asking what kind of setup you have at home for your connected devices. A hiring manager will ask this to see how well protected you are at home and if you apply these same practices and principles at work. It's important that you are aware of the types of attacks that can occur on mobile and connected devices. As an example, here's a list of potential topics that may come up during an interview.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Before responding to the interviewer's question, you may want to ask a clarifying question. Are they asking about how you protect connected mobile devices on the organization's network, or are they interested in how you do this for your personal devices at home? Once you better understand the question, you can begin to answer by describing your techniques and why you use these. You don't need to go into great detail; just describe your overall strategy and any special measures you employ. The interviewer will ask you a follow-up question if they need more information or want to explore the topic in more detail.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      User-Submitted Answer

      "By using a Mobile Device Management platform and having endpoint security software such as Sophos InterceptX. In addition to all security measures, you should normally take on all mobile devices such as geofencing, encryption, storage segmentation where applicable, and even the use of cloud technology to working data from being stored on the device."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Well done! Your answer is specific enough to assure the interviewer that you have expertise in protecting mobile devices from cyberattacks because you've listed specific software and additional security measure that help protect valuable information.

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  • Operational

    25. Do you have a Cyber Security Incident Response Plan?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      First of all, all companies should have a Cyber Security Incident Response Plan. If you've worked in Information Security for any amount of time, you should be familiar with Incident Response. The make-up of an incident response plan will probably include the following components: A.) An Incident Response Team, B.) A Workforce Continuity Plan, and C.) A summary or inventory of tools and technologies within the environment. It's fair to say that an interviewer will likely want to know what part of the Incident Response plan you are responsible for if a cyber attack were to happen or if a critical security event has been detected.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Give some thought as to how you would respond to this question. We suggest you give the interviewer some insight into how the plan was developed and if you had any involvement or input in putting the plan together. This tells the interviewer that you were an instrumental part of the planning process from planning to executing this plan. Make sure to include a description of what parts of the plan you are responsible for if an incident occurs.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    26. What are your contingency protocols if your company gets hacked?

      How to Answer

      You can answer this question by describing your actions after discovering that a breach has occurred within your organization. The first thing should always be to notify your customers immediately. By law, you are required to inform customers whose data has been compromised. Every company should have a contingency and communication plan in case this happens. This is a very common question that almost always comes up in an interview. There are several ways to respond to this question. The responses that will get you points in the interview highlight your steps when such an incident occurs. It will help to mention that you are an important part of this process and that you oversee each step to make sure you are following the law and company policy.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      One of the key functions of a cyber security professional is to respond to incidents in which the company's information and security are threatened. The interviewer expects you to have a definitive plan you can use if this occurs. They may also be interested in whether your plan is similar to the one their company uses or if there are additional steps you include that help mediate the situation more efficiently. Being able to describe the plan and the steps you take will help the interviewer determine if you're qualified for this role.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    27. What is a false positive and false negative alert in the case of Intrusion Detection Systems?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Every company with an intrusion detection system will likely come across a false positive or false negative. If you've ever done test cases for your company, and the results gave you a false positive or false negative, it could be because of a software bug, a hardware failure, or perhaps the functionality is not working properly. In any case, the hiring manager will ask this question to gauge if this problem is caused by manual intervention or a failure of the systems.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, t's important to highlight your knowledge and understanding of this topic by talking about the steps you take to monitor the reliability of the hardware and software and use corrective actions to prevent future alerts of this kind. For example, did you have to do further testing or change the code or functionality in the software to correct this problem? You can use an example from one of your previous jobs to illustrate your proficiency in this area and how you go about determining if your intrusion detection system is providing a false negative or false positive.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    28. Which user applications have you found are most susceptible to being hacked?

      How to Answer

      If you were to look at data going back for the last 10 years, you'd find that a majority of applications that were hacked are in the banking and finance industry. This is important because if the employment prospect you are applying to is in this industry, you'll likely be asked this question. Answering this question with knowledge about what type of applications get hacked the most will help the interviewer understand the depth of your knowledge on this subject. A good way to start answering these types of questions is to give examples of recent hacks in the industry of the company you are interviewing with. To really show your knowledge on this topic, give the interviewer a brief on what industries made changes that were implemented to avoid this from happening again.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The interviewer will ask you this question for two reasons. First, they are genuinely interested in the applications that tend to be hacked and want to see if their organization uses any of these. The second is to check your knowledge about cyber security and determine if you understand which are the most vulnerable applications. They expect you to know this and be able to describe your strategy for protecting these applications and the organization's entire IT infrastructure.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    29. What practices do you have in place to monitor and protect against suspicious malware, ransomware, and phishing activity?

      How to Answer

      Out of all the types of attacks, phishing attacks are one of the most common security challenges that both individuals and companies face in today's world. Whether you're logging in to access credit card accounts or other sensitive information, hackers are getting creative by using email, social media, and phone calls to steal valuable data from unsuspecting users. Here's where you can highlight your expertise and knowledge on how hackers gain access to people's phones, PCs, and other mobile devices. Talk about how you and your company regularly conduct internal penetration testing and training sessions on how to spot phishing attacks, malware/ransomware, and other suspicious links, emails, communications, etc.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      As organizations grow, their intellectual property and proprietary information become more vulnerable to attacks. Even though new methodologies are constantly being developed to thwart these, hackers continue to develop new in unique ways to obtain the information they seek. Interviewers will ask you about your practices to protect an organization's critical information and stay abreast of new and developing threats. This is the key reason they are interviewing you for this position.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Security controls such as IDS, WAFs, IPS, HIPS, Antivirus,

      Monitoring tools that analyze the logs for detecting intrusion and breeches: Sourcefire, FireEye, Solarwinds, and ThousandEyes.

      EDR Endpoint Detection and response tools such as Cybereason.

      User education on Email handling, phone handling."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great start. Your answer demonstrates a wealth of knowledge in this area! However, there is room to improve the structure of your response to ensure you are coming across as organized and articulate while you talk about the different practices in place. Keep in mind it is not just about what you say - it's about how you say it. Ensure you are answering in complete sentences, and directly addressing the interview question. You may also want to consider using full words in place of acronyms, to ensure there is no confusion (i.e. "Intrusion Detection System" instead of IDS, "Web Application Firewall" in place of WAFs, etc.).

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  • Operational

    30. Recently, there have been several virus attacks; what have you done to protect your organization from these cyber attacks?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      This is a great question from a manager, and there are some very good responses to this question. The first thing is having an in-depth knowledge of how cyber security attacks occur. There are several situational examples that a hiring manager might ask you to walk through to see what you did to thwart those attacks. Some of the core questions will relate to what you did to identify those threats, what authentication you used to combat the threats, and how frequently you do risk assessments. A couple of other questions that may come up will cover how often you communicated your security and sign-off policy to employees if there was compliance corporate-wide, and what you did to maintain that compliance.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      When responding to this question, make sure to cover topics including how you identified the threats, what authentication you used to combat the threats, and how frequently you do risk assessments. You should also mention how often you communicated your security and sign-off policy to employees and if there was corporate-wide compliance or violations of the cyber security policies, and how you addressed these. A comprehensive answer addressing each of these practices will help convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate for this job.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    31. How do you enforce the use of SSO (Single Sign-On) & MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) within your company?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The importance of SSO (Single Sign-On) & MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) goes way beyond passwords and how they are used and protected. The simple combination of just a user name and password is no longer an effective means of protecting our personal information. With all the data breaches, malware, and identity theft present in our society, it's no surprise that both public and private organizations are taking extra precautions to protect themselves. You will hear this question a lot in interviews because every company tries to implement some sort of SSO and MFA policy to protect their employees. Some example questions might focus on how or when you decide to use MFA or SSO.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      The interviewer will ask you many operational questions throughout the interview, similar to this one. They are trying to determine how you go about performing the tasks required by this job. This will enable them to determine if you are qualified for the role and will be able to achieve the results they are hiring you for. Your answer should be brief and to the point when responding to operational questions. Either describe the process you use or walk the interviewer through the steps you take to accomplish the task they ask you about. As with any question, always be prepared for a follow-up.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Operational

    32. As a site administrator, what steps do you take to prevent incoming CSRF attacks?

      How to Answer

      Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks have become a common method of attack for hackers. Normally, an attacker gains trust from an unsuspecting user with the authority to perform a specific action they did not intend to perform. The attacker then uses their identity and user privileges to impersonate them and perform malicious activities for their personal gain. As a site administrator, you must be thoroughly knowledgeable about Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks. This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your knowledge with CSRF. You can use examples of recent security protocols or implementations that you developed to prevent incoming CSRF attacks. Here's an example of a CSRF attack. Someone logs into their banking website, and while logged in, they receive an email with a request to click on a link. If the victim clicks on this link, a script will execute a transaction to transfer funds from the victim's account to the attacker's account.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Interviewers will ask you about methodologies you use to combat specific types of cybersecurity attacks. They may be working from a list provided by the IT department or addressing the types of attacks they've already encountered in their organization. If you notice a pattern in the interviewer's questions, you can easily discern the types of threats they are most concerned about. This will allow you to tailor your answers to better meet their needs and demonstrate your qualifications for this role.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    33. There are different levels of data classification; how are they structured, and why are they required?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      With a heightened level of data security throughout the world, protecting customer data has never been more important. Data has become a valuable commodity in this day and age, and companies go to great lengths to protect it at all costs. Knowing the different levels of data classification is a fundamental skill required by any cyber security professional. The hiring manager will ask you this question to confirm that you are aware of the importance of this issue and able to take steps to address it.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      How to Answer

      When asked by the hiring manager, don't be afraid to offer examples of how you set data classification policies or reclassified data to a classified status with access limited to administrators. Also, highlight your knowledge about the different levels of data classification (ie., Restricted, private, and public). You don't need to go into too much detail because a hiring manager will ask a follow-up question if they need more information or want to explore the topic more. Once you are asked a follow-up question, you have permission to expand on your answer and possibly give an example from a previous situation you encountered.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    34. Can you tell me the difference between coding, encryption and hashing, and why they are important?

      How to Answer

      Let's begin with what coding, encryption, and hashing mean and their importance to IT security. Encoding - to encode something is to communicate a message so that the receiver will clearly understand. Hashing - is an integrity method to validate data. Encryption makes data unreadable by anyone except those who know the secret shared key. All three are important to enable security at every level. If an interviewer asks about coding standards, he's looking for these codes.....Encoding - Base64, UTF-8, ASCII, Hashing - SHA1, SHA256, SHAKE256, and Encryption - AES, Blowfish, and RSA.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Knowing the difference between coding, encryption, and hashing is very important if you want to get past the first round of interviews. This is a common question used to weed out junior-level IT Security candidates. As a qualified cyber security professional, you should be able to answer this question easily. Start by describing each of these techniques used to protect the organization's information. Your answer should also include specific codes each technique employs. This will convince the interviewer you're qualified for the position.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    35. What is the difference between ECB and CBC in an IT security environment?

      How to Answer

      Let's start with what these two entities mean. ECB (Electronic Code Book) is basically raw cipher. You have a block that needs to be encrypted as an output. If you don't encrypt the block, it might appear as ciphertext. CBC (Cipher Block Chaining) is essentially an initialization vector; it converts plaintext to ciphertext. These methods of operational configuration allow those ciphers to work with large data streams without the risk of compromising security.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Essentially, the hiring manager wants to know if you understand the differences between ECB and CBC, which deal with encrypting ciphertext. They'll ask questions similar to these; Are ciphertext blocks decrypted separately? Is it possible to encrypt and decrypt simultaneous threads? Other questions that may come up are how can an image be encrypted, what's the standard protocol to do so, or perhaps; What's the difference between ciphertext and plaintext? These are more advanced questions that will likely occur later in the interview, once the interviewer has confirmed your basic qualifications

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    36. What is PKI, and does it bolster your cyber security defense?

      How to Answer

      Public Key Infrastructure or PKI is a set of procedures, software, policies, roles, and hardware necessary for creating, managing, revoking, storing, and using digitized certificates. PKI is essential for cyber security. The sole purpose of PKI is the facilitation of secure information transfer electronically. This can happen through a range of activities in the network, including confidential email, internet banking, and e-commerce. PKI is a requirement for activities where passwords alone are inadequate authentication methods. PKI bolsters your defense in terms of cyber security because it protects you from identity theft. Depending on the title or position of the interviewer (Manager, Director, or Vice President), you'll probably be asked questions related to encryption and digitized certificates. Please pay attention to these questions because they are all related. Suppose an interviewer asks you to give them an example of a high-level authentication example. In that case, you'll need to talk about how public and private keys (PKI processes, procedures, and roles) and your involvement with this technology.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Public Key Infrastructure or PKI is an essential technique cyber security professionals use to protect the organization's information. You're very likely to be asked this question during an interview for this role. Interviewers will ask you many questions about your techniques to protect their information. This ensures them that you can perform the tasks required by this job and know about the most current methodologies used in this profession. As the interview progresses, the questions will become more complex and demanding. While this will challenge you, it also indicates that the interviewer is gaining confidence in your ability and qualifications for the job.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Public Key Infrastructure is an essential component of our modern-day enterprise security since it serves as the basis of asymmetric cryptography. Having a well-built PKI infrastructure will allow you to benefit from encryption throughout the enterprise. Even if a service is compromised by a malicious actor your encrypted internal communications will be secure."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Perfect! You've defined PKI and explained how it benefits the organization.

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  • Technical

    37. Explain the differences between TLS, SSL, and HTTPS, and what are the cyber security benefits?

      How to Answer

      When responding to this question, first define what each acronym stands for. TLS means Transport Layer Security. HTTPS is a hyper-text transfer protocol. In a network, HTTPS secures communications. Then discuss what they do. HTTPS is a secure HTTP version. An SSL/TLS connection secures any communication sent online. All ongoing communications between the browser and servers are encrypted safely. Finally, discuss the benefits they bring. Your cyber security depends on HTTPS, SSL, and TLS. Websites that don't include all the cyber security measures will get a penalty from Google.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Interviewers will ask several different questions about TLS, SSL, and HTTPS. Some of the common ones will be how each works and how they are used. You'll probably be asked to give examples of each in a hypothetical environment. We cover a few scenarios in the answer examples. It's important to do a thorough walk-through and give examples with scenarios of each.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    38. How do Ahrefs and SERP impact the security of a website?

      How to Answer

      You can begin your answer to this question by stating that Ahrefs is a backlink and SEO toolset that many people use. This tool does site auditing and will analyze your site and monitor your website's health. Alerts from Ahrefs will notify you of lost and new backlinks, keyword ranks, and web mentions. This tool is not a security breach because its purpose is to monitor your site and nothing more than that. SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. It is used primarily to market your products and services to the right target audience. Then, the algorithms of Google report the behavior of your website to Google. It shows what keywords people used to get on your website, what people search for, which search engines your target audience prefers, and the like.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      The interviewer will ask you about these terms and acronyms because they will want to know if you know both ends of the security spectrum. One from the protection side (Cyber Security) and the other from a marketing perspective. This is because marketing departments create their own web campaigns and may not be fully aware of the security risks involved in launching some campaigns. The hiring manager wants to see if you understand both sides and can work with marketing to ensure their campaigns are being launched without risk.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    39. Does Google penalize websites with no cyber security?

      How to Answer

      The best answer to this question is yes, Google penalizes websites with low or no cyber security. The reason is that a non-secure website puts website visitors at risk. There are a few things to watch out for to be safe from a Google penalty. If any of these things come up, changes will need to be made to your web presence. Let's start with some basics that could come up in an interview. Since Google continues to revise and tweak how content is indexed on the web, you need to stay updated on these changes. Make sure your HTTPS, TSL, and SSL are all in place. Even if it does publish updates on its algorithm, there are constant changes and sometimes no explanations about which changes are being made or when.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      It's important to note that questions will come up during an interview for a cyber security job that covers HTTPS, TSL, and SSL Certificates. The reason for this is two-fold. One is that Google looks at which sites are protected by security and ranks them accordingly. Knowing this will help you ensure the site's security while boosting its SEO ranking. The other is it also looks at which sites are not protected and displays an exclamation mark just to the left of the domain URL, showing it is not secured. This may prevent prospective customers from visiting the site.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    40. Can you explain what cognitive cybersecurity is?

      How to Answer

      There are two ways to respond to this type of question. If you are familiar with the interviewer's topic, you can proceed to answer the question using the information and knowledge you have. If you are not familiar with the topic, the best response is to admit this to the interviewer and then describe how you would proceed to learn about it. Interviewers easily recognize when a candidate is trying to bluff their way through an answer. Doing this will ensure that you're not offered the position even though you may be qualified.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      As with any information technology, advances and developments are occurring at a rapid pace. As a cyber security professional, it is your responsibility to stay on top of these so that you can employ them in your work. Interviewers will ask you about these advancements to see how current your information and knowledge are. They want to make sure you are aware of new tip methods used by hackers to attack systems and newly developed techniques you can employ to prevent this. Interviewers may ask you about this even if they are not familiar with cognitive cyber security.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    41. What are the two main types of DDOS attacks, and how can you prevent them?

      How to Answer

      Note that this question has two parts: first, you need to describe what a DDOS attack is and then list ways that you prevent these. Spending too much time on either of these topics may indicate to the interviewer that you are unsure of your answer and therefore are trying to elaborate on the information you do know. Keep your answer balanced, and make sure that you share techniques you have used to prevent the DDOS attacks that have been successful in your previous roles. Providing concrete examples of these will help strengthen your answer.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      This is an important cyber security interview question. A Distributed Denial of Service or DDOS attack is an attack that results in servers refusing to provide services to authorized clients. This is one of the more common cyber threats used by bad actors to shut down an organization's IT infrastructure, causing disruptions in business and costing them great amounts of money. Hiring managers will want to ensure that you are familiar with these types of attacks and know how to implement preventive measures to stop them from occurring. This fundamental cybersecurity question is likely to be asked early in the interview to identify unqualified candidates.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    42. How does a three-way handshake work in a TCP/IP network?

      How to Answer

      While networking knowledge is important for a cyber security professional, the interviewer does not expect you to be an expert in this area. They are curious about the depth of your knowledge and how you can apply this to help maintain the security of the organization's IT infrastructure. Therefore, keep your answer brief and to the point when answering this question. The more you elaborate, the more likely you will provide inaccurate information. Long, drawn-out answers also cause the interviewer to become distracted. This may lessen your chance of being offered the position.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Computer networks use a protocol known as TCP/IP. This stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. Network administrators typically manage these networks. However, as a cyber security professional, you need to be intimately familiar with how a network functions, its protocols, and the cyber security vulnerabilities these can create. The interviewer will ask you this question to test your networking knowledge and determine if you can identify the vulnerabilities that need to be addressed within an organization's computer network.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    43. Can you describe the differences between a Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing?

      How to Answer

      When responding to a question about different ways to assess the security of an organization's IT infrastructure, you should be able to discuss the various methodologies used to accomplish this. These can include assessments, testing, hacking, and other techniques used by cyber security professionals. Describing these in detail and comparing and contrasting them will indicate to the interviewer that you're qualified for this position.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      One of the key functions cyber security professionals perform is to ensure that the organization's information is secure. They do this by constantly probing the system, similar to what a hacker would do to identify its vulnerabilities and determine how difficult it is to access the information. Interviewers will ask you about the methodologies you use to accomplish this, including vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. Knowing the differences between these, how they are used, and the results you can obtain from them is a key requirement for this role.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    44. Please discuss the CIA triad in the context of cyber security.

      How to Answer

      Since this question asks about a specific term used in this job, your answer should begin with the definition of the acronym CIA in the context of a cyber security environment. You can then discuss what each element of CIA addresses and how you use this in your work. You may want to include an example to illustrate your answer.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Like many other technical professions, cyber security has its own language, which includes acronyms, specific phrases, and terminology. Interviewers will ask you about this to determine how knowledgeable you are in this field and if you can communicate complex topics using language that both technical and non-technical individuals will understand. As a cyber security professional, you'll be interfacing with individuals from across the organization. Your ability to communicate effectively will greatly enhance your value to the organization.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Technical

    45. What is the difference between asymmetric and symmetric encryption, and which one is better?

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      When comparing Asymmetric and Symmetric encryption, there are many things you need to be aware of. Not only will you need to know the difference between the two, but how they are used, and which one is better in a particular situation. It's important that you can articulate to the hiring manager examples of how you used both in specific situations and what you did to put an air-tight security solution in place that is impenetrable. Cyber Security has become one of the most important topics in technology today. Anytime you're processing credit card transactions through a payment gateway online, or at a brick and mortar retail store, you're dealing with vital consumer information, and hiring managers are going to want to hear how you keep these things protected.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on December 6th, 2019

      How to Answer

      This is a two-part question. The interviewer first wants you to define the differences between asymmetric and symmetric encryption and then state your opinion on which one is more effective. Interviewers expect you to respond not only with your opinion of which of these you prefer but also with the rationale behind your thoughts. Make sure you answer both parts of this question, keeping your responses succinct and to the point. You should anticipate the interviewer wanting to explore the rationale behind your answer in more detail.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Tehcnical

    46. What does it mean when there is a Googlebot breach?

      How to Answer

      When responding to this question, you can talk about how Googlebots are not a breach of cyber security. Bots are software automated applications that run internet scripts. Also called spiders or crawlers, they take on repetitive, simple tasks instead of malicious and legitimate bots. A Googlebot is a web crawling bot from Google that essentially crawls and discovers updated and new pages to add to their searching index. Googlebots can make repeated requests to a website that it views as suspicious behavior. Site owners may not even notice it, but Googlebots visit their sites quite a bit. To most, it may seem like a breach of security or privacy, but Googlebots have to make requests to a website before you let them in.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      Good interviewers typically start with basic questions early in the interview to weed out the candidates that are not qualified, then work their way up to more complex questions. Googlebot questions will fall somewhere in the middle in terms of complexity. The way that this question might be posed is whether a Googlebot or a breach means the same thing, and if not, what is the difference between the two.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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  • Tehcnical

    47. Can you describe the difference between a Black Hat, White Hat and Grey Hat hacker?

      How to Answer

      When it comes to cyber hackers, you will hear three terms used for hackers. They are Black Hat, White Hat, and Gray Hat hackers. These terms are also synonymous with Search Engine Optimization as well. For informational purposes and to help you answer this question, here's an overview of all three: Black Hat Hacker - Someone who knows about breaking into or breaching computer systems and bypassing their security protocols. Their primary motivation is for financial or personal gain and to spread malware or viruses to access these computer systems. White Hat Hacker - Someone who is known to use their skills for good rather than evil. They typically work as cyber security consultants paid to find security vulnerabilities in systems and work to strengthen those security holes for clients.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

      Why the Interviewer Asks This Question

      A hiring manager might pose a carefully crafted question about the different types of hackers to determine how well you know each one and if you fall into one of the three categories. They want to know will you be able to defend against a cyber-attack and how you handle threats from hackers. Your answer will indicate your experience in this area, knowledge of the different types of hacking, and whether you can use hacking proactively and positively to protect the organization's IT assets.

      Written by William Swansen on June 5th, 2022

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