Note: Your site administrator must enable secret scanning for your GitHub Enterprise Server instance before you can use this feature. For more information, see "Configuring secret scanning for your appliance."
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, even if the repository is archived.
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" in the GitHub Enterprise Cloud documentation.
You can also enable secret scanning as a push protection for a repository or an organization. When you enable this feature, secret scanning prevents contributors from pushing code with a detected secret. To proceed, contributors must either remove the secret(s) from the push or, if needed, bypass the protection. Admins can also specify a custom link that is displayed to the contributor when a push is blocked; the link can contain resources specific to the organization to aid contributors. For more information, see "Protecting pushes with secret scanning."
Secret scanning is available on all organization-owned repositories as part of GitHub Advanced Security. It is not available on user-owned repositories. When you enable secret scanning for a repository, GitHub scans the code for patterns that match secrets used by many service providers. For more information, see "Secret scanning patterns."
If you're a repository administrator you can enable secret scanning for any repository, including archived repositories. Organization owners can also enable secret scanning for all repositories or for all new repositories within an organization. For more information, see "Managing security and analysis settings for your repository" and "Managing security and analysis settings for your organization."
You can also define custom secret scanning patterns for a repository, organization, or enterprise. For more information, see "Defining custom patterns for secret scanning."
When you enable secret scanning for a repository or push commits to a repository with secret scanning enabled, GitHub scans the contents of those commits for secrets that match patterns defined by service providers and any custom patterns defined in your enterprise, organization, or repository.
If secret scanning detects a secret, GitHub generates an alert.
GitHub sends an email alert to the repository administrators and organization owners. You'll receive an alert if you are watching the repository, and if you have enabled notifications either for security alerts or for all the activity on the repository.
If the contributor who committed the secret isn't ignoring the repository, GitHub will also send an email alert to the contributor. The emails contains a link to the related secret scanning alert. The commit author can then view the alert in the repository, and resolve the alert.
GitHub displays an alert in the "Security" tab of the repository.
For more information about viewing and resolving secret scanning alerts, see "Managing alerts from secret scanning."
Repository administrators and organization owners can grant users and teams access to secret scanning alerts. For more information, see "Managing security and analysis settings for your repository."
You can use the security overview to see an organization-level view of which repositories have enabled secret scanning and the alerts found. For more information, see "Viewing the security overview." You can also use the REST API to monitor results from secret scanning across your repositories or your organization. For more information about API endpoints, see "Secret scanning."