A vulnerability is a problem in a project's code that could be exploited to damage the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the project or other projects that use its code. Vulnerabilities vary in type, severity, and method of attack.
When your code depends on a package that has a security vulnerability, this vulnerable dependency can cause a range of problems for your project or the people who use it.
Dependabot performs a scan to detect vulnerable dependencies and sends Dependabot alerts when:
A new vulnerability is added to the GitHub Advisory Database. For more information, see "Browsing security vulnerabilities in the GitHub Advisory Database" and "About GitHub Security Advisories."
Note: Only advisories that have been reviewed by GitHub will trigger Dependabot alerts.
The dependency graph for a repository changes. For example, when a contributor pushes a commit to change the packages or versions it depends on, or when the code of one of the dependencies changes. For more information, see "About the dependency graph."
Additionally, GitHub can review any dependencies added, updated, or removed in a pull request made against the default branch of a repository, and flag any changes that would introduce a vulnerability into your project. This allows you to spot and deal with vulnerable dependencies before, rather than after, they reach your codebase. For more information, see "Reviewing dependency changes in a pull request."
For a list of the ecosystems that GitHub can detect vulnerabilities and dependencies for, see "Supported package ecosystems."
Note: It is important to keep your manifest and lock files up to date. If the dependency graph doesn't accurately reflect your current dependencies and versions, then you could miss alerts for vulnerable dependencies that you use. You may also get alerts for dependencies that you no longer use.
GitHub detects vulnerable dependencies in public repositories and displays the dependency graph, but does not generate Dependabot alerts by default. Repository owners or people with admin access can enable Dependabot alerts for public repositories. Owners of private repositories, or people with admin access, can enable Dependabot alerts by enabling the dependency graph and Dependabot alerts for their repositories.
You can also enable or disable Dependabot alerts for all repositories owned by your user account or organization. For more information, see "Configuring Dependabot alerts."
For information about access requirements for actions related to Dependabot alerts, see "Repository roles for an organization."
GitHub starts generating the dependency graph immediately and generates alerts for any vulnerable dependencies as soon as they are identified. The graph is usually populated within minutes but this may take longer for repositories with many dependencies. For more information, see "Managing data use settings for your private repository."
When GitHub identifies a vulnerable dependency, we generate a Dependabot alert and display it on the Security tab for the repository and in the repository's dependency graph. The alert includes a link to the affected file in the project, and information about a fixed version. GitHub may also notify the maintainers of affected repositories about the new alert according to their notification preferences. For more information, see "Configuring notifications for vulnerable dependencies."
For repositories where Dependabot security updates are enabled, the alert may also contain a link to a pull request to update the manifest or lock file to the minimum version that resolves the vulnerability. For more information, see "About Dependabot security updates."
Note: GitHub's security features do not claim to catch all vulnerabilities. Though we are always trying to update our vulnerability database and generate alerts with our most up-to-date information, we will not be able to catch everything or tell you about known vulnerabilities within a guaranteed time frame. These features are not substitutes for human review of each dependency for potential vulnerabilities or any other issues, and we recommend consulting with a security service or conducting a thorough vulnerability review when necessary.
You can see all of the alerts that affect a particular project on the repository's Security tab or in the repository's dependency graph. For more information, see "Viewing Dependabot alerts for vulnerable dependencies."
By default, we notify people with admin permissions in the affected repositories about new Dependabot alerts. GitHub never publicly discloses identified vulnerabilities for any repository. You can also make Dependabot alerts visible to additional people or teams working with repositories that you own or have admin permissions for. For more information, see "Managing security and analysis settings for your repository."
To receive notifications about Dependabot alerts on repositories, you need to watch these repositories, and subscribe to receive "All Activity" notifications or configure custom settings to include "Security alerts." For more information, see "Configuring your watch settings for an individual repository."
You can choose the delivery method for notifications, as well as the frequency at which the notifications are sent to you. For more information, see "Configuring notifications for vulnerable dependencies."
You can also see all the Dependabot alerts that correspond to a particular vulnerability in the GitHub Advisory Database. For more information, see "Browsing security vulnerabilities in the GitHub Advisory Database" and "About GitHub Security Advisories."