4 common cyber security interview questions
- What do you believe are the key cyber threats facing businesses in Singapore?
- What steps would you recommend to maintain the security of a server?
- What anomalies do you look for to indicate a system has been compromised?
- How do you explain technical cyber security concepts to team members who may not have a strong IT background?
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Cyber security is fast becoming a critical focal point for businesses globally, and Singapore is no different. As the risks around cyber crime intensify, demand for cyber security professionals is escalating.
The 2022 Robert Half Singapore Salary Guide confirms that cyber security is one of the top areas firms are hiring for as experts are highly sought after to help protect company and customer data. This is driving demand for cyber security analysts, IT security engineers, and information security analysts across the Singapore labour market.
Given the importance of cyber security roles for a company, candidates can expect an intensive interview process. In-depth questions are likely to be asked that are designed to identify the most skilled talent.
If you are a cyber security specialist, we explain the common cyber security interview questions you’re likely to come up against, with sample answers that can showcase your expertise, technical knowledge and soft skills to a hiring manager.
4 common cyber security interview questions
Not all employers will raise identical issues. But if you can nail the questions below, you will create a strong impression that you have the skills and insights needed to navigate the complex world of cyber security.
Whenever you respond to a question, be sure to fold in examples of your previous experience. This reassures a hiring manager that you have encountered – and successfully managed, cyber threats in the past.
Question 1: What do you believe are the key cyber threats facing businesses in Singapore?
This is a very common cyber security interview question – and with good reason. The hiring manager wants to know that you are up to date with the latest cyber security challenges, and how they are impacting the Singapore market in particular.
Cyber threats involve a malicious attempt to damage or disrupt a computer network or system – often with the goal of accessing sensitive company and/or customer data. We know cyber security is a very dynamic space that is constantly evolving as skilled cyber criminals continually try to find new ways to get past a company’s defences.
In line with global trends, Singapore has experienced a rise in several cyber security threats. The chief threats at present are website defacements, phishing incidents and malware infections. The latest report from the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore shows the rise in cyber threats is targeted at a number of local industries particularly e-commerce, banking, and finance.
Related: Preparing for a job interview? Here are the 10 most common interview questions to prepare for in Singapore
Question 2: What steps would you recommend to maintain the security of a server?
Servers play a central in companies, ensuring access to data and IT systems. This makes servers a favourite target for cyber security threats. An insecure server leaves the organisation vulnerable to a wide range of security threats, so in an interview you need to be able to discuss best practice, and explain strategies you have successfully deployed in the past.
I always follow best practice on server security, and this starts with continually upgrading software and the operating system. All systems have security gaps that hackers want to exploit, so it is important to have a protocol in place for file backups – and a restoration strategy. I also recommend setting access limitations to computer files.
In my previous role, employees were able to access all the resources within the company, which presented a serious cyber security threat. So, in collaboration with management, I limited read access, specifying access to networks, files and other server elements for different levels of employees. This significantly reduced both deliberate and unintended server security breaches.
Question 3: What anomalies do you look for to indicate a system has been compromised?
This is a near-guaranteed cyber security interview question. Being able to quickly identify the anomalies that show a system may be experiencing a cyber attack is central to the role of a cyber security specialist. The sooner an attack is detected, the easier it can be to resolve thereby minimising any impact on the company.
The key indicators of compromise I primarily look for include unusual network traffic – particularly outbound traffic, users experiencing difficulties logging in, large numbers of requests for the same file, and geographic irregularities such as login attempts from countries where the company doesn’t normally do business.
I have found that the hunt for anomalies can be a very labour intensive process, often with a high error rate. In my current role I recommended to the management team that we implement an automated alerting tool for intrusion detection and prevention. This has been a very rewarding innovation as it has accelerated response times to detected incidents and overcome the common problem of human error.
Related: You have your responses ready, but how else can you stand out in an interview? Here are our top tips to make a strong impression
Question 4: How do you explain technical cyber security concepts to team members who may not have a strong IT background?
Cyber security is a field that calls for strong technical skills. However, cyber threats are a company-wide issue, and it is important for cyber security professionals to be able to convey technical matters clearly and concisely to non-tech colleagues. This being the case, common cyber security interview questions will address soft skills – in particular communication skills, to gauge how well you can break down and explain a complicated process.
I believe one of my strengths is clear communication. This is especially important to gain buy-in for cyber security measures that directly involve actions by all employees. I make a point of avoiding jargon and acronyms that are meaningless to those without an IT background.
In my current job I was tasked with giving a presentation to the entire accounts payable team on the new protocols we were introducing to enhance cyber security. The presentation was well received and each attendee walked away with a clear understanding of the steps they needed to take – and why, and how they are personally contributing to keeping the company’s network secure.