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According to an Enterprise Strategy Group survey, almost two-thirds of businesses intend to increase IT expenditure this year, with 69% of respondents stating that they increased their cybersecurity expenditure in the same period. Only 2% of businesses expect to spend less on cybersecurity.
According to Jon Oltsik, cybersecurity will be the top IT endeavor in 2022.
According to him, the cybersecurity employment market is reflective of these trends. Security specialists are sought by far more corporations than talent is available.
Jobs in cybersecurity: A sellers market
Despite the fact that prospective candidates are preferred by employers in a sellers market, interviews remain a fact of life. That means being prepared to answer tough questions.
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The top 50 cybersecurity questions are provided by a slew of sources around the world. They include the questions as well as the answers. Their aim is for job seekers to practice answering these questions in order to be more persuasive during interviews. This approach has some validity. However, it usually limits itself to specific technical questions rather than business-oriented ones.
The reality is that the field of security is evolving constantly. It's quite difficult, if not impossible, to know what technical questions will be asked. Companies such as Google are famous for presenting candidates with obscure and highly technical problems to solve.
In this article, we divide the questions into two categories: ten technical questions that may arise, as well as ten career or business-related questions that potential employers may ask.
Let's start with the business or personal concerns.
Questions to expect in the cybersecurity interview for managerial or executive positions
Several employers will look at your credentials, certificates, and experience, and ask you a series of technical questions to verify that you know your stuff. Frequently, interviewers will want to know whether you are business-savvy and have managerial ambitions, or prefer to remain merely as a cybersecurity technician or expert.
Here are a few possible answers to ask during an interview for a senior cybersecurity position:
- What do you know about how we address cybersecurity, and how do you think you can help us improve?
This question demonstrates how well or poorly you have done your homework. Ideally, you will have done a search online to see if a company has made cybersecurity headlines for all the wrong reasons. Have they ever been exposed to data breaches or were forced to report them? Google, news stories, and press releases will most likely tell the story. Additionally, job postings will no doubt provide plenty of information about the organization you are considering hiring.
- What cybersecurity skills and strengths can you bring to the table?
But be honest about your abilities and highlight your primary areas of cybersecurity confidence. If the interviewer asks about a specific skill that you do not possess, be honest. But follow that up with a story that illustrates how quickly you have learned a new security technology in the past.
- Where do you think the security landscape is heading?
This one demonstrates whether you are current on trends and know the latest technologies. If you start talking about virus signatures rather than zero-trust architectures, you are unlikely to be offered the position.
- What is your position on cloud-based security versus in-house security?
When it comes to security, be cautious. If you go on a lecture about how untested organizations operate internally using on-premise methods, you may have thrown yourself out of the job. Know who you are talking to and their preferred security strategy, and respond appropriately with a touch of diplomacy if necessary.
- What kind of cybersecurity challenges have you enjoyed the most in previous positions?
Such questions are intended to solicit responses that demonstrate your ability to solve problems in the real world. Provide honest information on a significant difficulty you encountered and how you resolved it. Also, provide information on the security breach or difficulty you experienced.
- What plans do you have to enhance your cybersecurity skills, such as new certifications or training, to help you achieve career goals?
In this case, the interviewer may be interested in your dreams, wanting to know how eager you are to learn new skills and what you intend to do in order to become a valuable cybersecurity asset.
- If cybersecurity-related executive positions were to become available in this company, how do you think you could prepare yourself to become a good candidate?
Another question that is looking at ambition is whether or not a technically qualified person might be a good fit for the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or similar roles in the future. Sometimes, interviewers wonder if a candidate is willing to complete an MBA part-time to prepare for future advancements.
- How do you feel about providing cybersecurity briefings to upper management, and how would you approach it?
Such a screening seeks to see if the candidate is comfortable translating technical terminology into business terms. Many in IT struggle in this area. Those who can do it are excellent managers.
- Do you see your career path as heading in the direction of cybersecurity specialization and expertise, or more in the direction of managing a larger cybersecurity team?
Even if there is a severe shortage of general cybersecurity training, many businesses are desperate to hire those who can demonstrate competence in the security side of a team of technically skilled individuals.
- Can you give me an example of a security deployment or project you were involved in that demonstrated real business value to an organization?
Most IT employees think in terms of bits and bytes, programming, and deploying systems. It is rare for an individual to see the whole picture of how all of this fits into the achievement of strategic business objectives. Be prepared to address such inquiries from both a technical and a business perspective.
[Related: The most common and dangerous vulnerabilities in corporations' cyber defenses]
Questions of a technical nature are the top job interviews for cybersecurity.
Here are a number of articles out there that answer dozens of technical questions and provide useful suggestions. Candidates are advised to drill in response to these questions, much like a catechism.
The problem with such lists is that they are unable to cover all areas of security technology. Someone who is using them to prepare may get caught flat-footed by a question they didnt include in their preparations. In addition, interviewees who provide superficial answers on such lists are likely to fall for the mistake if they are not aware of it.
We will not attempt to cover everything in the remaining areas. Instead, we will focus on what is likely to be on the minds of recruiters and executives right now, especially in the current IT environment, where ransomware and cyberattacks are at a high level. Thats why 46% of respondents identified ransomware defense, protection, and remediation as their top business priorities.
Here is a sampling of the types of technical difficulties to anticipate in relation to ransomware, data breaches, and how to respond to such incidents.
- What would you do if you arrived at or signed on to work and the organization was locked out of all systems by a ransomware attack?
This question merits a thorough answer. Outline the steps to take to determine the extent of the breach, putting an emphasis on the initial containment of the attack.
- How would you go about restoring applications, systems and corporate data in the aftermath of a cyberattack?
The interviewer is looking to see if you know anything about backup techniques to get systems online via backups. Be prepared to discuss finding backup tapes or other backup data sources, how to ensure they are recovered onto systems that are free of infection, verifying the backup's integrity, and more.
- What steps would you take if the early stages of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack were detected?
Know what the difference is between flood and crash attacks, and explain it clearly. Here's how to keep servers from falling into the hands of the DDoS attack. What technologies and procedures would you use in the event of a DDoS disaster?
- The CEO inadvertently clicks on a phishing email and infects some systems. How would you address this?
Lay out the steps such as isolating the CEO's device and getting him or her a loaner in the meantime, checking the extent of the breach, removing any further phishing traffic that might be coming through, scanning for and removing malware, etc.
- In the aftermath of a breach, what steps would you take to prevent it from recurring?
Discuss forensic analysis, finding the origin of the invasion, complete remediation, review of security procedures, etc.
- What basic actions, if done well, would reduce the likelihood of an attack or anydamage that might result from it?
A great way to answer this is to talk about things like automated patch management, backups, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and user education. These actions are typically significantly less expensive than deploying costly new security solutions. However, they are often overlooked. By reviewing the processes and approaches surrounding them, the organization may be better protected without spending a fortune on new technology.
- What steps would you take to reduce our susceptibility to phishing?
Phishing is probably the most common form of attack on organizations. Know what it is, and the various social engineering strategies such as general phishing, spear phishing, and CEO fraud. Have at hand statistics on phishing prevalence among employees and how extensive security awareness training substantially reduces phishing prevalence but does not eliminate it entirely. Proponents argue that such training should be supplemented by other cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, anti-phishing filters, and other measures.
- What is SQL injection, and how do you prevent it?
SQLi attacks are used to execute malicious SQL queries and can be used to evade application security orauthorization and authentication logins and systems. Common variants include user input-based SQLi, cookie-based SQLi, HTTPheaders-based SQLi, and second-order SQLi.
- What is DevSecOps, and how can it help us enhance our security posture?
Know what is the difference between devops and DevSecOps, how they fit together with applicationdevelopment, and what it takes to implement them.
- What is the difference between a security incident and a breach?
An incident is a security situation that compromises the integrity, confidentiality, oravailability of an information asset. A breach is a situation that results in the confirmed disclosure of data to an unauthorized party. Therefore, there are always many more incidents than breaches.
Prepare well for the interview.
Interview preparation can make all the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful interview. Get drilled on such topics by an expert in security. Repeat them again and again. Good luck.
Read on: 10 in-demand tech skills for 2022