Advanced Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers


Source/Credits/Written By: Izzmier Izzuddin Zulkepli

1. What is your process for conducting a security incident investigation?

When conducting a security incident investigation, my process involves the following steps:
Preparation: Before I start the investigation, I make sure that I have all the necessary tools and resources, such as a digital forensics toolkit, network diagram, and access to relevant logs and systems. I also establish a clear scope and objectives for the investigation.
Data collection: I start by collecting as much relevant data as possible. This includes system logs, network traffic logs, and any other relevant information that can help me identify the cause of the security incident. I also collect information about the affected systems and any potential data breaches.
Analysis: Next, I analyze the data that I have collected. This involves identifying patterns, anomalies, and correlations that can help me determine the root cause of the incident. I also analyze the impact of the incident, including any data breaches or unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Reporting: Once I have a clear understanding of the incident and its impact, I prepare a detailed report that summarizes my findings and recommendations. I also provide a timeline of events and any relevant evidence that supports my conclusions.
Remediation: Based on my findings, I recommend steps to remediate the security incident and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. This may involve implementing new security measures, enhancing existing security controls, or conducting additional training for employees.
Follow-up: Finally, I follow up to ensure that my recommendations have been implemented and that the organization is better prepared to detect and respond to future security incidents. I also monitor the situation to ensure that the incident has been fully resolved and that there are no lingering risks to the organization’s security posture.

Also Read : Soc Interview Questions and Answers – CYBER SECURITY ANALYST

2. How do you prioritize and escalate security incidents?

Prioritizing and escalating security incidents is a critical step in ensuring that the right resources are applied to address security threats in a timely and effective manner. The following are the steps involved in prioritizing and escalating security incidents:
I. Define incident priority levels: The first step is to define the different priority levels of security incidents, such as high, medium, and low. This helps in determining the urgency of an incident and the resources required to resolve it.
II. Evaluate the threat level: After an incident has been identified, the next step is to assess the threat level of the incident. This involves evaluating the potential impact of the incident on the organization and the criticality of the affected systems and data.
III. Assign a priority: Based on the threat level assessment, the incident is assigned a priority level, which determines the urgency of the response. High-priority incidents require immediate attention and resources, while low-priority incidents may be addressed in a more relaxed manner.
IV. Escalation procedures: The next step is to determine the escalation procedures, which outline the steps that need to be taken to address the incident. This includes determining the team responsible for resolving the incident, the steps involved in resolving the incident, and the time frame for resolution.
V. Notification and Communication: Once the priority and escalation procedures have been determined, the next step is to notify the relevant stakeholders and to keep them informed of the progress of the incident resolution. This includes regular updates on the status of the incident, the resources involved, and any impact on the organization.
VI. Review and feedback: After the incident have been resolved, it is important to review the process and provide feedback to the stakeholders involved. This helps in identifying areas of improvement and making any necessary changes to the incident response process.

In conclusion, prioritizing and escalating security incidents is a critical step in ensuring that security threats are addressed in a timely and effective manner. It involves defining incident priority levels, evaluating the threat level, assigning a priority, determining escalation procedures, notifying stakeholders, and providing feedback.

3. How do you communicate with stakeholders during a security incident response process?

Communication is a key aspect of my job when responding to a security incident. In such situations, it’s important for me to be clear, concise, and accurate in my interactions with stakeholders. I use the following methods to communicate with stakeholders during a security incident response process:
I. Email – I send out emails to stakeholders to keep them informed about the incident, its severity, and the steps that I am taking to mitigate the impact.
II. Conference Calls – I conduct conference calls to update stakeholders on the incident and answer any questions they may have. I also use this platform to coordinate with my team to ensure that we are all on the same page in terms of our response plan.
III. Status Reports – I provide regular status reports to stakeholders on the incident and its resolution
status. This helps to keep them informed and provides them with an understanding of the situation.
IV. Personal Interactions – I engage in personal interactions with stakeholders to provide them with more in-depth information about the incident. This helps to build trust and establish a clear understanding of the situation.
V. Social Media – I also use social media platforms to communicate with stakeholders, especially when the incident affects a large number of people. This helps to reach a wider audience and keep them informed of any updates.
In conclusion, it’s important for me to be proactive and transparent in my communications during a security incident response process. By providing regular updates, answering questions, and engaging in personal interactions, I can help to build trust and ensure that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the situation.

4. What is your experience with threat intelligence and incident response planning?

I have been working in the cybersecurity field for several years now and have had the opportunity to be involved in both threat intelligence and incident response planning. My experience with threat intelligence has been a positive one as I have seen the impact it has had on an organization’s ability to defend itself against cyber-attacks.
I have been involved in several threat intelligence initiatives that have helped our organization stay ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying potential threats. We have implemented various tools and techniques to collect, analyze, and disseminate intelligence information, and this has greatly improved our ability to detect and respond to cyber-attacks. I have also been part of a team that has established partnerships with other organizations in the same industry, which has allowed us to share threat intelligence and collaborate on bestpractices.
In terms of incident response planning, I have been involved in several incident response drills and tabletop exercises, which have helped our organization refine our incident response plan. These exercises have allowed us to identify areas for improvement and have helped us develop stronger processes and procedures for responding to a cyber-attack. I have also been part of a team that has established incident response teams, trained response personnel, and developed communications plans to ensure that we can respond effectively
and efficiently in the event of a breach. Overall, my experience with threat intelligence and incident response planning has been a valuable one, and I believe that these initiatives are critical components of a comprehensive cybersecurity program. They help
organizations be better prepared for cyber-attacks and allow them to respond quickly and effectively in the
event of a breach.

5. How do you stay current with the latest security threats and vulnerabilities?

I, as a security professional, stay current with the latest security threats and vulnerabilities through various means. Firstly, I subscribe to several security newsletters and journals that provide regular updates on the latest threats and vulnerabilities. I also attend security conferences and webinars where security experts discuss the latest security challenges and how to tackle them. I also have several industry contacts and belong to security communities where we exchange information and share insights. I participate in forums and discussions, attend hackathons and bug bounty programs, and contribute to open-source security projects. All these activities help me stay informed about the latest security trends and advances in the field.

In addition to staying informed, I also conduct regular scans and assessments of my own systems to identify any potential security weaknesses. I also keep my software and systems up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. Finally, I also stay informed about the latest security threats and vulnerabilities by reading the latest research papers, case studies, and best practices in the field. This helps me stay ahead of the curve and be better prepared to tackle any emerging security threats and vulnerabilities.

6. Can you explain the difference between incident response and disaster recovery?

Incident response and disaster recovery are two important concepts in the field of information security. While they are related, they refer to different processes and approaches.Incident response refers to the process of identifying, assessing, and responding to a security breach or a threat. The focus of incident response is to prevent further damage and minimize the impact of an attack. The goal is to quickly contain the problem, assess the extent of the damage, and recover critical systems and data. Incident response teams usually have a defined set of procedures and protocols in place to deal with a security incident.

Disaster recovery, on the other hand, refers to the process of restoring systems and data after a significant disaster or disruption. The objective of disaster recovery is to ensure that critical systems and data are available and operational as soon as possible. This involves creating backup plans, testing them, and having the necessary resources in place to implement them in the event of a disaster.
In summary, incident response focuses on addressing an immediate threat or security breach, while disaster recovery focuses on restoring systems and data after a major disruption. Both are crucial components of a comprehensive security strategy, and organizations should have well-defined plans in place for both.

7. How do you handle data privacy concerns during a security incident response?

When it comes to handling data privacy concerns during a security incident response, my first priority is to assess the situation and determine what kind of data has been impacted. If personal information, such as names, addresses, or financial information, has been compromised, I make sure to immediately secure the data to prevent further exposure. Next, I follow the company’s established incident response plan to notify the appropriate authorities, such as law enforcement or a data protection authority, depending on the nature and extent of the breach. I also notify affected individuals and provide them with information on what steps they can take to protect their data.
In addition, I work with the rest of the security team to perform a thorough investigation of the incident to determine the cause and extent of the breach, and to identify any other areas of the system that may have been impacted.

Throughout the incident response process, I keep in mind the need to balance the need for a prompt resolution with the need to protect the privacy of affected individuals. I make sure to adhere to all relevant data protection laws and regulations and to follow industry best practices for handling security incidents.Overall, my goal in handling data privacy concerns during a security incident response is to minimize harm to affected individuals and to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

8. Can you describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision during a security incident response and how you approached it?

I was the incident response lead during a major security breach at my company. One of the servers had been compromised and sensitive data had been stolen. The stakes were high, and I had to make a difficult decision on how to proceed.
I approached the situation by taking a step back and gathering all the information I could about the breach. I consulted with my team, analyzed the data we had, and evaluated the risks involved. I also reached out to other departments within the company to get their perspective on the situation.
The decision I had to make was whether to immediately shut down the entire network to contain the breach or to keep it running so that we could track the attacker’s movements and gather more evidence. On one hand, shutting down the network would ensure that no further damage could be done, but on the other hand, it would also disrupt our operations and potentially make the attacker suspicious.
After weighing the pros and cons, I ultimately decided to keep the network running while closely monitoring it and implementing additional security measures to prevent further breaches. I also informed the relevant authorities and our customers of the situation and made sure they were aware of the steps we were taking to rectify it.
In conclusion, I approached this difficult situation by taking a methodical and informed approach. I gathered information, consulted with others, and decided based on the best available evidence. Ultimately, I put the security and interests of the company and its customers first.

9. What incident response team-based events have you overseen or participated in, and what did you learn?

This is a good chance for you to speak about some of your past experiences either as a team member or team leader. Talk about the problems you faced and the techniques that were used when trying to isolate the problem. Be sure to mention the different phases of your response, such as containment, preservation, eradication, recovery and post-mortem. Explain what you need to do for each step, and how past incidents that you were part of were broken down into each of these different phases.

10. What are some mistakes that you have made in the past? How did you learn from them?

This is a good place to be honest about some of the errors you might have made earlier in your career or a simple mistake from just last week: You need to decide how relevant the example is that you are giving to the interviewers. Obviously, you don’t want to paint yourself as being reckless or incompetent, so keep things limited to mistakes that you made where you were able to learn from and rectify the situation. Perhaps you once locked yourself out of an appliance such as a router or network switch or lost comms to a device after making a bad configuration change.

Explain how you worked around the problem and then made sure that you didn’t let it happen again. Interviewers are looking for honesty here, so be sincere and think about some of the learning experiences that you have had over the years and have one or two examples ready for them.

11. You’ve been given the chance to build your own CSIRT. What would you need?

This is a fun question to answer, as it is quite open-ended. Roles that require managerial and planning experience might want to see how you envision the role of the CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) within an organization. The answers that you give will depend on the size of the organization, the budget for the team, how the department fits in with the SOC (Security Operation Center) and CERT (CommunityEmergency Response Team), and if there are any overlapping responsibilities between the teams. You can also
make suggestions for threat intelligence systems and other tools that you would recommend.

12. What is an APT and how would you effectively deal with one?

Advanced Persistent Threats are usually groups of cybercriminals that gain access to a network and remain hidden while stealing information or jeopardizing systems. Traditionally this was the work of state-sponsored cyber-divisions that would attack international targets, but this has become a more localized threat in recent years. The availability of tools and the growing number of skilled attackers has made these types of incidents far more common than they were before, though they are still relatively rare. Dealing with this kind of threat requires an intelligent threat response system in conjunction with a team of threat hunters to investigate the environment actively and routinely for suspicious behavior and anomalies in the system logs. Proper security audits must be carried out routinely to establish if any intrusion attempts have been made, whether successful or not.

13. Tell us about the most difficult incident that you have ever had to respond to.

This kind of question lets you sculpt the answer to fit the narrative of the interview up to this point because you would have an idea of the requirements of the role. Draw from your past experiences and mention something that relates to some earlier questions, and don’t be afraid of going into details about the processes that you followed, as well as the outcomes. This is a great opportunity for you to showcase the skills that you have, and how they would be applicable to the company that is interviewing you.

14. How do you deal with a technical situation that you cannot figure out on your own?

There is no shortage of potential incident response resources, both internal and on the Internet. The first port of call would be your internal playbook and policy guides. These would assist with determining the next course of action given a specific set of failures and outcomes.
Next would-be policy frameworks and your department’s incident response plan. Failing that, you could lean on other members in your department that have more direct experience with a specific threat, or if it seems to be more of a specialized issue, then you could look at collaborating with another department to get to the bottom of the problem. You want to show both your willingness to get your hands dirty tackling the problem while showing restraint with regards to spending too much time on a bad solution. Time is critical in this line of work, so you want to make sure that you can walk that fine line between the two approaches.

15. Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced environment?

This is because incident response analysts often have tight deadlines and must prioritize tasks quickly. Your answer should show that you are comfortable working under pressure and can meet the demands of the job. Answer: I am very comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, as I’ve worked in one for most of my career. In my last role, I was responsible for responding to security breaches within minutes of them occurring. I also had to prioritize which incidents were more urgent than others. I’m used to multitasking and making
quick decisions on how to best respond to an issue.

16. What are some of the most important skills for an incident response analyst?

The two most important skills for an incident response analyst are communication and problem-solving. These skills are essential because I need to be able to clearly communicate with my team members and other stakeholders about what we’re doing during an investigation. Also, I need to be able to solve problems quickly when they arise. This is especially true when a breach occurs, as I may need to find solutions to issues that haven’t been seen before.

17. How would you approach an investigation if most of the evidence had been deleted or destroyed?

If most of the evidence had been deleted or destroyed, I would first try to determine if there was any other way to recover the information. If not, I would start by looking at what we know about the incident so far. For example, if the company’s website was hacked, I would look for commonalities between websites that were also hacked. This could give me an idea of who is behind the hacking and where they are likely to be hiding.

18. What is your process for documenting your findings after completing an investigation?

I use several tools to document my findings during an investigation. I start by creating a case in our company’s incident management system so I have a central location for all my notes and files. Then, I create sub-cases within the main one for each individual finding. For example, if I find malware on a computer, I’ll create a sub-case for the computer itself, as well as any other devices connected to it. This helps me keep track of all my data and ensures I don’t miss anything.

19. Provide an example of a time when you identified and resolved a cybersecurity vulnerability.

In my last role as an incident response analyst, I noticed a spike in malware attacks on our company’s servers. After investigating the issue, I discovered that one of our employees had installed a malicious program on their computer without knowing it. This led me to investigate all computers within the organization to ensure no other employees were affected by the same problem. I found two additional computers with the same malware, which allowed me to remove the threat before any damage occurred.

20. If you were unable to determine the cause of a breach, how would you explain your findings to your employer?

If I were unable to find the cause of a breach, I would first explain my findings to my employer and ask if they have any additional questions or concerns. Then, I would research the issue further by looking at other factors that could be contributing to the problem. If I still couldn’t find the root cause after several days, I would report this to my supervisor so they could decide what action to take next.

21. What would you do if you suspected that an employee was intentionally causing damage to the company’s computer systems?

If I suspected an employee of causing damage to a company’s computer systems, I would first try to find out why they were doing it. If they were acting maliciously, I would report them to my supervisor so that we could take appropriate action. However, if they were simply trying to do their job but making mistakes, I would help them learn from their errors and avoid damaging the system in the future.

22. How well do you understand the legal implications of data breaches and other cyber incidents?

I understand that there are many different types of cyber incidents that can affect a company’s reputation and financial standing. In my last role, I worked closely with our IT department to ensure we were in compliance with all federal and state privacy laws. For example, I helped develop a plan to protect consumer data and prevent identity theft after an employee accidentally left their laptop at a coffee shop. We also had to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.

23. Do you have any experience working with forensics tools to investigate digital evidence?

I’ve worked with several different types of forensic tools throughout my career, including EnCase, FTK and X-Ways Forensics. I find these tools helpful for analyzing digital evidence because they allow me to collect data from a variety of sources and examine it thoroughly. This helps me identify important information quickly so I can use it to solve problems and make informed decisions.

24. When investigating a breach, what is your process for determining who is at risk of being harmed?

When determining who is at risk, I first look for any personal information that was exposed during the breach. This includes names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card information and other sensitive data. Next, I determine if there are any publicly available details about those affected, such as their age or location. If so, I use this information to create a list of people who may be at risk based on these factors. Finally, I check for any additional information that could put someone at risk, such as whether they have recently been in contact with the company.

25. We want to ensure that our employees are well-informed about cybersecurity best practices. How would you approach educating employees about security risks and prevention techniques?

I would start by identifying the most common security threats that employees are likely to encounter. I would then develop a training program that includes information on how to recognize these threats and prevent them from occurring. For example, I might provide an overview of phishing attacks and how to avoid them, along with tips for spotting suspicious emails and websites. I would also include instructions for updating passwords regularly and using two-factor authentication.

26. Describe your experience with risk assessment tools and processes.

I have used several different types of risk assessment tools, including some that are free and others that require a subscription. I find that using these tools can help me understand the risks involved in an organization’s operations and develop strategies for mitigating those risks. In my last role, I worked with a team to create a risk assessment tool that we could use to evaluate our security measures regularly. We found it helpful to use the tool to identify areas where we needed to improve our security protocols.

27. What makes you an ideal candidate for this job?

I have five years of experience in cyber security and incident response analysis. I also hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science and am currently working toward my master’s degree in cybersecurity. In addition to my education, I’ve worked in several different industries where I gained valuable experience in handling cyber threats and responding to incidents.

28. What do you think is the most important aspect of cybersecurity?

I believe that security awareness is one of the most important aspects of cybersecurity. If employees are aware of cyber threats and how they can protect themselves from them, then there will be fewer incidents within the company. I also think employee training is essential because it helps ensure that everyone knows how to respond to a breach or other incident.

29. How often do you update your knowledge of cybersecurity best practices and tools?

I am constantly researching new security tools and techniques so I can apply them to my work. For example, I recently learned about a new method for detecting malware using machine learning algorithms. I implemented it into my daily workflow and shared it with other analysts in my department who were interested in learning more.

30. There is a high volume of traffic on the day of a planned update to the company’s security system. An incident occurs. What is your process for handling it?

I would first make sure that all employees were aware of the update and how it might affect their work. Then I would monitor the network traffic for any anomalies or unusual spikes. If there was no suspicious activity, I would proceed with the security system update. If there was suspicious activity, I would pause the update until I could investigate further.

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