CKS Exam Complete Study Guide 2024 : Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist

If you’re seeking information on CKS certification, CKS exam details, CKS syllabus, or CKS practice exams, you’ve come to the right place. Designed specifically for Kubernetes Security Experts, our guide is tailored to help you excel in the Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) Exam.

What is Kubernetes ?

CKA Exam Kubernetes

Kubernetes, also referred to as “kube” or “k8s,” is software that automatically manages, scales, and maintains multi-container workloads in desired states.

Why use Kubernetes?

One of the benefits of Kubernetes is that it makes building and running complex applications much simpler. Here’s a handful of the many Kubernetes features:

  1. Standard services like local DNS and basic load-balancing that most applications need, and are easy to use.
  2. Standard behaviors (e.g., restart this container if it dies) that are easy to invoke, and do most of the work of keeping applications running, available, and performant.
  3. A standard set of abstract “objects” (called things like “pods,” “replicasets,” and “deployments”) that wrap around containers and make it easy to build configurations around collections of containers.
  4. A standard API that applications can call to easily enable more sophisticated behaviors, making it much easier to create applications that manage other applications.

What Is the Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist Exam?

The official CNCF certification page says :

The Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) program provides assurance that a CKS has the skills, knowledge, and competence on a broad range of best practices for securing container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms during build, deployment, and runtime.

The CKS exam curriculum is thoughtfully organized, covering a wide range of topics that are directly relevant to Kubernetes security.

Register for the CKS Certification [Save 20% Today]

Register today and use our exclusive coupon code TECK20 for the CKS exam to get a 20% discount on CKS (and KCNA, CKA, and CKAD certifications ). This code expires soon.

CKS Exam Voucher: Use coupon Code TECK20 at checkout

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 CKAD Certification Coupon Code
  • Upon registration, you have ONE YEAR to schedule and complete the exam.
  • The CKS exam is conducted online and remotely proctored.
  • To pass the exam, you must achieve a score of 66% or higher.
  • CKS Certification is valid for 2 years.
  • You are allowed a maximum of 2 attempts to take the test. However, if you miss a scheduled exam for any reason, your second attempt will be invalidated.
  • Free access to for the CKS practice exam.

Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) Exam Study Guide

In this section of CKS Exam Study Guide , we will provide an extensive list of CKS resources along with direct links to the official documentation. These resources will be instrumental in supporting you during the CKS exam by providing detailed information and guidance.

CKS Exam Details

Exam Duration2 hrs
Pass Percentage67%
Exam FormatOnline proctored
Number of questions 15-20 performance-based tasks
Prerequisite CKA Certification
Results 24 Hours
Retry policy 2 Attempts
Kubernetes Version v1.29
CKS Validity2 Years
CKS Certification Exam Cost$395

CKS Exam Prerequisites

IPrior to attempting the CKS exam, candidates must have successfully taken and passed the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam.

Please refer to our CKA Exam Study Guide here :

CKS Exam Syllabus

This is the most important part of CKS Exam Study Guide , the curriculum for the exam:

Cluster Setup1. Use Network security policies to restrict cluster level access
2. Use CIS benchmark to review the security configuration of Kubernetes components
(etcd, kubelet, kubedns, kubeapi)
3. Properly set up Ingress objects with security control
4. Protect node metadata and endpoints
5. Minimize use of, and access to, GUI elements
6. Verify platform binaries before deploying
10 %
Cluster Hardening1. Restrict access to Kubernetes API
2. Use Role Based Access Controls to minimize exposure
3. Exercise caution in using service accounts e.g. disable defaults, minimize permissions on
newly created ones
4. Update Kubernetes frequently
System Hardening1. Minimize host OS footprint (reduce attack surface)
2. Minimize IAM roles
3. Minimize external access to the network
4. Appropriately use kernel hardening tools such as 5. AppArmor, seccomp
Minimize Microservice Vulnerabilities1. Setup appropriate OS level security domains
2. Manage kubernetes secrets
3. Use container runtime sandboxes in multi-tenant environments (e.g. gvisor, kata containers)
4. Implement pod to pod encryption by use of mTLS
Supply Chain Security1. Minimize base image footprint
2. Secure your supply chain: whitelist allowed image registries, sign and validate images
3. Use static analysis of user workloads (e.g. kubernetes resources, docker files)
4. Scan images for known vulnerabilities
Monitoring, Logging, and Runtime Security1. Perform behavioral analytics of syscall process and file activities at the host and container
level to detect malicious activities
2. Detect threats within physical infrastructure, apps, networks, data, users and workloads
3. Detect all phases of attack regardless where it occurs and how it spreads
4. Perform deep analytical investigation and identification of bad actors within environment
5. Ensure immutability of containers at runtime
6. Use Audit Logs to monitor access

Please refer to my Githib Repository for detailed informations about CKS Exam Sections :

CKS Exam Environment

Sixteen clusters comprise the exam environment, one for each task. Each cluster is made up of one master node and one worker node.

  • An infobox at the start of each task provides you with the cluster name/context and the hostname of the master and worker node.
  • You can switch the cluster/configuration context using a command such as the following: kubectl config use-context <cluster/context name>
  • Nodes making up each cluster can be reached via ssh, using a command such as the following: ssh <nodename>
  • You have elevated privileges on any node by default, so there is no need to assume elevated privileges.
  • You must return to the base node (hostname cli) after completing each task.
  • Nested−ssh is not supported.

If you want to enroll in a course to prepare for the CKS, this one is all what you need :

Top 4 Tips for CKS Exam

For this CKS Exam Study Guide readers , Here are some quirky but professional tips to ace the CKS Kubernetes Exam in 2023:

Practice , Practice , Practice …

This exam is hands-on in nature, emphasizing the importance of proficiency with the Kubernetes command line interface (kubectl).

It is essential to cultivate a high level of comfort and familiarity with kubectl, practicing the art of typing commands swiftly and accurately.

Time management

Since you will be executing the kubectl command multiple times, setting up aliases can save you valuable seconds with each entry. For instance, assigning an alias like ‘k’ for ‘kube-control’ can potentially grant you an additional minute or two towards the end of the exam

alias k=kubectl

Review Completed Tasks

After each question, it is crucial to review your work meticulously to ensure accuracy. Avoid the risk of spending 10-15 minutes on a question and unintentionally overlooking potential errors

For example, if you have created a pod , it is highly recommended to check its status before moving on to another task. This verification step ensures that the pod is created and started.

kubelet get pod <podName>

Configuration Management during the Exam

As mentioned previously, the CKA exam environment consists of six clusters, each with its own dedicated set of nodes. Carefully change context while attempting questions.

At the start of each task you’ll be provided with the command to ensure you are on the correct cluster to complete the task , for example :

kubectl config use-context k8s

An example of command to ssh to a master node :

ssh mk8s-master-0 

Us elevated privileges on the master node :

sudo -i

Top 5 CKS Exam DON’T’s

  1. Take your time; don’t rush into the terminal. Read the question twice before proceeding.
  2. Avoid writing YAML files from scratch when possible.
  3. Use aliases wisely; don’t overwhelm yourself with too many.
  4. Stay calm if you get stuck; flag the question and move forward. You can return to it later. Each question carries a weightage, so prioritize accordingly.
  5. Avoid scheduling the exam on the last day to allow time for potential retakes.

CKS Exam Question And Answers

Please Refer to this Github Link


In this post, I went over the essential steps you need to take to prepare for the CKS exam, including registering for the exam, reading important instructions and LF documentation, taking CKS certification courses, practicing with CKS practice labs and exams, and managing stress and time during the exam.

I also provided tips and notes for the CKS exam, including the importance of practicing, time management, and configuration management. Additionally, I included an outline of the exam syllabus, exam interface, and example scripts and commands.

Remember, with dedication, hard work, and the right resources, you too can become a Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist!


  • Mohamed BEN HASSINE

    Mohamed BEN HASSINE is a Hands-On Cloud Solution Architect based out of France. he has been working on Java, Web , API and Cloud technologies for over 12 years and still going strong for learning new things. Actually , he plays the role of Cloud / Application Architect in Paris ,while he is designing cloud native solutions and APIs ( REST , gRPC). using cutting edge technologies ( GCP / Kubernetes / APIGEE / Java / Python )

    View all posts
  1. Thanks Mohamed 😊 I really enjoyed your way of explaining how to prepare for the Exam, may I get more information about trivy?

  2. Good informations about CKS exam details , topics , tips and docs .
    Many Thanks for sharing knowledge 🙂

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