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Top 35+ Most Asked Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Following is a list of most frequently asked Cyber Security interview questions and answers.

1) What is Cyber Security? / What do you know about Cyber Security?

Cyber Security is a practice of protecting internet-connected systems such as hardware, software, programs, computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious digital attacks. The main purpose of cyber security is to protect against cyberattacks like accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information from your computer system.

The cyber attackers are mainly aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information, extorting money from users, or interrupting normal business processes. Cyber Security is also known as computer security, information technology (IT) security, cybersecurity etc. It is used to measure the combat threats against networked systems and applications, whether those threats originate from inside or outside of an organization.

We can divide the term cyber security into two parts: cyber and security. Cyber refers to the technology that includes systems, networks, programs, and data of an internet-connected system. The word security specifies the protection of the systems, networks, applications, and information.

2) What is Cyber Crime? Give some examples of Cyber Crime.

Cyber Crime is just like regular crime but happens on the Internet. Following are some examples of Cyber Crime:

  • Identity Theft
  • Online Predators
  • Hacking of sensitive information from the Internet
  • BEC ("Business Email Compromise")
  • Ransomware
  • Stealing intellectual property

3) Why is Cyber Crime increasing day by day every year?

Cyber Crime is increasing day by day every year because of the following reasons:

  • Cyber Crime is easy to accomplish. A person having good knowledge of computer hacking can do Cybercrime.
  • There is a lower risk of getting caught in Cybercrime.
  • A cyber attackers can get huge money for their little work.
  • Cyber attackers can target thousands of victims.
  • With the introduction of cryptocurrencies, money laundering is getting easier.

4) What is the main goal of Cyber Security?

The main objective of cyber security is to protect data from cyber-attacks. It follows a principle called CIA trio. It is a security sector that provides a triangle of three connected principles. The CIA model is used to help organizations to develop policies for their information security architecture. There are three main components Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of this CIA model. One or more of these principles is broken when it finds a security breach. This model provides a security paradigm to guide individuals through many aspects of IT security.

Cyber Security Interview Questions

Let's see these three security aspects in detail:

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is used to provide privacy to prevent unauthorized access to data. It ensures that the data is only accessible to those who are authorized to use it and restricts access to others. It restricts vital information to be exposed to the wrong hands. A good example of Confidentiality is Data encryption which is used to keep information private.

Integrity: The Integrity principle is used to assure that the data is genuine, correct, and safe from unwanted threat actors or unintentional user alteration. It also specifies that the source of information must be genuine. If any changes are made, precautions should be taken to protect sensitive data from corruption or loss and recover from such an incident quickly.

Availability: The Availability principle ensures that the information is constantly available and accessible to those who have access to it. It also ensures that any types of system failures or cyber-attacks do not obstruct these accesses.

5) What are the main advantages of cyber security?

Following is a list of main advantages of cyber security:

  • Cyber security protects online businesses and transactions against ransomware, malware, online frauds, and phishing.
  • It protects the end-users.
  • It provides great protection for both data as well as networks.
  • It can increase the recovery time after a breach.
  • It prevents unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information.

6) What is the difference between IDS and IPS?

A list of differences between IDS and IPS:

IDS stands for Intrusion Detection Systems. IPS stands for Intrusion Prevention Systems.
IDS can only detect intrusions, but it is unable to prevent intrusions. IPS can detect as well as prevent intrusions.
IDS is a monitoring system. IPS is a control system.
IDS requires a human or another system to look at the results. IPS only requires a regularly updated database with the latest threat data.

7) What are the key elements of Cyber Security?

Following is the list of key elements of Cyber Security:

  • Information security
  • Network security
  • Operational security
  • Application security
  • End-user security
  • Business continuity planning

8) What is Cryptography?

Cryptography is a technique or practice used to protect information from third parties called adversaries. It is a method of protecting information and communications through codes so that only those for whom the information is intended can read and process the data. In Cryptography, we also study several techniques for secure communication, mainly to protect the sensitive data from third parties that the data is not intended for.

9) What is the difference between a threat, vulnerability and risk?

Generally, people think that threat, vulnerability and risk are the same, but there are some crucial differences between them:

Threat: A threat can be any form of hazard capable of destroying or stealing data, disrupting operations, or cause harm in general. Some examples of threats are Malware, phishing, data breaches, and even unethical employees etc. Any type of threat may be harmful for the organization, so; it is essential to understand threats for developing effective mitigation and making informed cyber security decisions.

Vulnerability: Vulnerability is a possible problem or a flaw in hardware, software, personnel, or procedures that can harm the organization. Threat actors can use these vulnerabilities to achieve their objectives.

Some examples of vulnerabilities are given below:

  • Physical vulnerabilities: Publicly exposed networking equipment is an example of Physical vulnerability.
  • Software vulnerabilities:e. buffer overflow vulnerability in a browser.
  • Human vulnerabilities:e. an employee vulnerable to phishing assaults.
  • Zero-day vulnerability: It is a type of vulnerability for which a remedy is not yet available.

To cope up with vulnerabilities, we have a method called Vulnerability management. It is the process of identifying, reporting and repairing vulnerabilities.

Risk: Risk is a combination of threat and vulnerability. When we combine the probability of a threat and the consequence of vulnerability, it is called a risk. Risk is the likelihood of a threat agent successfully exploiting vulnerability.

A formula to calculate risk:

To control and manage the risk, we use a method called Risk management. It is a process of identifying all potential hazards, analyzing their impact, and determining the best course of action. This is an always running procedure used to examine the new threats and vulnerabilities regularly. By using this method, we can avoid or minimize risks. We can also accept or passed them to a third party according to the response chosen.

10) What is the difference between Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption in Cyber security?

A list of differences between Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption in Cyber security:

Comparison Index Symmetric Encryption Asymmetric Encryption
Encryption key- Symmetric Encryption uses the same key for Encryption & decryption. Asymmetric Encryption uses different keys for Encryption & decryption.
Performance- Performance Encryption is fast but more vulnerable in Symmetric Encryption. Encryption is slow due to high computation in Asymmetric Encryption.
Algorithms- It uses the algorithms such as DES, 3DES, AES and RC4. It uses the algorithms such as Diffie-Hellman, RSA
Purpose- It is mainly used for bulk data transmission. It is most often used for securely exchanging secret keys.

11) What do you understand by CIA triad?

CIA is an acronym that stands for Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. It is commonly known as the CIA triad. CIA is a model that specifies the guide policies for Information Security. It is one of the most popular models used by organizations.

  • Confidentiality: It specifies that the information should be accessible and readable only to authorized personnel and ensures that unauthorized personnel cannot access it. The information should be strongly encrypted so that if someone uses hacking to access the data, they cannot read or understand it.
  • Integrity: Integrity is used to ensure that an unauthorized entity has not modified the data. It also ensures that data should not be corrupted. If an authorized individual/system tries to modify the data and the modification should not be successful, the data reversed back and should not be corrupted.
  • Availability: It ensures that the data is available to the user whenever the user requires it. To achieve this, maintaining hardware, upgrading them regularly, data backups and recovery are necessary.

12) What is the difference between Encryption and Hashing? / How is Encryption different from Hashing?

Encryption and Hashing are techniques used to convert readable data into an unreadable data format, but they have some key differences.

Differences between Encryption and Hashing

Encryption Hashing
Encryption is used to make temporary data conversions. Hashing is used to make permanent data conversion into message digest.
In Encryption, the encrypted data can be converted back to original data by the process of decryption. In Hashing, the hashed data cannot be converted back to original data.
Encryption works in two ways, i.e. encode and decode the data. Hashing is a one-way encryption process. For example, it only encodes the data.
Encryption is used to secure sensitive data from the reach of third parties. Hashing is used to protect the integrity of the information.
Encryption focuses on the confidentiality of the data. Hashing focuses on the integrity of the data.

13) What is the difference between IDS and IPS?

IDS stands for Intrusion Detection System. It is used to detect intrusions, and it warns administrators to be careful while preventing the intrusion.

IPS stands for Intrusion Prevention System, and it facilitates the system to find the intrusion and prevent it.

14) What are some common Hashing functions/algorithms?

Following is the list of some common and most used hashing functions/algorithms:

Message-Digest Algorithm (MD5)

Message-Digest Algorithm or MD5 is the latest and advanced form of MD4. It was introduced after finding severe security issues in MD4. MD5 is used to generate 128-bit outputs for a variable length of inputs.

MD5 is the advanced version and the successor to MD4. It covers a lot of security threats but fails to provide full data security services. It is one of the most widely used algorithms, but the main issue with using MD5 is its vulnerability and collisions.

Secure Hashing Algorithm (SHA)

Secure Hashing Algorithm, or SHA, was developed by the National Security Agency. Later it was updated repeatedly to improve the security flaws in the old genre. Its latest and advanced version is SHA-2 that many firms are using for cryptographic purposes.

Tiger Cipher Algorithm

Tiger cypher algorithm is a faster and more efficient algorithm compared to Message Digest (MD5) and Secure Hashing Algorithm. It is mostly used in new generation computers and has a 192-bit hashing system. Its latest and advanced version is the Tiger2 algorithm which is more powerful than the Tiger algorithm.

RIPMEND Algorithm

Hans Dobbertin designed RIPMEND cryptographic hashing algorithm. It is created using the EU project RIPE framework and has a 164-bit digest.


Vincent Rijmenand Paul Barreto designed the WHIRLPOOL algorithm. It accepts any messages of a length less than 2256 bits and returns a 512-bit message digest. Its first version was whirlpool-0, the second version was named Whirlpool-T, and the latest and most advanced version is Whirlpool.

15) What is the main purpose of Hashing?

Hashing is required when we have to compare a huge amount of data. We can create different hash values for different data, and we can compare hashes too.

Following is a list of some most important usage of Hashing:

  • Hashing facilitates us to keep and find records of hashed data.
  • Hashing can be used in cryptographic applications such as a digital signature.
  • With the use of hashing, we can create random strings to avoid data duplication.
  • Geometric hashing is a type of hashing used in computer graphics to help find proximity issues in planes.

16) What is a Firewall? What is the usage of it?

A Firewall can be defined as a network security system set on the boundaries of the system/network and is used to monitor and control the network traffic. The main usage of Firewalls is to protect the system/network from viruses, worms, malware, threats etc. Firewalls can also be used to prevent remote access and content filtering.

17) What do you understand by VA (Vulnerability Assessment) and PT (Penetration Testing)?

As the name specifies, VA or Vulnerability Assessment is the process of finding vulnerabilities or flaws on the target. In this process, the organization already knows that their system/network has flaws or weaknesses and wants to find these flaws and prioritize fixing them.

PT or Penetration Testing is the process of deep searching and finding vulnerabilities on the target. In this process, the organizations set up all the possible security measures they could think of and test if there is any other way their system/network can be hacked.

18) What do you understand by Black Hat Hackers, White Hat Hackers and Grey Hat Hackers?

Black Hat Hackers: Black Hat Hackers are the most critical types of hackers. They attempt to obtain unauthorized access to a system to disrupt its operations or steal sensitive and important data. Black Hat Hackers are also known as crackers.

Black Hat Hacking is always illegal due to its malicious aim. The main purpose of Black Hat Hacking is to steal company data, violate privacy, cause system damage, block network connections, etc.

White Hat Hackers: White Hat Hackers are used to accessing the system for penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. They never intend to harm the system; rather, than strive to uncover holes in a computer or network system. White Hat Hackers are also referred to as Ethical Hackers.

Hacking done by White Hat Hackers is called Ethical hacking. It is not a crime, and it is considered one of the most difficult professions in the IT business. Many businesses hire ethical hackers to do penetration tests and vulnerability assessments.

Grey Hat Hackers: Grey Hat Hackers are a combination of Black Hat Hackers and White Hat Hackers. They use elements of both black and white hat hacking techniques. They are supposed to act without malice, but for the sake of amusement, they can exploit the security flaw in a computer system or network without the permission or knowledge of the owner.

The main goal of Grey Hat Hackers is to draw the owners' attention to the security flaw or hole in the network in the hope of receiving gratitude or a reward.

19) What is Traceroute in Cyber Security?

In Cyber Security, a traceroute is used to show the packet path by listing all the points that the packet passes through. Traceroute is mainly used when the packet does not reach the destination. With the help of a traceroute, we can check where the connection breaks or stops to identify the failure.

20) What is a VPN? What is its use in Cyber Security?

VPN is an acronym that stands for Virtual Private Network. It creates a safe encrypted tunnel across the internet by connecting a VPN server to a VPN client.

Suppose a user has a VPN client installed on their machine. The VPN client then creates an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server, and the user can securely send or receive information over the internet.

21) What do you understand by Brute Force Attack? How can you prevent it?

Brute Force Attack is a method of finding the right credentials by repetitively trying all the permutations and combinations of possible credentials. Brute Force Attacks are automated in most cases where the tool/software automatically tries to log in with a list of possible credentials.

Following is a list of some ways to prevent Brute Force Attacks:

  • Password Length: The length of a password is an important aspect to make it hard to crack. You can specify to set at least a minimum length for the password. The lengthier the password, the harder it is to find.
  • Password Complexity: You can include different characters formats in the password to make brute force attacks harder. Using the combination of alpha-numeric keywords along with special characters and upper and lower case characters can increase the password complexity making it difficult to be cracked.
  • Limiting Login Attempts: You can make the password hard for brute force attacks by setting a limit on login failures. For example, you can set the limit on login failures as 5. So, when there are five consecutive login failures, the system will restrict the user from logging in for some time or send an Email or OTP to log in the next time. Because brute force is an automated process, limiting login attempts will break the brute force process.

22) What do you understand by Port Scanning?

Port scanning is the technique administrators, and hackers use to identify the open ports and services available on a host. Hackers use this technique to find information that can be helpful to find flaws and exploit vulnerabilities, and administrators use this technique to verify the security policies of the network.

Following is a list of some most common Port Scanning Techniques:

  • Ping Scan
  • TCP Half-Open
  • TCP Connect
  • UDP
  • Stealth Scanning

23) What is the difference between the Host Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) and Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)?

As we know, HIDS and NIDS are both Intrusion Detection Systems and work for the same purpose, i.e., to detect intrusions.

Difference between HIDS and NIDS:

Host Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)
HIDS is set up on a particular host/device and monitors the traffic of a particular device and suspicious system activities. On the other hand, NIDS is set up on a network and is used to monitor the traffic of all network devices.
HIDS is used to detect intrusions. NIDS is used for the network to monitor the traffic of all devices.

24) What are the different types of Cyber Security?

Every organization has some assets that are made up of a variety of different systems. These systems must have a strong Cyber Security aspect to make the organization work well. According to the devices used in Cyber Security, it can be divided into the following types:

  • Network security: Network security is one of the most important types of Cyber security. In this process, we have to secure a computer network against unauthorized access, intruders, attacks, disruption, and misuse using hardware and software. This security also adds an extra layer in protecting an organization's assets from both external and internal threats. An example of Network security is using a Firewall.
  • Application security: Application security is used to safeguard software and devices against malicious attacks. This can be achieved by regularly updating the apps to ensure that they are secure against threats.
  • Identity management & security: Identity management & security identifies each individual's level of access inside an organization. For example, you can restrict and allow access to data according to an individual's job role in the company.
  • Data security: Data security is used to ensure that you put your data in a strong data storage system to ensure data integrity and privacy while in storage and transport.
  • Operational security: Operational security is used to analyze and make decisions about handling and securing the data assets. For example: Storing data in an encrypted form in the database is an example of Operational security.
  • Mobile security: Mobile security is used to specify the protection of organizational and personal data held on mobile devices such as cell phones, PCs, tablets, and other similar devices against various hostile attacks. Examples of mobile security threats are unauthorized access, device loss or theft, malware, and other threats that can harm mobile devices.
  • Cloud security: The main aim of cloud security is to safeguard the data held in a digital environment or cloud infrastructures for an organization. It uses various cloud service providers, including AWS, Azure, Google, and others, to assure protection against a variety of threats.

25) What do you understand by Unicasting, Multicasting, and Broadcasting? What is the difference between them?

Unicasting, Multicasting, and Broadcasting are the three methods used to transmit data over a network.

  • Unicasting: Unicasting is used to send information from a single user to a single receiver. This method is used for point-to-point communications.
  • Multicasting: Multicasting is used to send data from one or more sources to multiple destinations.
  • Broadcasting: Broadcasting is also known as one-to-all. In this method, a single sender sends the data over multiple receivers. I.e. the communication is done between a single user and several receivers. The best example of broadcasting is radio or TV broadcasting, where a single sender sends signals to multiple receivers.

26) What are the steps used to set up a firewall?

Following is a list of different steps used to set up a firewall:

  • Username/password: You have to modify the default password for a firewall device, which is required to make the system secure.
  • Remote administration: You have to disable the feature of the remote administration.
  • Port forwarding: You have to configure port forwarding accordingly to make certain applications work properly, such as a web server or FTP server.
  • Disable DHCP server: When installing a firewall on a network with an existing DHCP server, it can create a conflict unless you have disabled the firewall's DHCP.
  • Enable Logging: You have to enable logging to troubleshoot firewall issues or potential attacks and understand how to view logs.
  • Secure Policies: You have to set solid and secure security policies in place and ensure that the firewall is configured to enforce those policies.

27) What is Patch management in Cyber security? How often should we perform Patch management?

In Cyber security, patch management is a process to keep the software on computers and network devices up to date and make them capable of resisting low-level cyber attacks. It is used in any software which is prone to technical vulnerabilities.

We should perform patch management as soon as it is released. For example, when a patch is released for Windows, it should be applied to all machines as soon as possible. Same in network devices, we should apply patch management as soon as it is released. We should follow proper patch management for better security.

28) Which are the best Patch management tools or software? Why are they used?

Patch management tools or software are used to ensure that the components of a company's software and IT infrastructure are up to date. The patch management tools work by tracking updates of various software and middleware solutions, and then they alert users to make necessary updates or execute updates automatically.

Following is a list of the top 10 best patch management software or tools:

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

29) What is the full form of SSL? Why is it used?

The full form of SSL is Secure Sockets Layer. This is a technology used to create encrypted connections between a web server and a web browser. SSL is used to protect the information in online transactions and digital payments to maintain data privacy.

30) What do you understand by a botnet?

A botnet can be defined as a collection of infected internet-connected devices, such as servers, PCs, and mobile phones. These devices are infected with malware and controlled by it. The primary motive of a botnet is to steal data, send spam, launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, etc. It can also provide the user access to the device and its connection.

31) What is data leakage in the context of Cyber security?

In the context of Cyber security, data leakage is an unauthorized transfer of data to the outside of the secure network. Data leakage can occur via email, optical media, laptops, and USB keys etc.

32) What do you understand by honeypots?

Honeypots are the possible attack targets set up to see how different attackers attempt to exploit a network. Private firms and governments use this concept to evaluate their vulnerabilities, widely used in academic settings.

Cyber Security Interview Questions

33) What do you understand by Shoulder Surfing?

Shoulder surfing is a form of physical assault used by fraudsters by physically peering at people's screens to cheat while they type sensitive information in a semi-public area.

34) What are the most common types of cyber security attacks?

The most common types of cyber security attacks are:

  • Malware
  • Phishing
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Denial-of-Service (DoS)
  • Domain Name System Attack
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
  • SQL Injection Attack
  • Session Hijacking
  • Brute Force etc.

35) What do you understand by the MITM attack?

The MITM attack stands for Man-in-the-Middle attack. As the name specifies, it is a type of attack where a third person pr an attacker intercepts communication between two persons. The primary intention of MITM is to access confidential information.

36) What is an XSS attack, and how can you prevent it?

The full form of XSS attack is a Cross-Site Scripting attack. It is a cyberattack that makes hackers able to inject malicious client-side scripts into web pages. The XSS attacks are mainly used to hijack sessions, steal cookies, modify DOM, remote code execution, crash the server, etc.

We can use the following practices to prevent XSS attacks:

  • By validating user inputs
  • By sanitizing user inputs
  • By encoding special characters
  • By using Anti-XSS services/tools
  • By using XSS HTML Filter

37) What is the difference between stored XSS and reflected XSS?

Difference between stored XSS attacks and reflected XSS attacks:

Stored XSS Attacks Reflected XSS Attacks
The attacks where the injected scripts are permanently stored on the target servers are called stored XSS attacks. The attacks where the user has to send the request first, then start running on the victim's browser, are called reflected XSS attacks.
In stored XSS attacks, the victim retrieves the server's malicious script when requesting the stored information. The reflected XSS attacks reflect results from the browser to the user who sent the request.

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