Critical Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers
The dangers of digital continue to increase: As the sheer volume of digital data grows, so too do the cyber attacks. In the first six months of 2017 alone, we experienced 918 reported data breaches comprising 1.9 billion data records. That’s a 164 percent increase over the previous year.
The increase in both data and attacks is driving a strong demand for cybersecurity professionals. The number of cybersecurity jobs is growing three times faster than other tech jobs. However, we’re falling short when it comes to filling those jobs. As a result, it’s predicted that we will have 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021.
What does that mean for you? It means a promising career opportunity as a skilled cybersecurity professional. However, even though skilled candidates are lacking in the cybersecurity field, that doesn’t guarantee you your dream job. You still perform as well as possible during your job cyber security interview so you can land the job you want, in the city where you want to live and with the salary you want to make. Chances are that you’ll have competition for the best jobs, so be ready by making sure your education is current and your job interview skills are strong.
To give you a boost in preparing to answer cyber security interview questions, we offer some critical questions below. Because the field of cybersecurity is so complex, and your skills can be in many different areas, you won’t find specific or technical questions here. But you will find cyber security interview questions and answers that you can reflect on so you walk into your job interview prepared to present yourself as someone with the skills, yes, but also the understanding that cybersecurity requires a big picture view.
Q: Which certification(s) do you have?
Ideally, you have some kind of formal training as a cybersecurity professional. The interviewer wants proof of that, which your certification can provide. In addition, your certification(s) let the interviewer know where your strengths lie. Research the company ahead of time to make sure your training is in line with the job description, and consider earning a certification ahead of time if necessary.
Q: What types of security breaches have you dealt with in previous jobs? How did you deal with them and what did you learn from them?
The key to interviewing well is to prepare to answer questions like this ahead of time. That way, you have the necessary details straight in your head and you can put yourself in the best possible light in the way you answer. Think through situations you’ve dealt with and consider making notes about them while they are fresh in your mind, then refer to these notes when preparing to interview.
Q: What do you think presents the greatest security threat to businesses?
Cybersecurity is complex because the threats are complex—and numerous. Hackers are on the lookout for weak spots, and companies routinely offer them without meaning to. Companies are at greater risk when people are using personal devices for work when IT departments don’t get patches installed in time, when passwords are weak when vendors are slack in their own cyber security, and so on. There are many ways you can answer this question, so think about your answer ahead of time so you’re ready to show that you are paying attention and considering potential threats—and how to prevent them.
Q. Name two internal factors you think increases security risks.
This question doesn’t have a right answer but will demonstrate to the interviewer that you’re paying attention and you think about these issues. You could answer lack of budget for investing in security software or a lack of buy-in on the part of the executive team. Or maybe you think it’s lack of buy-in on the part of the employees who don’t adhere to best practices. Whatever your thoughts, be ready to give a well thought out answer.
Q: How do you look for security flaws in source code?
This is a question that the interviewer might use to get a sense for how you work. They are probably trying to determine if you lean towards manual or automated tools because that will give them insight. As with the other cyber security interview questions presented here, think through your answers ahead of time.
Q: How do you get fellow employees to adhere to security best practices?
You can put the best practices in place, requiring strong passwords, trying to get employees to be more email savvy, establishing guidelines for using mobile devices—but how do you get people to follow the rules? Your interviewer will want to know that you give this problem some thought because all the best practices in the world won’t keep your company safe if they’re not followed.
Q: How do you determine the severity of a discovered vulnerability?
If you’re not prepared to answer cyber security interview questions such as these, it’s time for a little homework. In this case, if you review the OWASP guidelines, you’ll see the first reaction should be to identify the risk to the business, then consider likelihood, impact, severity, etc. But earning a certification might also be in order.
Q: How would you rate your communication skills?
Your cybersecurity job interviewer will want to know something about your soft skills, such as your communication skills and your ability to work as part of a team. You might be part of the IT department as a cyber security professional, but you must have the ability to communicate risks and propose solutions to stakeholders, for example, or to get employees to take necessary precautions.
Q: How do you stay on top of cybersecurity news and developments?
Hackers don’t rest, so neither can you. They are continually looking for ways to breach defenses, which means you have to stay on top of the new technologies, processes and best practices that are developed in response to new attacks. Which blogs or newsletters do you read? Do you belong to any user groups or professional organizations? Explain how you stay informed.
Beef Up Your Cybersecurity Knowledge Prior to the Interview
Are you ready to shine with cyber security interview questions and answers? If not, consider a certification. Simplilearn offers multiple cyber security certifications, including:
- CompTIA certification which is a good choice if you’re new to the field.
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification, which will teach you about advanced concepts such as corporate espionage, viruses, and reverse engineering.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, the gold standard in the field of information security.
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification which will teach you the skill sets you’ll need to govern and control the information technology for a business, as well as how to perform an effective security audit on any organization.
- Certified Network Defender (CND) certification, a training course based on the cybersecurity education structure by National Initiative of Cybersecurity Education (NICE).
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification, which will train you in a forensic security discipline from a vendor-neutral perspective
- CISM certification, a key certification for information security professionals who manage, design, oversee and assess enterprise information security.
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), which will teach you to design, implement, monitor, and maintain IS controls for enterprises.
- Cloud computing Security Knowledge (CCSK) certification, for a comprehensive knowledge of cloud security fundamentals.
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), the leading online Cloud Security Training and Certification course.
Cyber attacks are a sad reality in our digital world, and as long as hackers can profit from their efforts, they will continue to break into databases and steal information. All we can do is get people trained and hired to deter them and prevent the data breaches from taking place. If you’re one of those people, you have your work cut out for you! So get trained, get interviewed, get hired, and get to work!
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