Top 20 Cybersecurity Interview Questions

Cyber-attacks have become common in the digital world and this has caused the demand for cybersecurity professionals to increase recently. 

These cybersecurity professionals help institutions in different sectors to detect, restrict, and foresee these threats. There are currently a lot of opportunities open to individuals who want to pursue a career in the cybersecurity field.

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity otherwise known as electronic information security or information technology security is keeping systems connected to the internet and vital data safe hackers. 

These systems include computers, smartphones, servers, electronic systems, and networks.

Cybersecurity can be broken down into two main parts namely; Cyber and Security. The word Cyber refers to technologies, systems, networks, programs, and data while security refers to protecting the systems, networks, applications, and data. 

So Cybersecurity can be defined as a set of technologies, processes, and practices that are aimed at protecting networks, systems, programs, and data from attacks, theft, damage, modification, or unauthorized access. Cybersecurity is concerned with concepts and techniques used to secure computing resources and data online from attackers.

What Is The Importance Of Cybersecurity?

Currently, we live in an era that heavily depends on the internet, computers, software programs, and electronic gadgets. 

Many institutions, like banks, manufacturing industries, institutions, schools, hospitals, and even governments rely on systems connected to the internet to operate properly.

These institutions have their vital data such as private information, intellectual properties, and even financial records stored in databases and systems which are vulnerable to unauthorized access which is a huge potential cybersecurity risk because hackers can use this information for selfish gains such as extortion, promote political or social agenda or even destroy it.

Cyber attacks are currently a major concern because if they are not tackled properly, they can compromise systems and in the worst cases bring down the global economy. 

This means that the importance of strong cybersecurity strategies to protect networks, systems, programs, and sensitive data from many security breaches can not be over-emphasized. Also, businesses and organizations dealing with sensitive data must adopt strong cybersecurity measures to protect the data.

Top 20 Cybersecurity Interview Questions

Below is a list of the top 20 assistant principal interview questions in no particular order. Each question will have an overview followed by an to answer it correctly and also may contain example answer snippets:

1.What is the meaning of XSS?

XSS stands for Cross-site scripting. It is a web security flaw that allows an attacker to manipulate how users interact with a vulnerable application. 

This flaw gives an attacker the right to impersonate a victim user and execute actions that the user is capable of, as well as access the user’s data.

You can discuss efficient measures to prevent Cross-site scripting in different applications. This is one of the most asked cybersecurity interview questions.

2.What is a firewall?

A firewall is a barrier between a Local Area Network (LAN) and the internet, allowing private resources to remain private to reduce security threats.

If you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, please read: Top 10 Marketable Cybersecurity Careers

3.Differentiate between threat, vulnerability, and risk:

Technically, threats are hazards that can potentially tamper with data, interrupt operations, or cause errors.

Vulnerability is defined as vulnerabilities in hardware, software, or even the personnel handling the system that can allow attackers to achieve their objectives. Vulnerabilities with no solution are referred to as zero-day vulnerabilities.

Risk is the possibility of a threat together with the consequences of the vulnerability. It is the likelihood of a successful attack on a system. This is one of the most asked cybersecurity interview questions.

4.What is a VPN?

VPN which stands for Virtual Private Network can be defined as an encrypted link between a device and a network on the internet. With VPN, you can establish connections with a private network, hide your IP address and safely navigate the internet.

5.What is a Botnet?

A botnet can be described as a collection of devices and computers that are infected and controlled by malware connected to the internet. Botnets are used to steal data, launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and even spam users.

SEE ALSO: 20 IT Jobs You Can Get Without a Degree in 2023

6.What is a honeypot?

A honeypot is an attack target that is set up to test and see how different attackers will attempt to exploit it. They are used by some institutions in academic settings to evaluate their vulnerabilities. This is one of the most asked cybersecurity interview questions.

7.What is a Null session?

This results from an unauthorized user trying to gain access to a system. Sometimes it is considered being a security concern for apps because it tells that someone is making an unknown request.

8.What is a brute force attack?

A brute force attack is any cryptography assault that works on a trial and principle to guess all combinations until the target data is discovered. Cybercriminals can easily break into systems and access sensitive data like login credentials, passwords, pins, and encryption keys.

9.How can you avoid a brute force attack?

Brute force attacks can be prevented by ensuring a robust password policy that requires passwords to be at eight characters, contains a number and a special character. 

Brute force attacks can also be prevented by limiting the number of failed login attempts, using Captcha, using unique URLs for logging, and implementing two-factor authentication.

10.What is Phishing?

In simple terms, Phishing is cybercrime where the sender impersonates a legitimate entity. They usually email, phone, or text message to a target which will direct the target to a fake website where they will be asked to input their sensitive data. The target’s data will be collected and used to control the target.

11.What is a Man-in-the-middle attack?

This can be described as a eavesdropping assault where an attacker taps into the communication channel or data transmission between two people. This attack is mainly used to access the sensitive data of a company or a customer.

12.What is a DDoS attack and how can you prevent it?

DDoS which stands for Distributed Denial of Service is a common form of cyberattack where fraudsters use internet traffic to fulfill legitimate requests to a target which most times results in overload on its server and end up disrupting the regular traffic of the target. 

DDoS attacks can be prevented by creating a denial of service response strategy, maintaining the integrity of your network, implementing fundamental network security measures, sticking to solid and proven network architecture, etc

13.What is Network Sniffing?

Network sniffing is a security technique used to evaluate data packets delivered across a network. It involves the use of specialized hardware and software. Network sniffing can capture confidential information, listen to chat messages over a network, etc.

You can learn cybersecurity in any noble institution. Check out: 15 Best Cyber Security Schools in the World 2023 | Rankings

14.Differentiate between the Black box and White box Testing:

Black box testing is a type of software testing where the internal structure of the software is concealed. It is sometimes referred to as the software’s behavior testing and takes a relatively shorter amount of time.

White box testing on the other is considered to be the software’s logic testing and requires the tester to be familiar with the internal structure of the software. It takes a longer amount of time.

15.What is a DNS attack and how can it be prevented?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is an important part of the internet and an attack on it poses a very serious cybersecurity risk. A DNS attack can be described as an attack where the attackers take advantage of the weaknesses in the DNS to redirect users to malicious websites where their sensitive data is stolen.

DNS attacks can be prevented by making sure your DNS servers are up to date, the BIND version is hidden, transfers zones are limited, keeping DNS recursion disabled, using separated DNS servers, a DDoS mitigation service, etc

16.What is SQL injection and how can it be prevented:

SQL injection is a common attack involving fraudsters injecting malicious SQL code to alter the database to access sensitive data. 

A successful SQL injection attack will give the attacker access to important data stored in the database and allow him to manipulate it to his selfish interests.

SQL attacks can be prevented by using pre-defined procedures, verifying user’s input, preparing statements ahead of time, etc

17.What is ARP poisoning?

ARP stands for Address Resolution Protocol, and an ARP poisoning is an attack that uses a network device to convert the IP address to physical addresses. 

It is sending bogus addresses to a switch so that it can associate them with the IP address of a legitimate machine on the network and alter the traffic.

The cookie used in a spyware attack is a tracking cookie. It is used instead of a session cookie because it lasts through multiple sessions, unlike the session cookie, which lasts only for a session.

19.What is forward secrecy?

Forward secrecy is a property of some key agreement protocols that ensures that the session keys will not be exposed if the server’s private key is exposed. It is also known as Perfect forward and it is built with the “Diffie-Hellman key exchange” algorithm.

20.Which is more reliable; SSL or HTTPS?

SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer is a security technology that ensures secure communication between users on the internet. It works on top of the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

 HTTPS(Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) on the other hand, is a combination of HTTP and SSL that creates secure experiences on the web via encryption. Talking about security, the SSL is more secure than the HTTPS.


It is important to secure many data against attack, loss, or theft. Without cybersecurity, it will be very difficult for companies to protect their systems, networks, and data from the control of attackers.

As a cybersecurity professional who intends to work at a company to help them achieve optimum security, you are expected to have a solid understanding of some core security concepts and you will be tested on your knowledge of security in general during your interview.


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