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Version 2.0

Cybersecurity Style Guide



Short for Kubernetes. The 8 represents the eight letters removed from the middle of the word “Kubernetes.” Use the full term in formal writing and pronounce it “coober-nettees.”

Kali Linux

A Linux distribution designed to support pen testing.

Kaspersky Lab

An international security firm headquartered in Russia.

KB (n.)

Kilobyte. A kilobyte may be 1,000 or 1,024 bytes. No space between the number and unit, as in 50KB. Do not pluralize KB.

KDF, KDFs (n.)

Key derivation function. Spell out on first use.


keepalive, keepalives (KA) (n.)

A message used to verify a connection between two devices.

Ex: keepalive packets


Password management software.

Kerberoasting (n.)

An attack that bypasses Kerberos.



A network authentication protocol.

kernel (n.)

The lowest level of an operating system. Write the names of kernels in the normal font.

kerning (n.)

The spacing between letters, which can make letter combinations unclear. Attackers use kerning issues to mislead users in phishing campaigns. For example, the letters r and n can look like m in .corn.

keyboard keys (n.)

Capitalize the names of keys, as in Enter and Caps Lock. Use plus signs without spaces to show Windows or Linux system combinations, as in Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Mac shortcuts use hyphens, as in Option-N. Use bold formatting for key names in instructions.

keyboard walk (n.)

A password that users choose based on the location of the keys.

Ex: zxcvbnm across the bottom row of a QWERTY keyboard, or adgjmptw on a U.S. phone keypad


A macOS password manager.

key derivation function (KDF) (n.)

Spell out on first use.


keygen, keygens (n.)

Short for key generator.

keylogger, keylogging (n.)

Also known as keystroke logging. Keylogging records keyboard inputs to steal passwords or monitor employees.

key pair (n.)

In asymmetric cryptography, a key pair consists of a public key and a private key.

keysigning party or key signing party (n.)

An event where people share their public keys in person to expand the web of trust.


keystore (n.)

A cryptographic container. The Java implementation is styled KeyStore.


A secrets management software.

keyword (n.)


kHz (n.)

Kilohertz, as in 535 kHz. Do not pluralize kHz.

KiB (n.)

Kibibyte. A kibibyte is exactly 1,024 bytes. Do not pluralize.


KID or kid (n.)

Short for key identifier. Pronounced as letters or “key I-D.” Spell out on first use in public-facing documents.


kill (v. or n.)

The Linux command to end a process. Avoid using it as a verb in reports unless it’s in quoted code. Try terminate, end, close, force quit, or interrupt instead.

kill chain (KC) (n.)

A military concept.


kluge or kludge (n.)

Bad code. Pronounced as “kloodj.” Informal.

KMaaS (n.)

Key management as a service. Spoken out loud as the whole phrase. Spell out on first use.

KMS (n.)

Key management service. Spell out on first use.


“Keep me signed in.” A Microsoft sign-in feature.


knowledge base (n.)

Sometimes abbreviated as KB. Always spell out on first use to avoid confusion with kilobytes.

Kotlin (n.)

A programming language.



Key Reinstallation Attack. A Wi-Fi-based vulnerability.

Kubernetes or k8s

Pronounced as “coober-nettees.”

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