Checkpoint is a world-renowned leader in security solutions that offers top-of-the-line cybersecurity solutions to corporations and governments worldwide. Several corporations use it for internal network security, cloud security, endpoint security, data security, etc. You can use it to protect your system against cyberattacks such as ransomware, malware, and other threats. Following the influx of recent cyberattacks, organizations are implementing prevention strategies for cybersecurity, which accounts for the high demand for Check Point's security solutions. Therefore, a wide array of CheckPoint positions are available in the market, including Network Security Engineer, System Engineer, System Administrator, Security Analyst, IT Analyst, Network Security Administrator, Network Security Specialist, Technical Specialist, etc.
Are you preparing for a CheckPoint job now? If so, you've come to the right place. Our team at InterviewBit has compiled a list of 30+ Checkpoint interview questions and answers that will help you prepare for your next Checkpoint interview.
Before we get started, let's take a closer look at Checkpoint.
What is Checkpoint Firewall?
CheckPoint Firewall is a leading provider of Cyber Security solutions worldwide to companies and governments. It provides the best protection against cyberattacks, including ransomware, malware, and other types of threats. The device enables multiple networks to communicate with one another in accordance with defined security policies. It is a barrier that sits between private internal networks and the public Internet. Checkpoint offers an architecture that secures all networks and clouds against any targeted attack.
With Check Point Firewall, you can enjoy next-generation firewall (NGF) functionality that includes:
- Mobile device and VPN (Virtual Private Network) connectivity
- Identification and computer awareness
- Providing internet access and filtering
- Monitoring and controlling an application
- Security threats and intrusion prevention
- Security measures to prevent data loss
Check Point has cemented its position as a leader in the next-generation firewall space through a broad range of on-premises and virtual products, targeting small and midsize businesses as well as large corporations and telecom carriers. There are over one million companies protected by Checkpoint around the world.
Checkpoint Interview Questions for Freshers
1. Write the main components of the Checkpoint solution.
The Checkpoint solution has the following main components:
|1||Internal and External Networks|
|4||Security Management Server|
2. What is the 3-tier architecture component of Checkpoint Firewall?
Checkpoint components are based on a 3-tier technology architecture as follows:
- Security Gateway (FW): A device that acts as a cyberbarrier, preventing the entry of unauthorized traffic into an organization's network. It enforces an organization's security policy, functions as an entry point for a LAN (Local area network), and is managed by the Security Management Server.
- Security Dashboard: This is a Smart Console GUI (Graphical User Interface) application that system administrators can use to create and manage security policies.
- Security Management Server (SMS): The server that system administrators use to manage security policies. The security management system stores databases, security policies, and event logs of the organization. This component stores, manages and distributes security policies to Security Gateways.
3. State differences between Stand-alone Deployment and Distributed Deployment.
You can deploy CheckPoint firewalls as a standalone system or as a distributed system. Here's how they differ:-
As part of a stand-alone deployment, both Security Management Server and Security Gateway are installed on the same platform. In this scenario, Smart Console will be installed or deployed on a separate platform with access to the Security Management Server for creating policies and pushing them to the Security Gateway. Check Point does not recommend this deployment, except for small businesses, because it defeats the whole purpose of their three-tiered architecture.
Distributed deployments are most commonly known as Three-Tier architectures, where each component is installed on a separate platform, and such deployments are highly recommended by Check Point. The Smart Console is generally installed on Windows so that it can be used easily. Depending on the requirements, Security Management Server can be installed on Windows, Linux, or FreeBSD.
4. What are different types of Checkpoints?
The following are some types of Checkpoints:
- Standard Checkpoint: This verifies a property value of an object in an application under test. All add-in environments support it.
- Bitmap Checkpoint: It can be used to check a bitmap of an image or the entire web page. Actual and expected images are compared pixel by pixel.
- Image Checkpoint: It is used to check the properties of a web image such as the source file location. Image Checkpoint does not check pixels as Bitmap Checkpoint does.
- Table Checkpoint: This allows you to dynamically check the contents of cells within a table (grid) that is displayed in your environment. Various table properties, such as row height and cell width, can also be checked.
- Text Checkpoint: This is used to check expected text in web pages and applications. It could be a small portion of text displayed or a specific area/region of the application.
5. What do you mean by Checkpoint SecureXL, ClusterXL and CoreXL?
- SecureXL (Secure acceleration): With SecureXL, you can maximize the performance of the Firewall without compromising security. Using SecureXL on a Security Gateway, several CPU-intensive operations can be processed or handled by virtualized software rather than the firewall kernel. In this manner, the Firewall can better inspect and process connections more efficiently, as well as accelerate the throughput and connection rate.
- ClusterXL (Smart load balancing): ClusterXL involves a set (cluster) of identical Check Point Security Gateways which can be connected in a way that if one (Security Gateway) fails, another replaces it immediately. ClusterXL maintains business continuity through high availability and load sharing. Whenever the gateway or network goes down, the connection is seamlessly redirected to the backups, which ensures business continuity. ClusterXL distributes traffic among clusters of redundant gateways, thereby combining the processing power of multiple machines to increase overall performance or throughput.
- CoreXL (Multicore acceleration): When CoreXL is enabled on a Security Gateway, the Firewall kernel is replicated multiple times and each replica (instance) runs on a single processor core. All instances are complete firewall kernels that handle and inspect traffic concurrently, thereby enhancing security gateway performance. Each Firewall instance processes traffic through the same interfaces and applies the same gateway security policies. High security and high performance are achieved simultaneously with CoreXL.
6. What is Checkpoint IPS (Intrusion Prevention System)?
An IPS (Intrusion Prevention System), also referred to as IDPS (Intrusion Detection Prevention System), usually monitors a network in order to detect malicious activities that attempt to exploit a known vulnerability.
These technologies can help detect or prevent network security threats like Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, brute force attacks, etc. A vulnerability can be viewed as a weakness in a software system and an exploit can be referred to as an attack that makes use of that weakness to gain control of the software system. It is common for attackers to take advantage of newly disclosed exploits for a short period of time before the security patch is applied. These attacks can be quickly blocked using an Intrusion Prevention System.
7. What do you mean by Checkpoint software blades?
It can be defined as an independent, modular, and centrally managed security building block, which allows an organization to customize a security configuration tailored to their needs in terms of protection and investment. It is easy to enable and configure Software Blades on any gateway or management system simply by clicking a mouse button - no additional hardware, firmware, or driver upgrade is needed.
As the world's first and only security architecture, Check Point Software Blade provides total, flexible, and manageable security to companies of all sizes. The solution enables organizations to tweak their security infrastructure easily and efficiently in order to meet their critical and targeted business security requirements.
8. Explain the usage of SmartLog and SmartEvent Software Blade.
SmartLog: Security systems typically track or monitor all activity within a network and then generate log records that can be analyzed in real-time or viewed in bulk later. However, traditional log management systems can take hours to run queries and search millions of log records. SmartLog is basically a log management tool that provides organizations with the ability to centrally track all log records and security activities across all Software Blades on Security Gateways and Security Management servers, thereby providing instant visibility into billions of log records. SmartLog provides the following monitoring features:
- Find logs quickly by using simple search strings.
- Select from a variety of default search queries to find the relevant logs.
- Real-time monitoring of logs.
SmartEvent: SmartEvent: A unified security event management and analysis tool, SmartEvent Software Blade provides real-time graphical threat management information. Using SmartEvent, you can consolidate and display all security events generated by the following Software Blades:
- Application Control
- Anti-Bot and Anti-Virus
It is possible for administrators to quickly identify critical security events and take the necessary measures to prevent future attacks.
9. State difference between SPLAT and GAIA.
Due to the influx of new incoming threats and requirements for protection, companies must consolidate security to ensure an optimised security operation and maximum efficiency. Check Point GAIA is a powerful, unified operating system that delivers higher security and superior efficiency over its predecessors; SPLAT operating system and IPSO operating system. GAIA Operating Systems support the full suite of CheckPoint Gateways, Software Blades, and Security Management products. Here are some advantages of GAIA over SPLAT/IPSO.
- Web-Based user interface with Search Navigation
- Support for Software Blades
- Easy and simple upgrade (full compatibility with IPSO and SecurePlatform)
- Easy to use CLI (Command Line Interface)
- High connection capacity (64-bit)
- Native IPv4 and IPv6 Support (completely integrated into the operating system)
- High availability (ClusterXL or VRRP Clusters), etc.
10. What is the Checkpoint Firewall rule base?
The firewall is at the core of a comprehensive network security policy. A security policy essentially consists of rules which define access control to/from networks that are protected by a Check Point Security Gateway. In order to be an effective security solution, Check Point Security Gateways need well-defined access policies. The basic principle behind the Rule Base is that "connections that aren't explicitly allowed are denied". You can create rules in Check Point Firewall Rule Base to only allow specified connections.
11. How do you manage the Firewall Rule Base?
With SmartDashboard, it's easy to create and configure Firewall rules that ensure a strong security policy. Listed below are some fields used to manage rules for Firewall security policy:
|No.||'No.' Refers to the rule number and indicates how important it is. A rule with a higher criticality is assigned a higher place in the Rule Base.|
|Hits||The number of connections for each rule match.|
|Source||Network object that initiates the communication.|
|Destination||Network object which completes the communication.|
|Action||Firewall action is taken when traffic matches a rule.|
12. What is Order of Rule Enforcement in Rule Base?
Packets are inspected sequentially by Check Point Security Gateways. Upon receiving a packet belonging to a connection, the Security Gateway compares the data (destination, source, etc.) against the first rule, then the second rule, the third rule, and so on. As soon as it finds a rule that matches, it stops checking and applies the action of that particular rule to the packet. If the packet does not match any of the rules, then it is denied.
13. Explain the Stealth rule and Cleanup rule in Checkpoint firewall.
There are a few standard rules CheckPoint recommends you include in your rule base for both security and management reasons. They are as follows:
- Stealth Rule: Stealth is the first recommended rule to include in your rule base. Using this rule, we can prevent direct access to the Security Gateway, thereby providing protection against attacks. Normally, the stealth rule should be placed near the top of the rule base, with only rules that allow or require access to the firewall above it.
- Cleanup Rule: Cleanup rules are placed at the end of the security Rulebase. Furthermore, Check Point suggests adding a cleanup rule, which drops and logs every packet that isn't matched by other rules. Logging dropped packets is extremely useful for security and troubleshooting.
14. What are the explicit and implied rules in Checkpoint Firewall?
In the Rule Base, you will find the following types of rules:
- Explicit Rule: These are rules created by you to configure or specify which connections the Firewall will allow. Because they were created explicitly, these rules are called explicit rules.
- Implicit Rule: However, the firewall enforces many rules that are not visible to you. These are called implicit rules or implied rules. Implicit rules allow connections for different services that the Security Gateway generally uses.
15. What is SIC (Secure Internal Communication)?
SIC stands for Secure Internal Communication. As the name suggests, SIC allows CheckPoint products and platforms to communicate securely. It establishes a trusted connection or status between a gateway, management server, and other CheckPoint components. A trust or SIC is required for the installation of policies on gateways and the transmission (sending) of logs between management servers and gateways. Check Point platforms and products authenticate each other using one of these SIC methods:
- Certificates for authentication.
- Standard-based TLS (Transport Layer Security) for creating secure channels.
- 3DES (Data Encryption Standard) or AES128 (Advanced Encryption Standard) for encryption.
Checkpoint Interview Questions for Experienced
16. Explain VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Many network protocols include encryption, but not all Internet traffic does. An attacker may therefore be able to intercept and change data as it flows over a network. Fortunately, virtual private networks (VPNs) alleviate this issue. VPNs are used to establish a safe and secure connection (private connection) between two points and allow them to communicate securely over a public network. In essence, VPNs provide a private, encrypted connection between two points - without stating which points they should be. As a result, VPN services can be used for a variety of purposes:
- Site-to-Site VPN: This type of VPN enables secure communication between two geographically dispersed sites.
- Remote Access VPN: This type of VPN connects remote users to a corporate network in a secure way.
- VPN as a Service (Cloud VPN): This kind of VPN is hosted on a cloud-based infrastructure. Packets from the client enter the Internet through that cloud infrastructure rather than the client's local address.
17. Explain IKE and IPSec.
For managing encryption keys and sending encrypted packets, CheckPoint VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) utilize two secure VPN protocols as follows:
- IKE (Internet Key Exchange): It is a standard key management protocol that establishes a secure, authenticated communication channel between two devices. Using IKE, a secure VPN communication channel between VPN peers is established over the Internet.
- IPSec: As part of "IPsec," "IP" stands for "Internet Protocol" and "sec" stands for "secure". IPsec provides secure encrypted communication between two computers over an IP network by authenticating and encrypting data packets. It is commonly used in virtual private networks (VPNs).
18. State difference between ESP and AH IPSec Protocol.
IPSec uses two different protocols defined by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force): AH (Authentication Header) and ESP (Encapsulating Security Payload)
|AH Protocol||ESP Protocol|
|As of now, the AH protocol only provides authentication (data origin authentication, replay protection, and data integrity).||With the ESP protocol, authentication (data origin authentication, replay protection, and data integrity) and data confidentiality (encryption) are all provided. You can use ESP with confidentiality only, with authentication only, or with both confidentiality and authentication.|
|It authenticates the outer IP header as well as the IP packet as a whole.||Only the IP datagram portion of the IP packet is authenticated by ESP authentication.|
19. How do you prevent IP Spoofing?
IP spoofing means the use of one’s IP address to appear as if it is a trusted IP address, usually for DDoS attacks or to reroute communication. A hacker uses IP spoofing to replace an untrustworthy source IP address with a fake, trusted one in order to hijack connections to your network. Attackers can send malware and bots to your network, execute DoS attacks, and gain unauthorized access to your systems.
IP Spoofing can be prevented with Anti-spoofing. Anti Spoofing aims to detect and drop packets with a bogus (false) source address to prevent unauthorized access to your systems and secure your network.
20. Can you explain what is anti-spoofing in Checkpoint?
The concept of anti-spoofing aims to detect and drop packets with a bogus (false) source address. By using Anti-Spoofing, we can determine if a packet with an IP address concealed behind a certain interface is actually arriving from a different interface. A packet from an external network with an internal IP address, for example, would automatically be blocked by Anti-Spoofing. It ensures that packets are going to and coming from the correct interfaces on the security gateway.
In the following diagram, a Security Gateway is shown with interfaces 2, 3, and 4, as well as some example networks.
When Anti-Spoofing is enabled on the Security Gateway, it ensures that:
- All incoming packets coming to interface 2 should be from the Internet (1)
- All incoming packets coming to interface 3 should be from 192.168.33.0
- All incoming packets coming to interface 4 should be from 192.0.2.0 or 10.10.10.0
Packets with source IP addresses in network 192.168.33.0 that arrive at interface 2 or 4 are blocked since the source address has been spoofed.
21. What do you mean by Asymmetric Encryption?
There are two types of keys in asymmetric encryption i.e., public and private keys. There is a pair of private and public keys for each party. The public key, as its name implies, can be exchanged securely with communication partners, while the private key must remain confidential (secret). The private key is typically used to decrypt data, while the public key is used to encrypt data.
To encrypt traffic between Jessica and Monica, as depicted in the above figure, the pair will exchange public keys.
- In order to encrypt Jessica' message to Monica, Jessica will use Monica's public key. Monica will need to use his own private key to decrypt Jessica' message.
- When Monica replies to Jessica in the future, the same process will play out. Monica will use Jessica's public key to encrypt his reply message to Jessica. Jessica will need to use his own private key to decrypt Monica's reply message.
Therefore, before any encrypted communication can take place, Jessica and Monica must exchange public keys.
22. Explain Security Zone.
With Security Zones, you can create a powerful Access Control Policy that controls the flow of traffic between different parts of a network. Different security zones are used by networks to protect resources and to combat malware on networks. Set up rules so that only appropriate traffic can enter and leave a security zone. Listed below are the predefined Security Zones, along with their intended purpose:
- WirelessZone: The network that is accessible via wireless connections by users and applications.
- ExternalZone: Unsecured networks, such as the Internet and external networks.
- DMZZone: Demilitarized zones (DMZ) are sometimes called perimeter networks. It contains servers accessible from insecure sources, such as the Internet or external sources.
- InternalZone: Company networks containing sensitive data that needs to be protected and accessed only by authenticated users.
23. What is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)?
The DMZ network, also called a Demilitarized Zone, is a subnetwork within an organization's network infrastructure that lies between the untrusted network (Internet or external network) and the protected internal network. DMZ networks contain the organization's public-facing services and are designed to protect the internal network. A DMZ should contain any services that can be accessed by users connecting from an external network. The most common services are Web servers, mail servers, and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers.
For both individuals and large organizations, DMZs are crucial to network security. They offer an additional layer of security to a computer network by restricting remote access to internal data and servers, which, if breached, can have devastating effects.
24. What do you mean by perimeter? What kind of connections does the firewall permit on the perimeter?
Typically, a perimeter acts as a security boundary or border that provides the main defence of an internal (private) network and other public networks (such as the internet or external network). Firewalls on the perimeter of the network handle all incoming/outgoing traffic. Firewalls on perimeters usually allow the following connections:
- Connections to DNS (Domain Name System) servers.
- VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections.
- Specified external connections.
- Outgoing connections to the Internet.
- Connections to servers in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).
- Connections from the internal network to the internal network.
25. Explain NAT (Network Address Translation).
NAT refers to network address translation. NAT (Network Address Translation) is Firewall Software Blade's feature and ensures greater security by replacing/translating IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. NAT hides internal IP addresses from the Internet in order to protect the identity of a network. A firewall can alter both the source and destination IP addresses of a packet.
The firewall, for example, translates the source IP address (to a new one) of packets that go from an internal computer to an external computer. Firewalls translate the new IP addresses back to the original IP addresses as packets return from the external computer. When packets return from the external computer, they are routed to the correct internal computer.
Example: Suppose a network has 1,000 computers but one internet connection. What makes it possible that 1000 devices can access one internet connection, right? This is made possible by NAT. A private IP address is assigned to each of the 1000 computers, i.e., (10.0._._), and they are all connected to the router. It is connected directly to the internet and has NAT settings configured.
When PC 1 (which has an IP address of 10.0.0.1) attempts to access the internet (www.google.com), it will first send a request to the router, and the router converts the private IP address into a public IP address (10.0.0.1 - 126.96.36.199) and forwards the request to the Google web server. This information is, however, saved in the NAT forwarding table by the router before forwarding this request. So, when the response comes from the web server, the router can convert the public IP back to the private IP (188.8.131.52 - 10.0.0.1), and deliver the information back to the requested PC.
26. What do you mean by Source NAT, Hide NAT, and Destination NAT?
Security Gateways can use the following types of NAT (Network Address Translation) to translate IP addresses:
- Source NAT: It initiates traffic from an internal network to an external network. When a source NAT is used, only the source IP address is translated into the public address.
- Hide NAT: It is used to translate multiple private IP addresses into a single public IP address. In other words, many to one translations. This can only be used for source NAT translation, not destination NAT.
- Destination NAT: When connecting from a public IP address to a private IP address, Destination NAT is used to translate the IP address of the destination. In this, only static NAT is used.
27. State difference between Automatic NAT and Manual NAT.
NAT (Network Address Translation) can be configured in Checkpoint Firewall either manually or automatically.
|Automatic NAT||Manual NAT|
|The firewall automatically creates this rule.||Administrators create this rule manually.|
|You cannot modify it.||It can be modified.|
|It cannot perform DUAL NAT (if two or more routers on a network perform NAT).||It can perform DUAL NAT.|
|A proxy ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) is created automatically. It is enabled by default.||A proxy ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) is created manually. It is not enabled by default.|
28. Explain the functions of CPD, FWM, and FWD processes.
- FWM (Firewall Management): It runs only on the SMS (Security Management Server) and is responsible for handling SmartConsole GUI connections, policy verification, and Management high availability (HA) synchronization.
- FWD (Firewall Daemon): It runs on both SMS and Security Gateway devices. Mostly, it is responsible for routing logs from Security Gateways to SMS, but it also acts as a parent process (on security gateways) for many security server processes that are performing advanced inspections outside of the kernel.
- CPD (Check Point Daemon): It runs on both SMS and Security Gateway devices. It is responsible for handling generic functions like SmartView Monitor, SIC/certificates, licensing, and fetching/pushing policy between the SMS and Security Gateway.
29. Explain Checkpoint DLP (Data Loss Prevention).
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a cybersecurity methodology that combines technology and best practices in order to help prevent sensitive data from being divulged (disclosed) outside of an organization. In particular, the data may include regulated information such as PII (Personally Identifiable Information) or compliance data such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI (Payment Card Industry), SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), etc.
Your business is protected against unintentional loss of sensitive and valuable information by Check Point DLP. With DLP, businesses can monitor data movement and empower employees to work confidently while staying compliant with industry regulations.
30. What is Granular Routing Control?
In the network, the Granular Routing Control (GRC) is used to granularly control VPN (Virtual Private Network) traffic. Using this feature, you can enable the Security Gateway to:
- Choose the optimal route for VPN traffic.
- Choose which interfaces to use for VPN traffic to internal and external networks.
- Specify the IP addresses that will be used for VPN traffic.
- Select VPN tunnels available using route probing (closely inquiring), etc.
31. In what way are Cpstop/cpstart and Fwstop/fwstart different?
- Cpstart: Starts all CheckPoint applications and processes running on a machine.
- Cpstop: Stops all CheckPoint applications and processes manually.
- Fwstart: Start VPN-1/FireWall-1.
- Fwstop: Stop VPN-1/FireWall-1.
During your interview, a good interviewer will rarely plan ahead to ask you specific questions. Usually, they begin with a basic concept of the subject and then continue based on what you say and follow-up questions. These questions are intended to give you an idea of the type of question you may encounter during your CheckPoint interview.
MCQs on Checkpoint
Which of the following is not a 3-tier architecture component of checkpoint?
Which of the following is a Checkpoint type?
What involves a cluster of identical Check Point Security Gateways that are connected in a way to ensure that if one fails, another replaces it immediately?
As part of the Firewall security policy, which field identifies the number of connections for each rule match?
Which of these is responsible for handling generic functions such as SmartView Monitor, SICs/certificates, etc., between SMS and Security Gateway?
What type of NAT is used to translate multiple private IP addresses into a single public IP address?
Which rule prevents direct access to the Security Gateway?
What are predefined security zones?
IKE stands for ___.
IP Spoofing can be prevented with Anti-spoofing. True or False?