These are 10 cyber security questions you can expect in a job interview


Reading time: minutes ( words)

Working in IT security is exciting and varied. More and more people are making a conscious decision to pursue a career in this field. There are many good reasons for this. For one thing, the industry is growing rapidly. This is due to increasing digitalization as well as the growing threat in the virtual space. Advancement opportunities, experience and knowledge are crucial skills that pave the way for interested individuals to take on challenging and well-paid roles.

On the path to employment in IT security, the interview awaits. During the interview, recruiters test knowledge in the field of IT. It is useful to prepare thematically for the questions. The following are ten questions that a recruiter may ask in such a job interview

Question 1: What attack vectors do hackers use in attacks?

The first question is quite simple. The recruiter uses it to ask about general knowledge in the area of cyberattacks. Listing as many attack vectors as possible is then helpful to demonstrate one's knowledge. Above all, the most important attack techniques should be included in the answers. For example, a list of attack vectors looks like this:

  • Denial of Service
  • Malware
  • Trojan
  • Ransomware
  • Drive-by downloads
  • Remote Access Trojans
  • Phishing
  • Rogue security software
  • Keylogger
  • Man in the Middle
  • Malvertising

Question 2: What measures do you take to ensure the security of a server?

In job interviews, people like to be asked how a server can be secured. Then it's a matter of confidently and confidently explaining all the measures that are necessary. A good answer looks like this:

The first step is to create user accounts for administrators and a root account. These are given strong passwords. After that, the accounts for the users are created. These are given only the necessary rights in the system. In the third step, remote access is removed from the root and administrator accounts. The last step is to configure the firewall and set the rules for remote control of the server.

Question 3: The mouse on the screen moves by itself and starts programs. What do you do?

Some companies resort to written questionnaires in job interviews. Here, multiple-choice questions are often encountered. The potential answers available as options in such a question might be as follows:

1: I remove the mouse from the USB port.

2: I call my colleagues so that they can also see the phenomenon.

3: I turn off the PC

4: I notify my supervisor

5: I disconnect my computer from the network by removing the network cable.

6: I start an anti-virus scan

7: All answers

The correct answers in this case are 4 and 5.

Question 4: What are the differences between white-hat, gray-hat and black-hat hackers?

If you want to work in IT security, you need to be familiar with these terms. In job interviews, people like to ask about these different types of hackers. Then a detailed explanation is expected, where the distinction between the three groups is clear. For example, a good answer sounds like this:

Black hat hackers are criminals with a wealth of knowledge in IT. They are capable of writing malware and exploit vulnerabilities in systems. They penetrate networks, compromise servers or steal data. The black hat hacker uses his skills exclusively for evil and criminal purposes. He often has financial interests or delights in causing harm to others.

White-hat hackers, on the other hand, are always on the good side. They work for IT security service providers or are hired directly by companies to provide IT security. As a white-hat hacker, one of their tasks is to look for gaps in the security of their own networks or the systems of customers. White-hat hackers use the results to make systems and networks more secure.

Grey-hat hackers straddle these two worlds. They do not work on behalf of companies and independently search for security vulnerabilities in programs, systems or networks. If the grey-hat hacker finds a gap that can be used for cyberattacks, he reports it to the owner of the system. They do not exploit such vulnerabilities for criminal purposes.

Question 5: How can identity theft be avoided?

A common question during interviews for a job in IT security deals with identity theft. For example, the recruiter asks what measures can be taken to prevent such identity theft. A qualified answer mentions the following points:

1: Always make sure to use strong and unique passwords.

2: Only buy from known and trusted merchants on the Internet.

3: Always keep software on the computer up to date, especially the browser.

4: Never pass on personal data uncontrolled. This is especially true for copies of ID cards or banking information.

5: Share personal information online with caution, especially on social media.

6: Install software on every system that protects against viruses, malware and spyware.

Question 6: What are the different layers in the OSI model?

Actually, this is a question that anyone with an IT education should be able to answer. Nevertheless, this question always gets applicants into trouble. The OSI model describes the architectural layers of network protocols. If you want to give a comprehensive and correct answer, you should orient yourself on these points:

OSI layer 1: The physical layer

This is where network cables, repeaters and hubs are located. Data is transferred from point to point in bits.

OSI layer 2: The data link layer

The data is segmented into frames. Layer 2 switches and wireless access points are responsible for transmission from point to point.

OSI layer 3: The network layer

Protocols such as IP and IPX are located on this layer. They are responsible for packet transmission, for example via routers.

OSI layer 4: The transport layer

TCP and UDP protocols, which gateways use to allocate data to applications, operate on this layer.

OSI layer 5: The session layer

This is where the application-oriented classification begins. Protocols used are DHCP, DNS, SMTP and the like. The session layer controls connections.

OSI layer 6: The presentation layer

This is where the conversion of data into independent formats takes place.

OSI layer 7: The application layer

The provision of data at the application layer by means of an interface between the network and the application.

Question 7: Explain the process of a DDoS attack and how these attacks can be prevented?

This is a very specific question from the field of IT security. DDoS attacks are popular methods used to block networks. Often systems are vulnerable to such attacks. In addition, there are different forms of DDoS attacks that an IT Security Specialist must be able to recognize. Thus, a candidate should explain the following attack patterns:

The principle behind DDoS attacks: The scheme of a DDoS attack is to overload a particular system with a high number of simultaneous requests. This can target processor performance, the maximum number of connections, or other vulnerabilities.

Ping of Death: Ping of Death involves sending a manipulated ICMP data packet, which triggers a buffer overflow. This causes the system to crash.

SYN Flooding: This is a special form of DDoS attack that exploits the TCP protocol connection establishment method. The attacking system does not send a final confirmation for the connection establishment, so the server parks the connection and waits for a response. If there are a corresponding number of requests, the maximum number of connections is exceeded, so the server becomes overloaded and unreachable.

It is also important to explain what measures prevent DDoS attacks. Here, the following points can be listed in response:

1: Configure firewalls and routers properly.

2: Implement load balancing

3: Use DDoS protection or an anti-DDoS service.

4: Deploy front-end hardware

5: Implement management to handle traffic spikes.

Question 8: Explain the procedure for a man-in-the-middle attack and possible defense techniques.

The man-in-the-middle attack is popular among hackers when it comes to stealing information without being noticed. That's why IT security professionals need to be familiar with this form of attack. Recruiters love to ask questions about this topic. An expert explanation of a man-in-the-middle attack sounds like this:

In a man-in-the-middle attack, a hacker intercepts data communications between two points. The attacker has either compromised a system, exploits a vulnerability in a system, controls the physical data connection, or takes advantage of an unencrypted data connection.

  • A man-in-the-middle attack can be prevented by these means:
  • Use of a VPN
  • consistent use of HTTPS for data encryption
  • Implementation of WPA2 in wireless networks
  • Use of attack detection systems
  • Use of SSH for authentication

Question 9: What do you understand by risks, vulnerabilities and threats in a network?

Appropriate answers to these questions are:

  • Risk is the potential that threatens if a vulnerability is exploited or a threat becomes a reality.
  • A vulnerability is a gap in a system, software, or hardware that a hacker can exploit.
  • Threats are concrete or theoretical dangers to one's network that lead to damage.

Question 10: What does a sensible update strategy look like?

Updates for software and hardware are an important tool in the fight against vulnerabilities. Anyone who wants to work in IT security must be able to develop a strategy for update management. A question like this can be answered in a job interview, for example, like this:

Updates must always be installed as quickly as possible. If platforms have known patch routines, such as Windows, then updates are to be installed directly on patch day. Care must be taken to ensure that all systems in the network receive the updates. The strategy also includes identifying all systems and programs in the network and checking them regularly for available updates.

Conclusion on questions for a job interview in IT Security

During a job interview for a position in IT Security, you can expect to be asked a number of questions related to the IT field. Especially in IT Security, it is important to be familiar with the basics in the areas of network technology and communications, as well as cybercrime. That's why most questions revolve around these topics. Those who have a sound IT education usually have no problem answering these questions. Nevertheless, it is helpful to deal with the potential topics in a job interview beforehand and to prepare yourself in such a way that you have the best possible chance of a successful application.

Go back