IBM Security QRadar SIEM Interview Questions

IBM Security QRadar is a popular security information and event management (SIEM) solution used by large organizations to detect and respond to cybersecurity threats. This blog post discusses some of the top IBM Security QRadar interview questions and answers approved by our IBM Security QRadar training experts and will be useful for both novices and those wishing to improve their skills. So let us not waste any more time and go right in. 

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Top 10 Frequently Asked IBM Security QRadar SIEM Interview Question

  1. What are the types of user authentication?
  2. What is the process of setting the HA Host Offline?
  3. What is Index Management?
  4. What is Reference Set?
  5. What is the Event Collector?
  6. What is QRadar QFlow Collector?
  7. What is the function of the Content tab?
  8. What is the encryption process?
  9. What is an Offense?
  10. What is NetFlow?

IBM Security QRadar SIEM Interview Questions and Answers 

1) How can we reset the SIM Module?

SIM module facilitates to eliminate all offense, IP address source, & information of the destination IP address from the database and the disk. The reset option is useful after fine-tuning the installation to evade receiving any additional false information. One of the following options can do reset:

  1. Soft Clean, which closes all the offenses in the database. On selecting the Soft Clean option, we can select Deactivate all offenses.
  2. Hard Clean – It purges all the historical & current SIM data including the offenses, destination IP addresses & source IP addresses.

2) What do you understand by High Availability?

The high availability (HA) attribute makes sure the accessibility of QRadar SIEM data in any event of hardware/network breakdown. Each cluster of HA contains of one primary host & one secondary host as standby. The secondary host continues with the same data as the primary host. Either by replicating the data of primary hosts, or accessing the shared data on external storage. The secondary host in the network sends a heartbeat ping to the primary host every 10 seconds by default to detect any hardware or network failure. As soon as the secondary host identifies a failure, the secondary host assumes all responsibilities of the primary host, automatically. 

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3) What are the types of user authentication?

  • System Authentication -QRadar SIEM authenticates Users locally, which is the default type of authentication.
  • TACACS Authentication - Authentication via Terminal Access Controller Access Control System server.
  • RADIUS Authentication - Authentication via Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service server.
  • Active Directory -  Authentication via Lightweight Directory Access Protocol server using Kerberos.
  • LDAP - Authentication via the Native LDAP server.

4) How are users authenticated?

After authentication is configured and any user enters an invalid user name or password, a message indicates the invalid login. If the user tries to access multiple times by invalid data, the user has to wait for the set duration before trying again.

Related Article: IBM QRadar vs Splunk

5) What is the process of setting the HA Host Offline?

To set an HA host offline:

1. We should click the Admin tab.
2. From the menu, select System Configuration & click the System and License Management icon.
3. Following we should Select the HA host that is set to offline.
4. From the High Availability menu, choose Set System Offline.
4. The status of the host changes to Offline.

6) Why do we need to Update License Key very often?

QRadar SIEM Console provides a default license key to access the QRadar SIEM user interface for 5 weeks. If we log in after the license key has expired, we are directed to the System & License Management window. We should update the license key to continue. If any of the non-Console systems has an expired license key, a message will be displayed at the time of login, which indicates the requirement of a new license key & navigates to the System and License Management window for updation.

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7) How can we manage automatic updates?

QRadar SIEM exercise system configuration files for offering a useful classification of data flow within the network. We can manually update the configuration to make sure the configuration files consist of the updated network security information. For HA installation, Automatic Updations are disabled for the secondary HA system which is active during any breakdown. Automatic updations are executed on the secondary HA system only after the primary HA system is reinstated.

8) How can we create Network Hierarchy?

In QRadar SIEM, the network hierarchy is set to understand the network traffic & offer the capability of viewing network activity for the entire installation. During the installation of the network hierarchy, we should believe it as the best method for viewing network activity. The configured network in QRadar SIEM is not like the physical operation of the network. QRadar SIEM provides the network hierarchy, which is defined by a series of IP addresses. 

9) How can we schedule updates?

QRadar SIEM executes automatic updations, which are set on a recurring schedule. However, if scheduling an update or a set of updations runs at any specified time, updates are scheduled by the window of “Schedule the Updates.” This is beneficial when we need to schedule a large update file to run during off-hours, which minimizes effects on the performance of the system.

10) How can we View the Pending Updates?

The system is set to execute automatic updates weekly. If updates are not displayed, either the system is not in operation to retrieve weekly updates or there are available no updates. If this occurs, you can manually check for new updates.

Related Article: IBM QRadar Tutorial

11) How can we manage the retention bucket sequence?

Sequences of retention buckets are set in priority order from the top row to the bottom row on the Event Retention and Flow Retention windows. Records are stored in the first bucket, which matches the recorded constraint. The order of the retention buckets can be modified to ensure that events & flows are matched by retention buckets in the same order, which matches the necessities.

12) What are Flow Retention & Event Retention Buckets?

Event Retention & Flow Retention features are presented on the Admin tab, for configuring the retention buckets. A retention bucket describes a policy for any events & flows, which match any custom filter requirements. QRadar SIEM accepts events and flows, every single event and flow is evaluated against the filter criteria of the retention bucket. Whenever it matches a filter, it is stored in the bucket until the policy time period has reached. It also enables us to enable multiple retention buckets.

13) What is Index Management?

Index Management allows controlling the database for indexing on event & flow properties. The Indexing event and flow properties permit optimizing searches. We can facilitate indexing on the properties, which is listed in the Index Management window & facilitates the indexing on more than a property. Index Management provides statistics, like:

  • Percentage of the saved searches executed on the installation.

  • The volume of data written on the disk through the index, at a specific time.

14) How can we add a Custom Offense Close Reason?

The new reason is scheduled on the Custom Close Reasons window as we add a custom offense close reason.

  • For adding a custom offense close reason, we need to click the Admin tab
  • From the menu, we should click System Configuration, followed by clicking on the custom Offense Close Reasons icon.
  • Now we should Click Add & state a reason before closing offenses.

15) What is Reference Set?

Reference Set Management allows the creation and management of reference sets. We can import elements into the reference set from the external file too.

16) What is the function of the Index Management toolbar?

Index Management toolbar has the following utility:

  1. Enable Index - Choose properties in the list of Index Management followed by clicking on the icon to facilitate indexing.
  2. Disable Index - Choose properties in the list of Index Management followed by clicking the icon to disable indexing.
  3. Quick Search - Keying in the keyword on the specified Quick Search field and clicking on the Quick Filter icon. Properties that match the keyword are exhibited on the Index Management list.

17) What are the functions of the Content tab toolbar?

It offers the following functions: New, Delete, Delete Listed, Import, Export, Refresh Table, Quick Search

18) What is the function of the Content tab?

The content tab offers a list of components, included in reference sets. The content tab offers the following information:

  1. Value - Displays the component’s value.
  2. Origin – This indicates the source of the component. Options are:  & User
  3. Time to Live - Show the remaining time until this component is removed.
  4. Date Last Seen - shows the date and time on which it was last identified on the network.

19) How are Backup Archives Managed?

QRadar SIEM generates a backup archive of configured information daily at midnight, by default. The backup archive comprises configured information, from the previous day. QRadar SIEM enlists all backup archives on the specific window, which is the first displayed window to access the Backup and Recovery attribute on the Admin tab. 

20) How can we Import Elements into a Reference Set?

  • Components can be imported from an external CSV or text file. Prior to importing, we must make sure that the CSV is on the desktop.

  • We need to select a reference set On the Reference Set Management window & click View Contents.

  • Then click the Content tab > Import > Browse > Select the CSV to import > Click Import.

  • Components in the CSV are now shown in the list.

21) What is the Event Collector?

It collects the secured events from the security devices, also known as log sources, in the network. Event Collector gathers all events from local & remote sources. Event Collector normalizes the events & sends the data to the Event Processor. It also bundles the virtually identical events to preserve any system usage.

22) What is QRadar QFlow Collector?

It collects data from the devices, and other live & recorded feeds, such as network taps, NetFlow, & QRadar SIEM logs. As the data is collected, the QRadar QFlow Collector assembles the related packets into the flow. QRadar SIEM describes flows as a session between two unique IP addresses using the same protocol. 

23) What is a Magistrate?

Magistrate offers the core components for processing of SIEM system. One Magistrate component can be added for each installation. Magistrate provides reports, views, alerts, network traffic, and events. Magistrate processes events against the determined custom rules to generate offense. Magistrate uses the default set rule to process the offending flow if there is no set rule.

24) What is the event processor?

Event Processor routes event and flows information from Event Collector. These events are bundled to preserve network usage. When accepted, the Event Processor compares the information from QRadar SIEM and distributes them to a suitable area, depending on the event type. Event Processor includes data collected by QRadar SIEM to specify behavioral changes for that event.

25) What is the encryption process?

Encryption takes place between the deployed hosts; therefore, deployment must contain more than one managed host. Encryption is enabled through SSH tunnels initiated from the client. The client is the system, which initiates a connection in a client/server relationship. Enabling encryption within hosts, which are without the console, encryption tunnels will be created automatically for all the databases & support services connected with the Console. Encryption is administered within hosts, the tunnels are created for all the client applications on the managed hosts to offer protected entrance to the relevant servers only.

26) What is an Offense?

The offense is a flow processed through QRadar SIEM through multiple inputs, individual and combined events, after behaviors analysis. Magistrate prioritizes the offenses & allocates a value based on factors, including the amount of severity & relevance.

27) How to Configure an Accumulator?

Does the accumulator element assist with the collection of data and anomalous detection for the Event Processor on what is the encryption process? any managed host. 

28) What are the benefits of using NAT with QRadar SIEM?

Network Address Translation (NAT) actually translates an IP address of one network to another IP address in different networks. NAT offers enhanced securities for the deployment since needs are managed through the translation process and hides internal IP addresses. Prior to enabling NAT for QRadar SIEM managed host, we must configure the NATed network through static NAT translations, which ensures the communications between hosts that are managed & exists within different NATed networks.

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29) What are Remote Networks and Services?

Remote network and service groups facilitate us to represent traffic on the network for a specific outline. All remote network and service groups have specific group levels & leaf object levels. It can be edited through remote networks & service groups by adding objects to vacant groups or modifying pre-existing properties to suit the environment.

30) What is NetFlow?

It is s proprietary accounting technology designed by Cisco, which monitors traffic through routers, & interprets the client, protocol, server & port used, calculates the number of bytes & packets to send the data to any NetFlow collector. The procedure of sending data from NetFlow is known as a NetFlow Data Export (NDE).

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Last updated: 03 Jan 2024
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Ravindra Savaram is a Technical Lead at His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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