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Configuring dependency review

You can use dependency review to catch vulnerabilities before they are added to your project.

About dependency review

Dependency review helps you understand dependency changes and the security impact of these changes at every pull request. It provides an easily understandable visualization of dependency changes with a rich diff on the "Files Changed" tab of a pull request. Dependency review informs you of:

  • Which dependencies were added, removed, or updated, along with the release dates.
  • How many projects use these components.
  • Vulnerability data for these dependencies.

For more information, see "About dependency review" and "Reviewing dependency changes in a pull request."

About configuring dependency review

Dependency review is included in GitHub Enterprise Cloud for public repositories. To use dependency review in private repositories owned by organizations, you must have a license for GitHub Advanced Security and have the dependency graph enabled.

Repository administrators can enable or disable the dependency graph for private repositories.

You can also enable or disable the dependency graph for all repositories owned by your user account or organization. For more information, see "Configuring the dependency graph."

  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. Read the message about granting GitHub Enterprise Cloud read-only access to the repository data to enable the dependency graph, then next to "Dependency Graph", click Enable. "Enable" button for the dependency graph You can disable the dependency graph at any time by clicking Disable next to "Dependency Graph" on the settings page for "Code security and analysis."

  5. If "GitHub Advanced Security" is not enabled, click Enable next to the feature. Screenshot of GitHub Advanced Security feature with "Enable" button emphasized

About configuring the dependency review action

The dependency review action scans your pull requests for dependency changes and raises an error if any new dependencies have known vulnerabilities. The action is supported by an API endpoint that compares the dependencies between two revisions and reports any differences.

For more information about the action and the API endpoint, see the dependency-review-action documentation, and "Dependency review" in the API documentation.

The following configuration options are available.

OptionRequiredUsage
fail-on-severityOptionalDefines the threshold for level of severity (low, moderate, high, critical).
The action will fail on any pull requests that introduce vulnerabilities of the specified severity level or higher.
allow-licensesOptionalContains a list of allowed licenses. You can find the possible values for this parameter in the Licenses page of the API documentation.
The action will fail on pull requests that introduce dependencies with licenses that do not match the list.
deny-licensesOptionalContains a list of prohibited licenses. You can find the possible values for this parameter in the Licenses page of the API documentation.
The action will fail on pull requests that introduce dependencies with licenses that match the list.
fail-on-scopesOptionalContains a list of strings representing the build environments you want to support (development, runtime, unknown).
The action will fail on pull requests that introduce vulnerabilites in the scopes that match the list.
allow-ghsasOptionalContains a list of GitHub Advisory Database IDs that can be skipped during detection. You can find the possible values for this parameter in the GitHub Advisory Database.
config-fileOptionalSpecifies a path to a configuration file. The configuration file can be local to the repository or a file located in an external repository.
external-repo-tokenOptionalSpecifies a token for fetching the configuration file, if the file resides in a private external repository. The token must have read access to the repository.

Tip: The allow-licenses and deny-licenses options are mutually exclusive.

Configuring the dependency review action

There are two methods of configuring the dependency review action:

  • Inlining the configuration options in your workflow file.
  • Referencing a configuration file in your workflow file.

Notice that all of the examples use a short version number for the action (v3) instead of a semver release number (for example, v3.0.8). This ensures that you use the most recent minor version of the action.

Using inline configuration to set up the dependency review action

  1. Add a new YAML workflow to your .github/workflows folder.

    YAML
    name: 'Dependency Review'
    on: [pull_request]
    
    permissions:
      contents: read
    
    jobs:
      dependency-review:
       runs-on: ubuntu-latest
         steps:
           - name: 'Checkout Repository'
             uses: actions/checkout@v3
           - name: Dependency Review
             uses: actions/dependency-review-action@v3
  2. Specify your settings.

    This dependency review action example file illustrates how you can use the available configuration options.

    YAML
    name: 'Dependency Review'
    on: [pull_request]
    
    permissions:
      contents: read
    
    jobs:
      dependency-review:
      runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        steps:
          - name: 'Checkout Repository'
            uses: actions/checkout@v3
          - name: Dependency Review
            uses: actions/dependency-review-action@v3
            with:
            # Possible values: "critical", "high", "moderate", "low" 
            fail-on-severity: critical
    
            # You can only include one of these two options: `allow-licenses` and `deny-licences`
            # ([String]). Only allow these licenses (optional)
            # Possible values: Any `spdx_id` value(s) from https://docs.github.com/en/rest/licenses 
            allow-licenses: GPL-3.0, BSD-3-Clause, MIT
            # ([String]). Block the pull request on these licenses (optional)
            # Possible values: Any  `spdx_id` value(s) from https://docs.github.com/en/rest/licenses 
            deny-licenses: LGPL-2.0, BSD-2-Clause
    
            # ([String]). Skip these GitHub Advisory Database IDs during detection (optional)
            # Possible values: Any valid GitHub Advisory Database ID from https://github.com/advisories  
            allow-ghsas: GHSA-abcd-1234-5679, GHSA-efgh-1234-5679
    
            # ([String]). Block pull requests that introduce vulnerabilities in the scopes that match this list (optional)
            # Possible values: "development", "runtime", "unknown"
            fail-on-scopes: development, runtime
    

Using a configuration file to set up dependency review action

  1. Add a new YAML workflow to your .github/workflows folder and use config-file to specify that you are using a configuration file.

    YAML
    name: 'Dependency Review'
    on: [pull_request]
    
    permissions:
     contents: read
    
    jobs:
      dependency-review:
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        steps:
          - name: 'Checkout Repository'
            uses: actions/checkout@v3
          - name: Dependency Review
            uses: actions/dependency-review-action@v3
            with:
             # ([String]). Representing a path to a configuration file local to the repository or in an external repository.
             # Possible values: An absolute path to a local file or an external file.
             config-file: './.github/dependency-review-config.yml'   
             # Syntax for an external file: OWNER/REPOSITORY/FILENAME@BRANCH
             config-file: 'github/octorepo/dependency-review-config.yml@main'
    
             # ([Token]) Use if your configuration file resides in a private external repository.
             # Possible values: Any GitHub token with read access to the private external repository.  
             external-repo-token: 'ghp_123456789abcde'
  2. Create the configuration file in the path you have specified.

    This YAML example file illustrates how you can use the available configuration options.

    YAML
      # Possible values: "critical", "high", "moderate", "low" 
      fail-on-severity: critical
    
      # You can only include one of these two options: `allow-licenses` and `deny-licences`
      # ([String]). Only allow these licenses (optional)
      # Possible values: Any `spdx_id` value(s) from https://docs.github.com/en/rest/licenses 
      allow-licenses: 
        - GPL-3.0
        - BSD-3-Clause
        - MIT
       # ([String]). Block the pull request on these licenses (optional)
       # Possible values: Any  `spdx_id` value(s) from https://docs.github.com/en/rest/licenses 
      deny-licenses: 
        - LGPL-2.0
        - BSD-2-Clause
    
       # ([String]). Skip these GitHub Advisory Database IDs during detection (optional)
       # Possible values: Any valid GitHub Advisory Database ID from https://github.com/advisories  
      allow-ghsas: 
        - GHSA-abcd-1234-5679 
        - GHSA-efgh-1234-5679
    
       # ([String]). Block pull requests that introduce vulnerabilities in the scopes that match this list (optional)
       # Possible values: "development", "runtime", "unknown"
      fail-on-scopes: 
        - development 
        - runtime
    

    For further details about the configuration options, see dependency-review-action.