If your project communicates with an external service, you might use a token or private key for authentication. Tokens and private keys are examples of secrets that a service provider can issue. If you check a secret into a repository, anyone who has read access to the repository can use the secret to access the external service with your privileges. We recommend that you store secrets in a dedicated, secure location outside of the repository for your project.
Secret scanning will scan your entire Git history on all branches present in your GitHub repository for secrets.
Secret scanning is available on GitHub.com in two forms:
Secret scanning for partner patterns. Runs automatically on all public repositories. Any strings that match patterns that were provided by secret scanning partners are reported directly to the relevant partner.
Secret scanning for advanced security. Organizations using GitHub Enterprise Cloud with a license for GitHub Advanced Security can enable and configure additional scanning for repositories owned by the organization. Any strings that match patterns provided by secret scanning partners, by other service providers, or defined by your organization, are reported as alerts in the "Security" tab of repositories. If a string in a public repository matches a partner pattern, it is also reported to the partner. For more information, see the GitHub Enterprise Cloud documentation.
Service providers can partner with GitHub to provide their secret formats for scanning. To find out about our partner program, see "Secret scanning partner program."
When you make a repository public, or push changes to a public repository, GitHub always scans the code for secrets that match partner patterns. If secret scanning detects a potential secret, we notify the service provider who issued the secret. The service provider validates the string and then decides whether they should revoke the secret, issue a new secret, or contact you directly. Their action will depend on the associated risks to you or them. For more information, see "Supported secrets for partner patterns."
You cannot change the configuration of secret scanning on public repositories.
Note: Organizations using GitHub Enterprise Cloud with GitHub Advanced Security can also enable secret scanning for advanced security on any repository they own, including private repositories. For more information, see the GitHub Enterprise Cloud documentation.