Configuring secret scanning for your repositories

You can configure how GitHub scans your repositories for secrets.

People with admin permissions to a repository can enable secret scanning for the repository.

Secret scanning is available in public repositories, and in private repositories owned by organizations with an Advanced Security license. For more information, see "About GitHub Advanced Security."

In this article

Note: Secret scanning is enabled by default on public repositories and cannot be turned off. You can configure secret scanning for your private repositories only.

Enabling secret scanning for private repositories

  1. On GitHub, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. Under your repository name, click Settings.

    Repository settings button

  3. In the left sidebar, click Security & analysis.

    "Security & analysis" tab in repository settings

  4. You may need to enable GitHub Advanced Security to activate the button for "Secret scanning". To the right of "GitHub Advanced Security", click Enable.

    Enable GitHub Advanced Security for your repository

  5. Click Enable GitHub Advanced Security for this repository to confirm the action.

    Confirm enabling GitHub Advanced Security for your repository

  6. When you enable GitHub Advanced Security this may automatically enable secret scanning for the repository (this is controlled by the organization configuration). If "Secret scanning" is shown with an Enable button, you still need to enable secret scanning by clicking Enable. If you see a Disable button, secret scanning is already enabled.

    Enable secret scanning for your repository

Excluding alerts from secret scanning in private repositories

You can use a secret_scanning.yml file to exclude directories from secret scanning. For example, you can exclude directories that contain tests or randomly generated content.

  1. On GitHub, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. Above the list of files, using the Add file drop-down, click Create new file.

    "Create new file" in the "Add file" dropdown

  3. In the file name field, type .github/secret_scanning.yml.

  4. Under Edit new file, type paths-ignore: followed by the paths you want to exclude from secret scanning.

    paths-ignore:
      - "foo/bar/*.js"
    

    You can use special characters, such as * to filter paths. For more information about filter patterns, see "Workflow syntax for GitHub Actions."

    Notes:

    • If there are more than 1,000 entries in paths-ignore, secret scanning will only exclude the first 1,000 directories from scans.
    • If secret_scanning.yml is larger than 1 MB, secret scanning will ignore the entire file.

You can also ignore individual alerts from secret scanning. For more information, see "Managing alerts from secret scanning."

Further reading

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