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Configuring secret scanning for your repositories

You can configure how GitHub scans your repositories for secrets that match advanced security patterns.

Who can use this feature

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

Secret scanning for advanced security is available for organization-owned repositories in GitHub Enterprise Cloud if your enterprise has a license for GitHub Advanced Security. For more information, see "About GitHub Advanced Security."

Enabling secret scanning for advanced security

You can enable secret scanning for advanced security for any repository that is owned by an organization. Once enabled, secret scanning scans for any secrets in your entire Git history on all branches present in your GitHub repository.

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

  2. Under your repository name, click Settings. Repository settings button

  3. In the "Security" section of the sidebar, click Code security and analysis.

  4. If Advanced Security is not already enabled for the repository, to the right of "GitHub Advanced Security", click Enable. Enable GitHub Advanced Security for your repository

  5. Review the impact of enabling Advanced Security, then click Enable GitHub Advanced Security for this repository.

  6. When you enable Advanced Security, secret scanning may automatically be enabled for the repository due to the organization's settings. 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

  7. Optionally, if you want to enable push protection, click Enable to the right of "Push protection." When you enable push protection, secret scanning also checks pushes for high-confidence secrets (those identified with a low false positive rate). Secret scanning lists any secrets it detects so the author can review the secrets and remove them or, if needed, allow those secrets to be pushed. For more information, see "Protecting pushes with secret scanning." Enable push protection for your repository

Excluding directories from secret scanning for advanced security

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.com, 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