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Top Security Engineering Interview Questions

by Interview Kickstart Team in Interview Questions
March 24, 2022

Top Security Engineering Interview Questions

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Security Engineer Interview Questions necessitate demonstrating knowledge of various programming languages and technologies. In the technology industry, cyber security analysts are in high demand. Gartner predicts that cyber security spending will reach $172 billion in 2022, a $20 billion increase over 2021. Security engineers are not your typical software developers or engineers. They are highly skilled and have unique approaches to problem-solving.

Security engineer interview questions evaluate whether you are qualified for positions involving the protection of sensitive business data. When asked a difficult question during the interview, you must assert your trustworthiness, highly developed problem-solving skills, dependability, ingenuity, and calmness. Continue reading for the top security engineer interview questions asked in various technology companies to help you improve your interview preparation.

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Here's what we'll cover:

  • What Does a Security Engineer Do?
  • Must-have Skills to Become a Security Engineer
  • Senior Cyber Security Engineer Interview Questions
  • Security Engineer Interview Questions Asked at Amazon
  • Cloud Security Engineer Interview Questions
  • Security Engineer Interview Questions by Experience
  • FAQs on Security Engineer Interview Questions

What Does a Security Engineer Do?

Security engineers are a vital part of any tech company. They implement and enforce security policies. With adequate policies in place, it’s been up to the security engineers to maintain, monitor, and apply countermeasures, mitigation, and other infrastructure to secure the system. The security engineer is responsible for creating and developing incident response actions and guidelines. 

Security engineers have to think a step further when securing systems and storing data. If you apply for a security engineer role, you must focus on securing its intellectual property held in network and IT places. It will be you who will deal with physical security, such as cyberattacks or other security. 

Must-have Skills to Become a Security Engineer

The crucial role of a security engineer is to fix unsafe procedures, apply software and hardware update policies, and design access controls to various systems and data. They are responsible for enumerating, defining, and modeling all security threats. To perform such tasks potentially, you must be skilled in many tools. These include:

  • Frameworks 
  • Libraries 
  • Defend and determine the cause of security breaches
  • Social engineering
  • Phishing
  • Buffer overflows
  • XSS
  • Zero-days 
  • Metasploit 
  • Must have good knowledge of administrative tools
  • Firewalls 
  • Antivirus solutions 
  • Threat modeling 
  • Intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system
  • Security information and event management system 

Recommended Reading: Cyber Security Engineer Interview Process.

Senior Cyber Security Engineer Interview Questions

  1. How do you ensure that a server is secure?
  2. How do you differentiate between symmetric and asymmetric encryption?
  3. What is the difference between IDS and IPS?
  4. What Is the CIA Triad?
  5. What is the difference between HIDS and NIDS?
  6. What Is SSL encryption?
  7. Explain a brute force attack along with the steps to prevent it.
  8. What do you mean by port scanning?
  9. Explain the OSI Model.
  10. What is identity theft? Can you prevent it?
  11. Black Hat Hackers vs. White Hat Hackers vs. Gray Hat Hackers: Are all illegal?
  12. How frequently do you perform patch management?
  13. Can you reset a password-protected BIOS configuration?
  14. What is the difference between Black Box Testing and White Box Testing?
  15. What do you mean by phishing? How many types of phishing are there?
  16. What is forward secrecy?
  17. What are spyware attacks?
  18. What is ARP poisoning? Can you explain with an example?
  19. What do you mean by SQL injection?
  20. Explain active reconnaissance.
  21. How do you differentiate between viruses and worms?
  22. What is SYN/ACK, and how does it work?
  23. Write out a Cisco ASA firewall configuration on the whiteboard to allow three networks unfiltered access, 12 networks limited access to different resources on different networks, and eight networks to be blocked altogether.
  24. Do you know what XXE is?
  25. Differentiate XSS from CSRF.
  26. What is a server-side request forgery attack?
  27. What is the same-origin policy and CORS?
  28. How is ISO27001 different?
  29. What is role-based access control (RBAC), and why do compliance frameworks cover it?
  30. What is the NIST framework, and why is it influential?

Also, read Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers.

Security Engineer Interview Questions Asked at Amazon

  1. What are the important cloud security aspects in AWS?
  2. What are the important security precautions before migration to AWS Cloud?
  3. What are the laws implemented for the security of cloud data?
  4. What are the infrastructure security products on AWS?
  5. What are inventory and configuration management security features on AWS?
  6. What is AWS Directory Service?
  7. What is AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)?
  8. What is AWS Single Sign-On?
  9. What is AWS CloudTrail?
  10. Define Amazon GuardDuty?
  11. What is Amazon CloudWatch?
  12. Define AWS Trusted Advisor.
  13. What is the role of AWS Security Bulletins?
  14. What is the significance of AWS Well-Architected Framework?
  15. What are the notable advantages of AWS security?
  16. What is perfect forward secrecy?
  17. Should you encrypt all data at rest?
  18. Explain the difference between TCP and UDP.
  19. What is the difference between authentication vs. authorization namespaces?
  20. Do you know how single-sign-on works?

Learn How to Prepare for a Google Cyber Security Engineer Interview.

Cloud Security Engineer Interview Questions

  1. What are the platforms for using large-scale cloud computing?
  2. What are the general characteristics of cloud computing?
  3. What security aspects do you receive along with the cloud?
  4. What are the precautions that a user must consider before going for cloud computing?
  5. Can you name some open source cloud computing platform databases?
  6. Do you know the security laws implemented to secure data in the cloud?
  7. How is cloud different from traditional data centers?
  8. Define the different layers of cloud architecture.
  9. How do you secure your data while transferring to the cloud?
  10. How does cloud architecture provide automation and transparency in performance?
  11. What do system integrators do in cloud computing?
  12. How is EUCALYPTUS (Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs) used in cloud computing?
  13. Why is a virtualization platform needed in implementing the cloud?
  14. Name the different layers of cloud computing.
  15. What are the different modes of SaaS?
  16. What is the importance of PaaS?
  17. What are the resources provided in IaaS?
  18. How is API used in cloud services?
  19. Define scalability and elasticity in terms of cloud computing.
  20. Do you know about Amazon SQS?
  21. What are the optimization strategies involved in the cloud?
  22. What do you know about Windows Azure OS?
  23. What is the hypervisor in cloud computing?
  24. What are the phases involved in cloud architecture?
  25. How do Amazon Web Services use the buffer?

Security Engineer Interview Questions by Experience

  1. Why do you want to build a career in cybersecurity?
  2. What are your greatest strengths and accomplishments?
  3. What is referred to as a man-in-the-middle attack?
  4. What is a firewall? How do you set it up?
  5. What is cryptography?
  6. What is the difference between a threat, a vulnerability, and a risk?
  7. What are the most required cybersecurity skills?
  8. What does a cybersecurity analyst do?
  9. Explain a three-way handshake.
  10. What is the most challenging project you encountered on your learning journey?

FAQs on Security Engineer Interview Questions

Q1. How long does it take to learn security engineer interview questions?

Mastering security engineer interview questions depends on your experience and passion. If you have strong fundamental skills in cybersecurity or choose to learn cybersecurity through a high-quality Bootcamp program, you can finish all these security engineer interview questions within 2-3 months, working at 18-20 hours per week. 

Q2. What minimum qualification is required to attempt security engineer interview questions in top tech companies?

You should have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, information system management, or engineering to attempt security engineer interviews at top tech companies. It will help you if you have cybersecurity certifications alongside the degree. 

Q3. Is cybersecurity a high-paying job?

According to Indeed, the average salary of a security engineer is $103,622 per year. On the other hand, the average base salary of a cloud security engineer is $125,082 per year. If you get promoted as a Director of information security, you can earn up to $138,663 per year. 

Q4. What makes you answer security engineer interview questions confidently? 

As a security engineer, you should be comfortable implementing intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems. You should be skillful in vulnerability assessment skills and penetration testing. You should be aware of various system security protocols and prevent detection. Mastering the skills mentioned above will help you grab your dream job by answering security interview questions confidently. 

Q5. How do I prepare for security engineer interview questions?

You should do your research as it is crucial to know what the company's requirements are. Firstly, you should prepare a detailed resume to get you shortlisted for the interview. Then you need to work on your communication skills, personality, and how you represent your thought process. Lastly, preparing for the security engineer interview questions will boost your confidence to ace the interview. 

Ace Your Next Security Engineer Interview

If you need help with your prep, join Interview Kickstart’s Security Engineering Interview Course — the first-of-its-kind, domain-specific tech interview prep program designed and taught by FAANG+ instructors. Click here to learn more about the program. 

IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview. 

Sign up for our FREE webinar to uplevel your career!


How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

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