Top 30 Penetration Testing Interview Questions and Answers

Penetration Testing Interview Questions and Answers

Top 30 Penetration Testing Interview Questions and Answers

Every third organization in today’s era is facing several challenges of cyberattack incidents directly or indirectly.  As a result, we sincerely require to development of skilled penetration testing professionals that can ultimately execute all the necessary steps to track down all the vulnerabilities, loopholes, and threats present in an IT infrastructure or a target organization.

In this regard, we genuinely believe that all certified penetration testing professionals need to properly understand all the frequently asked questions that interviewers are asking during face-to-face interactions.  Hence, Craw Security, the best penetration testing training institute in India, brought you the Top 30 Penetration Testing Interview Questions and Answers mentioned in the following lines to support to knowledge parameters of our penetration testing job seekers.

Penetration Testing Interview Questions and Answers

1: What is penetration testing?

In my verdict, penetration testing is an artificial cyber attack initiated on an IT infrastructure, such as a computer system, application, or network, to test and evaluate its security posture.  In addition, it highly involves tracking, exploiting, and attempting to gain access to system vulnerabilities primarily to assess the security effectiveness of an IT infrastructure.

Moreover, running varied pentesting tests also helps confirm the number of vulnerabilities in the shape of coding commands to enhance their overall security configuration.

2: What are the different types of penetration testing?

The different types of penetration testing are as follows:

  • External Penetration Testing,
  • Internal Penetration Testing,
  • Web Application Penetration Testing,
  • Wireless Penetration Testing,
  • Social Engineering Penetration Testing,
  • Network Penetration Testing.

3: What is the difference between a vulnerability assessment and a penetration test?

Vulnerability assessment is the analysis of a system or network to identify security weaknesses.  In addition, this type of assessment includes an analysis of the system or network that is not affected by it to identify possible causes such as incompetent software, weak passwords, or incorrect configuration.

Moreover, a test setup is an attack performed on a system or network to detect and exploit security vulnerabilities.  This type of testing usually involves a serious attempt to penetrate the system or network to find out and take advantage of vulnerabilities.

4: What is the OSI model?

A common networking model named OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) is employed to depict how a number of devices in a network interact with one another.  In addition, it also has seven layers, each of which executes a unique set of tasks.

Moreover, these layers would include Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Data Link, and Physical layers, among others.  Ultimately, each layer is designed to talk with the other end of the connection while engaging with the levels above and beneath it.

5: What is a firewall, and how does it work?

A firewall is a kind of network security system that maintains track of and manages incoming and outgoing network traffic in adherence to established security rules.  Furthermore, firewalls are frequently set up to block or reject any unauthorized connections and communications.

Moreover, they can also be deployed as standalone devices or as a component of a broader network infrastructure, and they can be either hardware or software-based.  Additionally, to decide which traffic is permitted or prohibited, firewalls use a set of rules known as access control lists. Additionally, they can be used to keep an eye on traffic and spot illegal conduct.

6: What is a DMZ?

An isolated, protected network area known as a “DMZ” (demilitarized zone) serves as a barrier here between an enterprise’s internal network and the world wide web.  In addition, it is skillfully built and constructed to safeguard internal infrastructure within a business from a malicious outside activity like hackers or malicious programs.

Additionally, it frequently includes external users-accessible public-facing servers, like web servers and mail servers.

7: What is a honeypot?

A computer system known as a “honeypot” is made to recognize, prevent, or, in certain cases, thwart efforts at unlawful use of information systems.  In addition, it functions as a trap that is set to catch, prevent, or foil efforts at unlawful access to information systems.

Subsequently, honeypots can be employed to spot malicious behaviors on a network and assist in locating the attack’s origin.  Moreover, they can be utilized to keep an eye on activities and notify administrators when any suspicious conduct is seen.

8: What is a vulnerability scanner?

A primetime Software known as a vulnerability scanner is used to find potential security holes in computer systems.  It may scan a computer system to find recognized security vulnerabilities in the network services, operating system, and applications and give a snapshot of the security overview of the system.

Additionally, it frequently employs automated testing to identify existing security weaknesses and contains a list of them.  Before systems are attacked, known security holes can be discovered and corrected using a vulnerability scan.

9: What is a penetration testing methodology?

A systematic process for evaluating the safety of a network or computer system is called a penetration testing technique.  In addition, it usually entails finding flaws and exploiting them in order to get into prohibited systems or information.

Penetration testing’s main objective is to assist organizations in strengthening their overall security by identifying security flaws.  Moreover, typical penetration testing methods involve running social engineering exercises, searching for system vulnerabilities in system logs, and looking for unusual activities.

10: What is footprinting?

A computer security technique called “footprinting” is employed to learn details about a specific network or system.  In addition, it heavily entails analyzing the system or network by seeking data about the goal that is easily accessible to the general public.

Moreover, this can entail learning the domain name, IP address, server kinds, application programs, and other specifics of the destination.  Gaining as much knowledge as you can about the destination is the aim of footprinting, which is done to find any possible security flaws.

11: What is reconnaissance?

The act of reconnaissance involves learning more about a specific target or region.  In this sense, it is generally carried out in the initial phases of a project or campaign to comprehend the surroundings, recognizes potential dangers, assess available resources, and obtain information.

12: What is social engineering?

In a social engineering attack, individuals are persuaded to divulge private details or grant access to computer networks, systems, and other types of confidential material.  Moreover, threat actors also utilize well-known social engineering tactics to get around established security measures like antivirus software and firewalls.  In addition, the most typical social engineering attack techniques comprise phishing, pretexting, baiting, and tailgating.

13: What is phishing?

In a phishing attack, a hacker poses as a trustworthy company in an email, text message, or a site in an effort to collect sensitive data, including usernames, passwords, and credit card details.

14: What is privilege escalation?

Trying to exploit systems flaws or configuration errors to elevate one’s permissions above those that are normally provided to a person is known as privilege escalation.  In addition, it is a very popular technique used by attackers to access systems, networks, and information.

15: What is SQL injection?

An attacker can gain access to or alter data stored in a database by inserting harmful SQL code into a web app through a technique known as SQL injection.  Furthermore, this kind of assault has the potential to fetch access to private data, change data, remove data, or even stop a database.

16: What is buffer overflow?

A potential software weakness known as a buffer overflow happens when a program tries to retain additional information in a buffer than the temporary data storage space is designed to contain. In addition, this could lead to the buffer overflowing, damaging or rewriting information in nearby memory locations.

Moreover, it can trigger the software to collapse, which might allow malicious code to be executed or result in other negative effects.

17: What is cross-site scripting (XSS)?

A particular kind of computer security flaw called cross-site scripting (XSS) is frequently discovered in web apps.  In addition, XSS gives attackers the ability to insert client-side scripts into web pages that the other users are seeing.

Moreover, any cookies, session tokens, or other private data stored by the browser and utilized by the website can be accessed by this malicious software.  As a result, it has the ability to modify the HTML page’s content.  Ultimately, XSS attacks take place when a hacker sends malicious code, usually in the form of a browser-side script, to a separate end user using an application online.

18: What is a man-in-the-middle attack?

A man-in-the-middle attack is a kind of cyberattack in which an anti-social element with best hacking practices can listen in on two parties’ conversations and drastically modify them.  In addition, the attacker can also overhear, alter, or stop communications because they are essentially “in the middle” of the two involved sides’ conversation.

19: What is a denial of service (DoS) attack?

A denial of service (DoS) attack is a kind of cyberattack in which the cybercriminal tries to prevent the targeted users from using a computer, network, or service.  In order to achieve this, the victim is either overloaded with queries, rendered unable to react to genuine traffic, or had its resources depleted.

20: What is a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack?

A very significant cyberattack known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) uses numerous hacked computer networks to assault a single platform, like a server, with the goal of flooding it with traffic and rendering it inaccessible to users.

21: What is a zero-day exploit?

A software flaw that hasn’t yet been fixed and is undisclosed to the manufacturer is described as a zero-day exploit.  Moreover, hackers use it to enter a system and take over the management of it.

22: What is a penetration testing report?

A penetration testing report is a thorough analysis of the safety of a system produced by a third-party security team.  In addition, it frequently includes a thorough evaluation of the institution’s security situation, identifying any gaps and offering suggestions for filling them.

23: What is post-exploitation?

The act of utilising an attacked system to get accessibility to other resources and systems or to obtain private data is known as post-exploitation.  Subsequently, it entails leveraging the access granted by the exploit to connect additional networks, harvest information from the system, and/or inflict more harm.

24: What is the importance of regular penetration testing?

The prime importance of regular penetration testing is to assist the diverse vulnerabilities, loopholes, and threats in enhancing the entire security stature of an enterprise.  In addition, organizations can respond to incidents swiftly by employing the necessary steps and measures in place by utilizing penetration testing to find gaps in their security infrastructure.

25: What is the difference between a penetration test and a vulnerability scan?

A penetration test is a more thorough evaluation of the security of a system than a vulnerability scan.  Further, a vulnerability scan is a simplified method that only scans for existing vulnerabilities and does not attempt to capitalize on them, whereas it also involves employing manual testing and automated technologies to find and exploit flaws.

26: How do you stay updated on the latest penetration testing techniques?

Security experts can join various trade conferences, participate in webinars & seminars, and go through the most recent blogs and books from security specialists to keep current on the most recent penetration testing methodologies.  In addition, the Offensive Security Forum, Reddit, and Stack Exchange are just a few of the online groups and forums where data and information about pen testing are shared.

27: How do you prioritize vulnerabilities during a penetration test?

Planning and managing vulnerabilities is a vital stage in a penetration test to make certain that the most significant threats are taken care of first.  Additionally, this can be achieved by evaluating the risk presented by each weakness and classifying them in accordance with their seriousness.

Moreover, the most serious threats should be dealt with first, then the less serious threats.

28: How do you report the findings of a penetration test?

A thorough and well-organized summary on the results of a penetration test is required.  In addition, this often entails recording the attack’s specifics as well as the vulnerabilities found and the actions performed to exploit them.  Further, the study should also contain suggestions for reducing the risks that were found.

29: How do you handle false positives during a penetration test?

Different strategies can be used to deal with wrongful convictions or false positives during a pentest.   Accurately identifying the false positive and comprehending its origins is the most vital phase.  This may entail a deeper investigation of the surroundings, like a close look at the records or a detailed analysis of the network infrastructure.

It is crucial to record the issue and the procedures that were undertaken to determine and correct it in a report once the cause of the false positive has been located.

30: Can you describe a real-life scenario in which you have performed a penetration test?

I once conducted a penetration test on behalf of an individual who had just bought a brand-new product.  The customer wanted to make sure the item was safe and had no potential weaknesses.  To accomplish this, I ran a web application penetration testing on the item from the outside, looking for flaws like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and other similar vulnerabilities.

After the tests were finished, I wrote a thorough report for the customer that included the results and suggested fixes for any issues found.


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