Configuring secret scanning for your appliance

You can enable, configure, and disable secret scanning for your GitHub Enterprise Server instance. Secret scanning allows users to scan code for accidentally committed secrets.

Secret scanning is available for organization-owned repositories where GitHub Advanced Security is enabled. For more information, see "About GitHub Advanced Security."

In this article

Note: Secret scanning was in beta in GitHub Enterprise Server 3.0. For the generally available release of secret scanning, upgrade to the latest release of GitHub Enterprise Server.

About secret scanning

If someone checks a secret with a known pattern into a repository on GitHub Enterprise Server, secret scanning catches the secret as it's checked in, and helps you mitigate the impact of the leak. Repository administrators are notified about any commit that contains a secret, and they can quickly view all detected secrets in the Security tab for the repository. For more information, see "About secret scanning."

Prerequisites for secret scanning

Checking support for the SSSE3 flag on your vCPUs

The SSSE3 set of instructions is required because secret scanning leverages hardware accelerated pattern matching to find potential credentials committed to your GitHub repositories. SSSE3 is enabled for most modern CPUs. You can check whether SSSE3 is enabled for the vCPUs available to your GitHub Enterprise Server instance.

  1. Connect to the administrative shell for your GitHub Enterprise Server instance. For more information, see "Accessing the administrative shell (SSH)."
  2. Enter the following command:
grep -iE '^flags.*ssse3' /proc/cpuinfo >/dev/null | echo $?

If this returns the value 0, it means that the SSSE3 flag is available and enabled. You can now enable secret scanning for your GitHub Enterprise Server instance. For more information, see "Enabling secret scanning" below.

If this doesn't return 0, SSSE3 is not enabled on your VM/KVM. You need to refer to the documentation of the hardware/hypervisor on how to enable the flag, or make it available to guest VMs.

Checking whether you have an Advanced Security license

  1. From an administrative account on GitHub Enterprise Server, click in the upper-right corner of any page. Rocketship icon for accessing site admin settings
  2. In the left sidebar, click Management Console. Management Console tab in the left sidebar
  3. Check if there is an Advanced Security entry in the left sidebar. Advanced Security sidebar

If you can't see Advanced Security in the sidebar, it means that your license doesn't include support for Advanced Security features, including code scanning and secret scanning. The Advanced Security license gives you and your users access to features that help you make your repositories and code more secure. For more information, see "About GitHub Advanced Security" or contact GitHub's Sales team.

Enabling secret scanning

Warning: Changing this setting will cause user-facing services on GitHub Enterprise Server to restart. You should time this change carefully, to minimize downtime for users.

  1. From an administrative account on GitHub Enterprise Server, click in the upper-right corner of any page. Rocketship icon for accessing site admin settings
  2. In the left sidebar, click Management Console. Management Console tab in the left sidebar
  3. In the left sidebar, click Advanced Security. Advanced Security sidebar
  4. Under "Advanced Security," click Secret scanning. Checkbox to enable or disable secret scanning
  5. Under the left sidebar, click Save settings. The Save settings button in the Management Console
  6. Wait for the configuration run to complete.

Disabling secret scanning

Warning: Changing this setting will cause user-facing services on GitHub Enterprise Server to restart. You should time this change carefully, to minimize downtime for users.

  1. From an administrative account on GitHub Enterprise Server, click in the upper-right corner of any page. Rocketship icon for accessing site admin settings
  2. In the left sidebar, click Management Console. Management Console tab in the left sidebar
  3. In the left sidebar, click Advanced Security. Advanced Security sidebar
  4. Under "Advanced Security", unselect Secret scanning. Checkbox to enable or disable secret scanning
  5. Under the left sidebar, click Save settings. The Save settings button in the Management Console
  6. Wait for the configuration run to complete.

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