Note: Code scanning is currently in beta and subject to change.
In repositories where code scanning is configured as a pull request check, code scanning checks the code in the pull request. By default, this is limited to pull requests that target the default branch, but you can change this configuration within GitHub Actions or in a third-party CI/CD system. If merging the changes would introduce new code scanning alerts to the target branch, these are reported as check results in the pull request. The alerts are also shown as annotations in the Files changed tab of the pull request. If you have write permission for the repository, you can see any existing code scanning alerts on the Security tab. For information about repository alerts, see "Managing code scanning alerts for your repository."
If your pull request targets a protected branch that uses code scanning, and the repository owner has configured required status checks, then the "Code scanning results" check must pass before you can merge the pull request. For more information, see "About protected branches."
There are many options for configuring code scanning as a pull request check, so the exact setup of each repository will vary and some will have more than one check.
For all configurations of code scanning, the check that contains the results of code scanning is: Code scanning results. The results for each analysis tool used are shown separately. Any new alerts caused by changes in the pull request are shown as annotations.
If the code scanning results check finds any problems with a severity of
error the check fails and the error is reported in the check results. If all the results found by code scanning have lower severities, the alerts are treated as warnings or notes and the check succeeds.
Depending on your configuration, you may see additional checks running on pull requests with code scanning configured. These are usually workflows that analyze the code or that upload code scanning results. These checks are useful for troubleshooting when there are problems with the analysis.
For example, if the repository uses the CodeQL analysis workflow a CodeQL / Analyze (LANGUAGE) check is run for each language before the results check runs. The analysis check may fail if there are configuration problems, or if the pull request breaks the build for a language that the analysis needs to compile (for example, C/C++, C#, or Java).
As with other pull request checks, you can see full details of the check failure on the Checks tab. For more information about configuring and troubleshooting, see "Configuring code scanning" or "Troubleshooting the CodeQL workflow."
You can see any code scanning alerts introduced in a pull request by displaying the Files changed tab. Each alert is shown as an annotation on the lines of code that triggered the alert. The severity of the alert is displayed in the annotation.
If you have write permission for the repository, some annotations contain links with extra context for the alert. In the example above, from CodeQL analysis, you can click user-provided value to see where the untrusted data enters the data flow (this is referred to as the source). In this case you can also view the full path from the source to the code that uses the data (the sink) by clicking Show paths. This makes it easy to check whether the data is untrusted or if the analysis failed to recognize a data sanitization step between the source and the sink. For information about analyzing data flow using CodeQL, see "About data flow analysis."
To see more information about an alert, users with write permission can click the Show more details link shown in the annotation. This allows you to see all of the context and metadata provided by the tool in an alert view. In the example below, you can see tags showing the severity, type, and relevant common weakness enumerations (CWEs) for the problem. The view also shows which commit introduced the problem.
In the detailed view for an alert, some code scanning tools, like CodeQL analysis, also include a description of the problem and a Show more link for guidance on how to fix your code.
Anyone with push access to a pull request can fix a code scanning alert that's identified on that pull request. If you commit changes to the pull request this triggers a new run of the pull request checks. If your changes fix the problem, the alert is closed and the annotation removed.
An alternative way of closing an alert is to dismiss it. You can dismiss an alert if you don't think it needs to be fixed. For example, an error in code that's used only for testing, or when the effort of fixing the error is greater than the potential benefit of improving the code. If you have write permission for the repository, the Dismiss button is available in code annotations and in the alerts summary. When you click Dismiss you will be prompted to choose a reason for closing the alert.
It's important to choose the appropriate reason from the drop-down menu as this may affect whether a query continues to be included in future analysis.
If you dismiss a CodeQL alert as a false positive result, for example because the code uses a sanitization library that isn't supported, consider contributing to the CodeQL repository and improving the analysis. For more information about CodeQL, see "Contributing to CodeQL."
For more information about dismissing alerts, see "Managing code scanning alerts for your repository."