"Cracking Cybersecurity Interviews: Your Essential Guide

Entering the world of cybersecurity interviews can be daunting, but fear not—we’ve got your back! Whether you’re a recent graduate stepping into the cybersecurity arena or someone seeking a career change, understanding the basics is crucial.

In this quick guide, we’ll tackle 10 fundamental entry-level cybersecurity interview questions. From the essentials of encryption to the ins and outs of network security, we’ve got the key topics interviewers often explore. Ready to unlock the secrets and boost your interview readiness? Let’s dive into these 10 crucial questions that can shape your path in the cybersecurity domain. Ready, set, go!

Question 1: What is CIA Triad?

The CIA Triad is like a superhero team for keeping things safe in cybersecurity. It has three important members:

Secret Keeper (Confidentiality):

  • This one makes sure that information stays a secret and only the right people know about it. No sneaky business allowed!

Truth Guardian (Integrity):

  • Imagine this superhero as a truth serum. It makes sure that information is always correct and hasn’t been changed by any bad guys.

Always Ready Hero (Availability):

  • This superhero is always ready for action. It makes sure that information and systems are always there when you need them, so no downtime or problems.

So, when we talk about the CIA Triad, think of it as a superhero squad making sure everything in cybersecurity stays safe and sound.

Question 2: What’s the difference between encryption and hashing?

Imagine you have a secret message, and you want to protect it like a treasure. Encryption and hashing are two ways to do that, but they work a bit differently.


  • Picture it like putting your message in a magical box with a key. Only someone with the right key can open the box and see the message. It’s like a secret code that can be unlocked.


  • Now, think of hashing as turning your message into a unique fingerprint. Once it’s hashed, you can’t turn it back into the original message—it’s a one-way street. Even a tiny change in the message creates a completely different fingerprint.

In simple terms, encryption is like putting your message in a lockable box, and hashing is like creating a unique fingerprint for your message. Both help keep your information safe, just in different ways!

Question 3: What’s the difference between IPS and IDS?

Okay, let’s imagine your computer system is a fortress, and you want to protect it from intruders. Here’s how Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and Intrusion Detection System (IDS) play their roles:

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS):

  • IPS is like having guards at the fortress gates who not only watch out for potential threats but also actively block and stop them from getting in. It’s a proactive defender.

Intrusion Detection System (IDS):

  • Now, IDS is more like alert guards. They’re keen observers, noticing when something suspicious happens. They raise the alarm and inform you about the potential threat, but they don’t actively block it.

In simple terms, IPS actively stops intruders, while IDS alerts you about them. It’s like having guards who not only spot trouble but also take action to keep your fortress safe.

Question 4: Explain the relationship between information security and data availability.

Think of information security and data availability like a dynamic duo working together for a reliable and protected system.

Information Security:

  • This is your superhero safeguarding sensitive data, ensuring it’s safe from unauthorized access, tampering, or leaks. It’s like having a secure vault for your valuable information.

Data Availability:

  • Now, data availability is the sidekick ensuring that your information is readily accessible when you need it. It’s like having a well-organized library where you can easily find and retrieve the data you require.

Imagine it as a teamwork scenario. Information security sets up the defenses, making sure your data is safe. Meanwhile, data availability ensures that, when necessary, you can smoothly access and use that data. Together, they create a reliable and secure environment for your information.

Question 5: Are you familiar with any security management frameworks, such as ISO/IEC 27002?

ISO/IEC 27002 Overview:

ISO/IEC 27002 is a globally recognized security management framework that provides a set of best practices for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving information security management within an organization. It’s like a detailed guidebook designed to enhance the overall security posture.

Key Components:

  1. Comprehensive Guidance:
  • ISO/IEC 27002 offers detailed guidance on information security controls and objectives. It covers various aspects, including risk management, access control, cryptography, incident response, and more.

Risk Management:

  • One of its primary focuses is on risk management, helping organizations identify, assess, and mitigate risks related to information security.


  • The framework is adaptable to different business environments and sizes, making it applicable across various industries.

International Standard:

  • Being an international standard, ISO/IEC 27002 provides a common language for organizations worldwide, facilitating global alignment in information security practices.

Relevance in Interviews:

When asked about ISO/IEC 27002 in an interview, they are likely gauging your familiarity with industry-standard security practices. If you’re preparing for an interview, it would be beneficial to explore the specifics of ISO/IEC 27002 and how it addresses key security concerns. Familiarity with this framework demonstrates a commitment to following recognized and effective security practices.

Links for Reference:

These links provide additional resources for diving deeper into ISO/IEC 27002 and understanding its significance in the realm of information security.

Question 6: What information security challenges are faced in a cloud computing environment?

Alright, let’s imagine the cloud as a virtual kingdom where data is stored and processed. However, even in this virtual realm, there are some security dragons to be aware of:

1. Data Breaches:

  • Just like guarding a treasure, securing data in the cloud is crucial. Data breaches can occur if there’s a crack in the fortress walls, leading to unauthorized access.

2. Identity Management:

  • Ensuring that only the right people have access to the kingdom is a challenge. Identity management becomes tricky, and if not handled well, it could result in unauthorized entry.

3. Compliance and Legal Issues:

  • Navigating the kingdom’s laws and regulations (compliance) is complex. Different regions have different rules, and ensuring that the cloud kingdom abides by them is a challenge.

4. Data Loss:

  • Imagine a virtual storm causing data loss. Whether due to technical glitches or other unforeseen events, ensuring data remains intact and accessible is a challenge.

5. Shared Resources:

  • In the cloud kingdom, resources are shared among many users. Ensuring that one user’s actions don’t negatively impact another’s is like maintaining order in a bustling marketplace.

6. Service Outages:

  • Just as a castle might face temporary shutdowns, cloud services can experience outages. Ensuring a reliable and available kingdom is a constant challenge.

In interviews, discussing these challenges demonstrates an understanding of the complexities of securing information in a cloud computing environment and how to address them.

Question 7: What are the layers of the OSI model?

Sure thing! Imagine the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model as a sandwich with seven delicious layers, each playing a unique role:

Physical Layer (Layer 1 – The Bread):

  • This is the foundational layer, dealing with the physical connection of devices. Think of it as the bread at the bottom of the sandwich, providing a sturdy base.

Data Link Layer (Layer 2 – Cheese):

  • Like cheese holding things together, this layer manages how data is framed and addressed in the network. It ensures smooth communication between directly connected devices.

Network Layer (Layer 3 – Lettuce):

  • The network layer is akin to lettuce, adding structure. It deals with routing and forwarding data packets between different networks, guiding them on their journey.

Transport Layer (Layer 4 – Tomato):

  • Think of this layer as the tomato that adds flavor. It’s responsible for end-to-end communication, ensuring data arrives reliably and in the correct order.

Session Layer (Layer 5 – Mayo):

  • Like mayo bringing everything together, the session layer establishes, manages, and terminates communication sessions between applications.

Presentation Layer (Layer 6 – Pickles):

  • This layer is the pickles, handling data translation and encryption. It ensures that data is presented in a readable format for the applications.

Application Layer (Layer 7 – The Top Bread):

  • Finally, the top layer is like the top bread, representing the user interface. It provides network services directly to applications and is the layer that users interact with.

Remembering the order of these layers can be made easier with the mnemonic: “All People Seem To Need Data Processing.” Each word corresponds to the first letter of each layer in sequence.

Understanding these layers and their interactions is crucial for anyone working in networking and helps in troubleshooting and designing efficient systems.

Question 8: How often should you perform patch management?

Patch management is the process of keeping software systems up to date by applying patches, updates, and fixes. The frequency of performing patch management depends on several factors:

1. Patch Release Schedule:

  • Keep an eye on the release schedule of software vendors. Some release patches regularly, while others follow a less frequent schedule.

2. Critical Vulnerabilities:

  • Act promptly when critical vulnerabilities are identified. High-risk vulnerabilities may require immediate attention, necessitating more frequent patch management.

3. System Sensitivity:

  • Consider the sensitivity of the systems you are managing. Critical systems handling sensitive information may require more frequent patching to maintain a high level of security.

4. Compliance Requirements:

  • Adhere to any industry or regulatory compliance requirements that dictate specific patch management timelines. Compliance standards often have guidelines on maintaining up-to-date systems.

5. Testing and Validation:

  • Before deploying patches, it’s crucial to test them in a controlled environment to ensure they don’t introduce new issues. This testing phase can impact the frequency of patch management.

6. Incident Response:

  • In the aftermath of security incidents or breaches, expedited patching may be necessary to address vulnerabilities that may have been exploited.

7. Automated Patching:

  • Implementing automated patching solutions can streamline the process, making it more efficient and allowing for more frequent updates without significant manual intervention.

8. Software Lifecycle:

  • Be aware of the lifecycle of the software you are using. Some software may reach end-of-life, meaning it will no longer receive patches. In such cases, migration or replacement may be necessary.

In conclusion, patch management frequency is influenced by various factors, and it’s essential to strike a balance between maintaining security and minimizing disruptions to ongoing operations. Regular and timely patch management is a critical aspect of maintaining a secure and resilient IT environment.

Question 9: Which is more detrimental in firewall detection, a false negative or a false positive, and what is the reason for this?

False Negative vs. False Positive:

  • False Negative:
  • A false negative occurs when the firewall fails to detect a real threat or malicious activity, allowing it to pass through as if it’s harmless.
  • False Positive:
  • A false positive, on the other hand, happens when the firewall mistakenly identifies legitimate traffic as a threat, blocking it unnecessarily.

Impact Assessment:

In the context of firewall detection, a false negative is generally considered more detrimental. Here’s why:

  1. False Negative (Missing a Threat):
  • Reason: Missing a real threat poses a severe security risk as malicious activities go undetected and can potentially lead to unauthorized access, data breaches, or other security incidents.
  • Impact: It can result in actual security breaches, compromising the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the system or network.
  1. False Positive (Blocking Legitimate Traffic):
  • Reason: While false positives can be inconvenient and lead to disruptions, they are usually less critical because they involve blocking legitimate traffic.
  • Impact: False positives may cause inconvenience, affect user experience, or disrupt normal operations. However, they typically don’t pose a direct security risk or compromise the system’s integrity.

Balancing Act:

Firewall administrators aim to strike a balance between minimizing false negatives and false positives. However, the priority is often given to reducing false negatives to ensure that real threats are not overlooked.


  • Security Priority:
  • Security is the primary goal of a firewall. Failing to detect a genuine threat (false negative) jeopardizes the entire security posture, making it more crucial to focus on minimizing false negatives.
  • Operational Impact:
  • While false positives can lead to operational disruptions, they are usually manageable and reversible. On the other hand, missing a real threat has more significant consequences for security.

In conclusion, false negatives in firewall detection are generally considered more detrimental due to the potential for real security threats to go undetected, compromising the overall security of the system or network.

Question 10: What is the difference between firewall deny and drop?

In the context of firewalls, “deny” and “drop” are actions taken in response to traffic that is blocked or not allowed. Here’s the difference between the two:

1. Firewall Deny:

  • Action: When a firewall denies traffic, it typically sends a response back to the source indicating that the requested connection is not allowed.
  • Feedback to Sender: The sender is informed that its connection attempt has been explicitly denied, making it aware that the firewall has blocked the traffic.
  • Visibility: Denying traffic provides more visibility to the source about the firewall’s action.

2. Firewall Drop:

  • Action: When a firewall drops traffic, it does not send any response back to the source. The traffic is silently discarded without notifying the sender.
  • Feedback to Sender: The sender does not receive any explicit feedback about the dropped connection. It may perceive the connection attempt as if it never reached its destination.
  • Visibility: Dropping traffic provides less visibility to the source about the firewall’s action.

Key Considerations:

  • Logging:
  • Firewalls often have the option to log denied or dropped traffic. When logging is enabled, administrators can review logs to understand which traffic was blocked, whether by deny or drop actions.
  • Stealthiness:
  • “Drop” is considered a more stealthy action because it doesn’t notify the sender about the firewall’s action. In certain scenarios, this stealthiness can be advantageous for security reasons.
  • Communication Feedback:
  • “Deny” provides more explicit feedback to the sender, which can be helpful for network administrators or users troubleshooting connectivity issues.

Choosing Between Deny and Drop:

  • Use “deny” when you want to provide clear feedback to the source about the blocked connection.
  • Use “drop” when you want to silently discard unwanted traffic without notifying the source, potentially enhancing security through obscurity.

Both “deny” and “drop” are tools in the firewall administrator’s toolbox, and the choice between them depends on security policies, logging requirements, and the desired level of communication feedback to the source.

In conclusion, these interview questions are not just checkpoints; they are milestones in your cybersecurity journey. As you embrace the challenges, remember that each question is an opportunity to showcase your knowledge, adaptability, and passion for securing the digital realm. Whether you’re just starting or looking to level up, may your cybersecurity interview journey be both enlightening and rewarding. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!