200 Information Security One-Liner Questions

Information Security Questions Techhyme

In the dynamic and ever-evolving field of information security, staying abreast of the latest developments, threats, and best practices is crucial. To help you assess and deepen your understanding of information security, here are 200+ one-liner questions that cover a broad spectrum of topics within the cybersecurity domain.

    1. What is the difference between a threat agent and a threat?
    2. What is the difference between vulnerability and exposure?
    3. How is infrastructure protection (assuring the security of utility services) related to information security?
    4. What type of security was dominant in the early years of computing?
    5. What are the three components of the C.I.A. triangle? What are they used for?
    6. If the C.I.A. triangle is incomplete, why is it so commonly used in security?
    7. Describe the critical characteristics of information. How are they used in the study of computer security?
    8. Identify the six components of an information system. Which are most directly affected by the study of computer security? Which are most commonly associated with its study?
    9. What system is the predecessor of almost all modern multiuser systems?
    10. Which paper is the foundation of all subsequent studies of computer security?
    11. Why is the top-down approach to information security superior to the bottom-up approach?
    12. Why is a methodology important in the implementation of information security? How does a methodology improve the process?
    13. Which members of an organization are involved in the security systems development life cycle? Who leads the process?
    14. How can the practice of information security be described as both an art and a science? How does the view of security as a social science influence its practice?
    15. Who is ultimately responsible for the security of information in the organization?
    16. How has computer security evolved into modern information security?
    17. Who decides how and when data in an organization will be used or controlled? Who is responsible for seeing that these decisions are carried out?
    18. Who should lead a security team? Should the approach to security be more managerial or technical?
    19. Why is information security a management problem? What can management do that technology cannot?
    20. Why is data the most important asset an organization possesses? What other assets in the organization require protection?
    21. Which management groups are responsible for implementing information security to protect the organization’s ability to function?
    22. Has the implementation of networking technology created more or less risk for businesses that use information technology? Why?
    23. What is information extortion? Describe how such an attack can cause losses, using an example not found in the text.
    24. Why are employees one of the greatest threats to information security?
    25. How can you protect against shoulder surfing?
    26. How has the perception of the hacker changed over recent years? What is the profile of a hacker today?
    27. What is the difference between a skilled hacker and an unskilled hacker, other than skill levels? How does the protection against each differ?
    28. What are the various types of malware? How do worms differ from viruses? Do Trojan horses carry viruses or worms?
    29. Why does polymorphism cause greater concern than traditional malware? How does it affect detection?
    30. What is the most common violation of intellectual property? How does an organization protect against it? What agencies fight it?
    31. How is technological obsolescence a threat to information security? How can an organization protect against it?
    32. Does the intellectual property owned by an organization usually have value? If so, how can attackers threaten that value?
    33. What are the types of password attacks? What can a systems administrator do to protect against them?
    34. What is the difference between a denial-of-service attack and a distributed denial-of-service attack? Which is more dangerous? Why?
    35. For a sniffer attack to succeed, what must the attacker do? How can an attacker gain access to a network to use the sniffer system?
    36. What methods does a social engineering hacker use to gain information about a user’s login ID and password? How would this method differ if it targeted an administrator’s assistant versus a data-entry clerk?
    37. What is a buffer overflow, and how is it used against a Web server?
    38. What is the difference between law and ethics?
    39. What is civil law, and what does it accomplish?
    40. What are the primary examples of public law?
    41. Which law amended the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, and what did it change?
    42. Which law was created specifically to deal with encryption policy in the United States?
    43. What is privacy in an information security context?
    44. What is intellectual property (IP)? Is it afforded the same protection in every country of the world? What laws currently protect IP in the United States and Europe?
    45. What is a policy? How is it different from a law?
    46. What are the three general categories of unethical and illegal behavior?
    47. What is the best method for preventing an illegal or unethical activity?
    48. How do people from varying ethnic backgrounds differ in their views of computer ethics?
    49. How can a security framework assist in the design and implementation of a security infrastructure? What is information security governance? Who in the organization should plan for it?
    50. Where can a security administrator find information on established security frameworks?
    51. What is the ISO 27000 series of standards? Which individual standards make up the series?
    52. What documents are available from the NIST Computer Security Resource Center, and how can they support the development of a security framework?
    53. What benefit can a private, for-profit agency derive from best practices designed for federal agencies?
    54. What Web resources can aid an organization in developing best practices as part of a security framework?
    55. Briefly describe management, operational, and technical controls, and explain when each would be applied as part of a security framework.
    56. What are the differences between a policy, a standard, and a practice? What are the three types of security policies? Where would each be used? What type of policy would be needed to guide use of the Web? E-mail? Office equipment for personal use?
    57. Who is ultimately responsible for managing a technology? Who is responsible for enforcing policy that affects the use of a technology?
    58. What is contingency planning? How is it different from routine management planning? What are the components of contingency planning?
    59. When is the IR plan used?
    60. When is the DR plan used?
    61. When is the BC plan used? How do you determine when to use the IR, DR, and BC plans?
    62. What are the five elements of a business impact analysis?
    63. What is containment, and why is it part of the planning process?
    64. What is computer forensics? When are the results of computer forensics used?
    65. What is an after-action review? When is it performed? Why is it done?
    66. List and describe the six site and data contingency strategies identified in the text.
    67. What is risk management? Why is the identification of risks and vulnerabilities to assets so important in risk management?
    68. Who is responsible for risk management in an organization? Which community of interest usually takes the lead in information security risk management?
    69. In risk management strategies, why must periodic review be part of the process?
    70. Why do networking components need more examination from an information security perspective than from a systems development perspective?
    71. What value does an automated asset inventory system have during risk identification?
    72. What information attribute is often of great value for local networks that use static addressing?
    73. When devising a classification scheme for systems components, is it more important that the asset identification list be comprehensive or mutually exclusive?
    74. What’s the difference between an asset’s ability to generate revenue and its ability to generate profit?
    75. What are vulnerabilities? How do you identify them?
    76. What is competitive disadvantage? Why has it emerged as a factor?
    77. Describe the defense strategy for controlling risk. List and describe the three common methods.
    78. Describe the transfer strategy for controlling risk. Describe how outsourcing can be used for this purpose.
    79. Describe the mitigation strategy for controlling risk. What three planning approaches are discussed in the text as opportunities to mitigate risk?
    80. How is an incident response plan different from a disaster recovery plan?
    81. What is risk appetite? Explain why it varies among organizations.
    82. What is single loss expectancy? What is annualized loss expectancy?
    83. What is residual risk?
    84. What is the typical relationship among the untrusted network, the firewall, and the trusted network?
    85. What is the relationship between a TCP packet and UDP packet? Will any specific transaction usually involve both types of packets?
    86. How is an application layer firewall different from a packet-filtering firewall? Why is an application layer firewall sometimes called a proxy server?
    87. How is static filtering different from dynamic filtering of packets? Which is perceived to offer improved security?
    88. What is stateful inspection? How is state information maintained during a network connection or transaction?
    89. What is a circuit gateway, and how does it differ from the other forms of firewalls?
    90. What special function does a cache server perform? Why is this useful for larger organizations?
    91. Describe how the various types of firewalls interact with network traffic at various levels of the OSI model.
    92. What is a hybrid firewall?
    93. Describe Unified Threat Management. Why might it be a better approach than single-point solutions that perform the same functions? How might it be less advantageous?
    94. How does a commercial-grade firewall appliance differ from a commercial-grade firewall system? Why is this difference significant?
    95. How do screened host architectures for firewalls differ from screened subnet firewall architectures? Which offers more security for the information assets that remain on the trusted network?
    96. What is a sacrificial host? What is a bastion host?
    97. What is a DMZ? Is this really an appropriate name for the technology, considering the function this type of subnet performs?
    98. What questions must be addressed when selecting a firewall for a specific organization?
    99. What is a content filter? Where is it placed in the network to gain the best result for the organization?
    100. What is a VPN? Why is it becoming more widely used?
    101. What common security system is an IDPS most like? In what ways are these systems similar?
    102. How does a false positive alarm differ from a false negative alarm? From a security perspective, which is less desirable?
    103. How does a network-based IDPS differ from a host-based IDPS?
    104. How does a signature-based IDPS differ from a behavior-based IDPS?
    105. List and describe the three control strategies proposed for IDPSs.
    106. What is a honeypot? How is it different from a honeynet?
    107. What is network footprinting?
    108. What is network fingerprinting?
    109. How are network footprinting and network fingerprinting related?
    110. Why do many organizations ban port scanning activities on their internal networks?
    111. Why would ISPs ban outbound port scanning by their customers?
    112. What is an open port? Why is it important to limit the number of open ports to those that are absolutely essential?
    113. What is a system’s attack surface? Why should it be minimized when possible?
    114. What is a vulnerability scanner? How is it used to improve security?
    115. What is the difference between active and passive vulnerability scanners?
    116. What is Metasploit Framework? Why is it considered riskier to use than other vulnerability scanning tools?
    117. What kind of data and information can be found using a packet sniffer?
    118. What capabilities should a wireless security toolkit include?
    119. What are cryptography and cryptanalysis?
    120. What was the earliest reason for the use of cryptography?
    121. What is a cryptographic key, and what is it used for? What is a more formal name for a cryptographic key?
    122. What are the three basic operations in cryptography?
    123. What is a hash function, and what can it be used for?
    124. What does it mean to be “out of band”? Why is it important to exchange keys out of band in symmetric encryption?
    125. What is the fundamental difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption?
    126. How does public key infrastructure add value to an organization seeking to use cryptography to protect information assets?
    127. What are the components of PKI?
    128. What is the difference between a digital signature and a digital certificate?
    129. What critical issue in symmetric and asymmetric encryption is resolved by using a hybrid method like Diffie-Hellman?
    130. What is steganography, and what can it be used for?
    131. Which security protocols are predominantly used in Web-based e-commerce?
    132. Which security protocols are used to protect e-mail?
    133. IPSec can be implemented using two modes of operation. What are they?
    134. Which kind of attack on cryptosystems involves using a collection of pre-identified terms? Which kind of attack involves sequential guessing of all possible key combinations?
    135. If you were setting up an encryption-based network, what key size would you choose and why?
    136. What is the typical key size of a strong encryption system used on the Web today?
    137. What encryption standard is currently recommended by NIST?
    138. What are the most popular encryption systems used over the Web?
    139. What is physical security? What are the primary threats to physical security? How are they manifested in attacks against the organization?
    140. What are the roles of an organization’s IT, security, and general management with regard to physical security?
    141. Define a secure facility. What is the primary objective of designing such a facility? What are some secondary objectives of designing a secure facility?
    142. Why are guards considered the most effective form of control for situations that require decisive action in the face of unfamiliar stimuli? Why are they usually the most expensive controls to deploy? When should dogs be used for physical security?
    143. List and describe the four categories of locks. In which situation is each type of lock preferred?
    144. What are the two possible modes of locks when they fail? What implications do these modes have for human safety? In which situation is each preferred?
    145. What is the most common form of alarm? What does it detect? What types of sensors are commonly used in this type of alarm system?
    146. Describe a physical firewall that is used in buildings. List reasons that an organization might need a firewall for physical security controls.
    147. What is considered the most serious threat within the realm of physical security? Why is it valid to consider this threat the most serious?
    148. What two critical factors are affected when water is not available in a facility? Why are they important to the operation of the organization’s information assets?
    149. List and describe the three fundamental ways that data can be intercepted. How does a physical security program protect against each of these data interception methods?
    150. What can you do to reduce the risk of theft of portable computing devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and notebooks?
    151. What is a project plan? List what a project plan can accomplish.
    152. What is the value of a statement of vision and objectives? Why is it needed before a project plan is developed?
    153. List and describe the three major steps in executing the project plan.
    154. Why is it a good practice to delay naming specific people as resources early in the planning process?
    155. What is a milestone, and why is it significant to project planning?
    156. Why is it good practice to assign start and end dates sparingly in the early stages of project planning?
    157. Who is the best judge of effort estimates for project tasks and action steps? Why?
    158. Within project management, what is a dependency? What is a predecessor? What is a successor?
    159. What is a negative feedback loop? How is it used to keep a project in control?
    160. When a task is not being completed according to the plan, what two circumstances are likely to be involved?
    161. List and describe the four basic conversion strategies that are used when converting to a new system. Under which circumstances is each strategy the best approach?
    162. What is technology governance? What is change control? How are they related?
    163. What are certification and accreditation when applied to information systems security management? List and describe at least two certification or accreditation processes.
    164. What member of an organization should decide where the information security function belongs within the organizational structure? Why?
    165. List and describe the options for placing the information security function within the organization. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
    166. What factors influence an organization’s decisions to hire information security professionals?
    167. Prioritize the list of general attributes that organizations seek when hiring information security professionals. In other words, list the most important attributes first. Use the list you developed to answer the previous review question.
    168. What are critical considerations when dismissing an employee? Do they change according to whether the departure is friendly or hostile, or according to which position the employee is leaving?
    169. How do security considerations for temporary or contract employees differ from those for regular full-time employees?
    170. What career paths do most experienced professionals take when moving into information security? Are other pathways available? If so, describe them.
    171. Why is it important to use specific and clearly defined job descriptions for hiring information security professionals?
    172. What functions does the CISO perform?
    173. What functions does the security manager perform?
    174. What functions does the security technician perform?
    175. What rationale should an aspiring information security professional use in acquiring professional credentials?
    176. Who should pay for the expenses of certification? Why?
    177. List and describe the standard personnel practices that are part of the information security function. What happens to these practices when they are integrated with information security concepts?
    178. Why shouldn’t an organization give a job candidate a tour of secure areas during an interview?
    179. List and describe the typical relationships that organizations have with temporary employees, contract employees, and consultants. What special security precautions must an organization consider for such workers, and why are they significant?
    180. What is separation of duties? How can it be used to improve an organization’s information security practices?
    181. What is job rotation, and what benefits does it offer an organization?
    182. List and define the factors that are likely to shift in an organization’s information security environment.
    183. Who decides if the information security program can adapt to change adequately?
    184. List and briefly describe the five domains of the general security maintenance model, as identified in the text.
    185. What are the three primary aspects of information security risk management? Why is each important?
    186. What is a management maintenance model? What does it accomplish?
    187. What ongoing responsibilities do security managers have in securing the SDLC?
    188. What is vulnerability assessment?
    189. What is penetration testing?
    190. What is the difference between configuration management and change management?
    191. What is a performance baseline?
    192. What is the difference between vulnerability assessment and penetration testing?
    193. What is the objective of the external monitoring domain of the maintenance model?
    194. List and describe four vulnerability intelligence sources. Which seems the most effective? Why?
    195. What does CERT stand for? Is there more than one CERT? What is the purpose of a CERT?
    196. What is the primary objective of the internal monitoring domain?
    197. What is the objective of the planning and risk assessment domain of the maintenance model? Why is this important?
    198. What is the primary goal of the vulnerability assessment and remediation domain of the maintenance model? Is this important to an organization with an Internet presence? Why?
    199. List and describe the five vulnerability assessments described in the text. Can you think of other assessment processes that might exist?
    200. What is digital forensics, and when is it used in a business setting?
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