Attackers continue to use automated software to crawl public GitHub repositories to find AWS credentials and spin up EC2 instances to mine Bitcoins or for other nefarious purposes. Although adoption of tools like git-crypt and Blackbox to safely store secrets such as passwords and access tokens in code repositories is increasing, it is still all too common that secrets are stored unprotected. It is also not uncommon to see project secrets accidentally checked in to developers' personal repositories. Gitrob can help minimize the damage of exposing secrets. It scans an organization's GitHub repositories, flagging all files that might contain sensitive information that shouldn't have been pushed to the repository. The current release of the tool has some limitations: It can only be used to scan public GitHub organizations and their members, it doesn't inspect the contents of files, it doesn't review the entire commit history, and it fully scans all repositories each time it is run. Despite these limitations, it can be a helpful reactive tool to help alert teams before it is too late. It should be considered a complementary approach to a proactive tool such as Talisman.
Safely storing secrets such as passwords and access tokens in code repositories is now supported by a growing number of tools - for example, git-crypt and Blackbox, which we mentioned in the previous Technology Radar. Despite the availability of these tools, it is still, unfortunately, all too common that secrets are stored unprotected. In fact, it is so common that automated exploit software is used to find AWS credentials and spin up EC2 instances to mine Bitcoins, leaving the attacker with the Bitcoins and the account owner with the bill. Gitrob takes a similar approach and scans an organization’s GitHub repositories, flagging all files that might contain sensitive information that shouldn’t have been pushed to the repository. This is obviously a reactive approach. Gitrob can only alert teams when it is (almost) too late. For this reason, Gitrob can only ever be a complementary tool, to minimize damage.