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GitLab Secret Detection

Compare GitGuardian to  

Check out how the GitGuardian Platform compares to GitLab Secret Detection, which is based on an open-source secrets scanner.

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The main difference was that with Gitleaks, you don't have the interface for incident management. It's really just detection. GitGuardian was the whole environment that we really needed to work at scale.

Melvin Mohadeb, Security Engineer at Payfit

Meet the contenders

GitGuardian logo

Meet GitGuardian

GitGuardian is the code security platform for the DevOps generation that offers automated Secrets Detection, Infra as Code Security, and Honeytoken capabilities, facilitating a Secure Software Development Lifecycle for Dev, Sec, and Ops teams.

GitLab Secret Detection

Meet  

GitLab Secret Detection uses an analyzer containing the Gitleaks tool to scan the repository for secrets.

GitGuardian vs.  
The short version

GitGuardian is suitable for you if:

++ You need "single pane of glass" monitoring for your centralized security team and want to roll out secrets detection and remediation to your entire engineering ecosystem (supporting GitHub but also GitLab, Bitbucket, or Azure DevOps).

++ You require a dependable secrets detection engine that supports 350+ specific, generic, and custom patterns while maintaining high accuracy and recall.

++ You want a fully integrated platform with capabilities like alerting, incident triage, automated remediation workflows, RBAC and team management, developer tools (API, CLI, and SDK), and analytics.

++ You fall in our free tier; free and easy to use is excellent!

  is suitable for you if:

++ You want to deal with one code security vendor.

++ You want to implement minimum security standards across multiple disciplines.

GitGuardian vs.  
The long version

Core detection capabilities

Regular expressions to match known, distinct patterns

350+ types of specific and generic secrets supported with high accuracy level.

✅ Checks the validity of 200+ types of exposed secrets.

✅ 100+ IaC security policies available out-of-the-box.

✅ 90 types of secrets based on the ​​rulesets and key types of the open-source tool GitLeaks.

✅ Validity checks.

✅ IaC scanning.

Regular expressions result in fewer false alerts. Additionally, known patterns make it simpler to verify if the secret is true or false or whether this is a test or example key.

Learn more about how GitGuardian detects secrets.

High entropy checks to match credentials without distinct patterns and enter “paranoid” mode

++ Yes, based on the combination of entropy checks and contextual analysis of the presumed secret (pre/post-filters).

++ GitGuardian currently supports 13+ types of generic secrets.

✅Supported. Very limited generic prefixes for API keys “API-”.

❌No contextual analysis (= false-positive prone).

In order to capture a considerably wider variety of secret types, high entropy should be employed.

Learn more about how GitGuardian detects secrets.

Custom patterns

++ Yes, supported with the use of regular expressions (in SaaS/Self-hosted versions).

✅ Yes, through GitLeaks customizable rulesets.

🟠 Only available with the GitLab Ultimate plan.

To find company-specific secrets that are not picked up by the default patterns, you should be able to define your own patterns.

Learn how to create custom detectors.

Detector activation/deactivation

++ Detectors can be individually activated/deactivated from the UI, in the workspace settings.

❌ Detectors cannot be deactivated from the CLI using options/command flags.

We recommend keeping all detectors active to avoid missing any hardcoded secrets.

Learn how to configure GitGuardian’s detectors.

Sensitive file names

++ 22 file names raise policy break alerts.

❌ No sensitive file names are detected.

There is a very lengthy list of extensions that potentially hold secrets due to the numerous programming languages, frameworks, and coding standards that are used globally.

Learn which file types contain sensitive information.

Sensitive file extensions

++ 14 extensions raise policy break alerts.

❌ No sensitive file extensions are detected.

Secrets are frequently discovered in file extensions together with environment variables and configuration data. Learn more.

Filepath exclusions

++ Yes, excluding paths is possible through the UI. GitGuardian recommends a set of exclusions (e.g. test directories) and enables users to test filepaths against the active exclusion list.

✅ Yes, excluding paths like test directories is possible through the CLI command flags/options.

The ability to reduce the number of incidents and concentrate solely on those that matter most is critical to scaling your secrets detection and remediation program.

Scanning multiple sources

Code repositories

++ Secrets scanning is possible for local Git repositories or repositories managed through GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, GitLab, Azure DevOps, and Bitbucket Server/Data Center.

✅Yes, limited to GitLab.

Your repositories contain secrets and sensitive data, such as user passwords or other security flaws, making it possible for anybody with access to the image to obtain that secret and perhaps exploit it to gain access to other systems.

Learn more on why secrets inside Git are a problem

Docker images

++ Yes, Docker images can be scanned with the GitGuardian CLI, ggshield, using a specific command. The Dockerfile, build arguments, and the image's layers' filesystem are scanned for secrets.

❌ Not supported.

Your Docker image can wind up containing a private SSH key, an AWS access token, or a password.

Learn more about the secrets we found on Docker Hub.

Logs

🟠 The GitGuardian REST API and CLI, ggshield, support scanning all types of text input for secrets. GitGuardian can provide wrappers (code snippets) to extract and load data from observability tools or CI/CD logs.

❌ Not supported natively.

Sensitive data may unintentionally leak from your server logs when services unintentionally output sensitive data.

Other sources

🟠 The GitGuardian REST API and CLI, ggshield, support scanning all types of text input for secrets. GitGuardian can provide wrappers (code snippets) to extract and load data from tools like Slack, Jira, GitHub issues, etc.

❌ Not supported.

Sensitive data may unintentionally be leaked in other productivity tools used by developers.

Monitoring perimeter

GitHub Enterprise
Instance level

++ Yes

❌ Not supported.

GitHub Enterprise
Organization level

++ Yes, native GitHub App at the organization level (one-click integration).

❌ Not supported.

Repository level

++ Yes, upon integration of a GitHub Enterprise organization, admins can choose to - give access to select repositories - provide access to all repositories (present and future repositories).

❌ Not supported.

GitHub
Organization or Repository level

++ Yes, native GitHub App available. Admins can:
- give access to select repositories
- give access to all repositories (present and future repositories).

❌ Not supported.

GitLab
Instance level

++ Yes, a native integration is available. GitGuardian needs a Personal Access Token with an Admin scope.

✅ Yes.

GitLab
Project or Repository level

++ Yes, a native integration is available. GitGuardian needs a Personal Access Token with an Admin scope to establish a webhook with the VCS for historical and real-time scanning.

✅ Yes.

Bitbucket Server/Data Center
Instance level

++ Yes, a native integration is available. GitGuardian needs a Personal Access Token with an Admin scope to set up a webhook with the VCS for historical and real-time scanning.

❌ Not supported.

Bitbucket Server/Data Center
Project level

++ Yes, a native integration is available. GitGuardian needs a Personal Access Token with an Admin scope to set up a webhook with the VCS for historical and real-time scanning.

❌ Not supported.

Azure DevOps (Repos)
Instance level

++ Yes, a native integration is available. GitGuardian needs a Personal Access Token with an Admin scope to set up a webhook with the VCS.

❌ Not supported.

Azure DevOps (Repos)
Project or Repository level

++ Yes, a native integration is available. GitGuardian needs a Personal Access Token with an Admin scope to set up a webhook with the VCS.

❌ Not supported.

Secure the SDLC and more

Historical scans

++ Yes, full repository history scan can be launched on-demand. Scanning is performed across all branches and for the entire history up to the initial commit.

✅ Yes, can be configured to run as a job within your GitLab pipelines.

Hardcoded secrets can hide deep in the commit history across various branches, not only the latest revision of the code.

Pre-commit

++ Yes, supported through the GitGuardian CLI, ggshield.

✅ Supported via customization.

Pre-commit hooks put the onus on developers to keep their code free from secrets before contributing to the team’s codebase. The cost of remediation at this stage is low. Learn how to set up a pre-commit hook with GitGuardian.

Pre-push

++ Yes, supported through the GitGuardian CLI, ggshield.

✅ Supported via customization.

Pre-push hooks put the onus on developers to keep their code free from secrets before contributing to the team’s codebase.

Pre-receive

++ Yes, supported through the GitGuardian CLI, ggshield.

In addition, a 'break-glass' option is provided to avoid blocking developer workflow in case test credentials or false positives are raised.

✅ Supported via customization.

Pre-receive hooks are the most effective tool to prevent secrets from reaching your codebase.

Post-receive

✅ Yes, supported with the native VCS integrations (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket and Azure DevOps). Historical and continuous protection.

✅Yes, but checks can only be included in your GitLab pipelines. 

CI environment

++ Yes, the GitGuardian CLI, ggshield, runs natively with 8 different providers in total: GitHub Actions, GitLab CI/CD, Bitbucket pipelines, Azure pipelines, Jenkins CI, CircleCI, Drone CI, and Travis CI.

🟠 Limited to GitLab pipelines.

It is important to raise awareness around the problem of hardcoded secrets and align Dev, Sec, and Ops with Automated Security Testing (AST) in pipelines.

Learn how to use GitGuardian's secrets detection in your CI workflows.

Pull requests (check runs)
& commit status checks

++ In GitHub, secrets scanning check runs can be triggered on pull requests on repositories monitored by GitGuardian. The behavior can be configured to block merging PRs containing secrets.

❌ Not supported.

Pull request or merge request scanning brings secrets detection to environments developers are familiar with, such as the GitHub or GitLab UI.

Enriched UI and centralization of incidents

Rich UI with all data needed for investigation and remediation

++ Unified view of incidents across all monitored sources found via the native VCS integrations.

✅ Results can be displayed in your GitLab Security Dashboard (see here).

✅ JSON reports for all vulnerabilities are also available.

🟠 Only available with the GitLab Ultimate plan.

It facilitates the collection of relevant data for big-picture analysis.

Security team view
(global view)

++ Rich UI/centralized dashboard for Security and Incident Response teams.

✅ Results can be displayed in your GitLab Security Dashboard (see here).

🟠 Only available with the GitLab Ultimate plan.

To accurately assess the code security posture of an enterprise, security professionals require visibility across complex, sprawling environments.

Developer/Engineering view (local view)

++ Developers can get access to incidents via the GitGuardian UI, with a scoped view on incidents shared with them.

++ An external page can be generated for the developers to view individual incident details, fill out a feedback form and possibly remediate the incident on their own with our advice.

✅ Developers can view pipelines’ security tab and reports in the merge request widget.

🟠 Only available with the GitLab Ultimate plan.

Developers can view and handle their incidents most effectively with the help of intuitive dashboards.

Incident Lifecycle Management

Incident data

✅ In addition to data such as the commit sha, date, author, secrets type, location (repository, file name, line) and validity, GitGuardian provides contextual tags such as "from a historical scan", "sensitive file", "test file", "exposed publicly", "leaked publicly", "regression", "default branch", etc. 

❌ Not supported.

Incident data helps you in prioritizing and investigating incidents better by giving additional context.

Automated Severity Scoring

++ GitGuardian scores the severity of incidents: "Low", "Medium", "High" or "Critical" following default rules or user-defined rules.

❌ Not supported.

Severity scoring will assist in identifying and prioritizing issues for quicker resolution.

Validity and presence checks

++ For certain secrets, GitGuardian can perform non-intrusive checks to verify their validity. When revoked, secrets will be marked as no longer valid, effectively providing proof of remediation.

++ GitGuardian can also verify the presence of the secrets in the commits and provide proof of deletion after all evidence of the secret is removed.

🟠 Can only check that exposed secrets are no longer found in the latest pipeline scan of the default branch. Does not support validity checks.

Users should be able to check the validity of each incident and determine whether the leaked secret is still present or has been entirely erased from the commit history. Learn how to verify if an exposed secret was removed from the commit history.

Occurrence grouping

++ GitGuardian groups all occurrences of the same secret leak across files, repositories, and organizations.

✅ It can group similar incidents together based on certain criteria such as the type of secret or the location in the codebase.

You can lessen alert fatigue. There is no need to triage/resolve each and every occurrence separately.

Incidents status management

++ Incident handling with "Triggered", "Assigned", "Resolved" and "Ignored" statuses. Two outcomes are possible: incidents can be resolved or ignored.

❌ Not available.

This will assist organizations in swiftly identifying incidents and mitigating their negative impact.

Incident assignment

++ Incidents can be assigned to a team member (a security engineer or a developer) to handle the incident.

❌ Not available.

Defining incident assignees makes sure that the incident gets a timely and appropriate response.

Remediation guidelines

++ Default remediation guidelines and recommendations are displayed in the UI. The guidelines can also be customized.

✅ It can provide guidance on how to remediate detected incidents, such as suggesting specific code changes or offering best practices for secure credential management.

You have some remediation guidelines by default. But as each organization has its own context and remediation policies, you will have the ability to customize the remediation guidelines.

Learn how to create custom remediation guidelines.

Automation and playbooks

++ Incident remediation playbooks like sharing incidents with involved developers, collecting feedback, and closing incidents when they are re-checked as invalid can be automated.

❌ Not available.

The time savings, particularly at the enterprise scale, can be significant. Playbooks keep your teams productive and focused!

Learn more about how to prioritize, investigate and remediate hardcoded secrets incidents at scale.

Incident timeline

++ A detailed timeline is provided with an extensive activity log of all performed events (status changes, feedback notes, access sharing, and much more).

❌ Not available.

Timelines help security teams keep track of all of the actions performed on the incident.

Collaboration with developers

++ Developers can get access to incidents via:
• GitGuardian workspace, scoped view on incidents shared with them;
• A link to an external page can be generated for the developers to view individual incident details, fill a feedback form and possibly remediate the incident on their own.

🟠 Limited collaboration possibilities.

Because developers are key to taming secrets sprawl, AppSec teams must provide them with instant access to and ownership of their hardcoded secrets incidents.

Learn how to bring Dev, Sec, and Ops together for tackling secret sprawl.

Whitelisting options

++ Yes. When ignoring incidents, it is possible to flag findings as false positives, low-risk credentials, or test credentials.

✅ Yes.

Pull request or merge request scanning brings secrets detection to environments developers are familiar with, such as the GitHub or GitLab UI.

Regression behavior

++ New occurrences of a resolved incident can be configured to re-open the incident and trigger new alerts or deliver silent notifications.

❌ Not available.

If new secrets were added or rotated secrets broke existing app functionality, you need to reopen the incident.

Alerting

Real-time alerting

++ Yes

✅ Yes, can be configured to trigger alerts in real-time.

Serious incidents are immediately identified. Alerts may be directed to the right developers more rapidly for remediation.

Email alerts

++ Yes, to prevent alert fatigue, only one email is sent for multiple occurrences of the same incident.

✅ Yes, but only at the developer level for failed pipelines.

The problem of secret leaks has developers at the forefront. It is crucial to notify the developer in charge of the incident via their commit email.

Learn what's included in GitGuardian email alerts.

Integration with most common SIEMs like Splunk or ITSMs

++ Yes

🟠 Yes, but only through custom webhooks.

Teams, processes, and tools should be integrated to increase efficiency and effectiveness for all users by ensuring that alerts are received at the appropriate time and location and that no alert is missed.

Integration with ticketing systems like Jira or messaging apps like Slack

++ Yes

🟠 Yes, but only through custom webhooks.

By integrating your code security platform and ticketing/messaging tool, you can address critical incidents and expedite remediation.

Event-driven generic webhooks

++ Yes

Stay in the know with event-driven alerts when new incidents are raised or when actions are performed on open incidents.

Reporting & Analytics

Analytics

++ Yes, enriched analytics to assess security posture over time and remediation performance.

🟠 Limited, through the security dashboard.

🟠 Only available with the GitLab Ultimate plan.

Analytics help you assess security posture over time, and remediation performance.

Data exports

++ All data is exportable in .csv (including historical incidents) or in JSON format using the REST API.

✅Yes, in JSON format.

Your Dev can review the incident data and filter it further based on their needs.

Enterprise support

Deployment

++ SaaS & On-premises (self-hosted)

✅ SaaS & On-premises.

SaaS is less expensive and easier to scale, while on-premises offers more visibility.

See how an enterprise customer deployed a secrets detection program.

SSO

++ Yes, fully compatible with any SAML 2.0 provider.

✅ Yes.

Because users only log in once per day and utilize a single set of credentials, it decreases the number of attack surfaces.

See the setup procedures for different IdPs.

Roles Based Access Control (RBAC) & Team management

++ Yes, the available roles "Workspace Owner", "Manager" (admin), "Member" and "Restricted" are designed for fine-grained access control down to the occurrence level. Teams management available.

❌ Not available.

It's a wonderful approach to bring in every developer, scale up incident remediation, and deal with orphan incidents.

Learn how RBAC can help fix hardcoded credentials faster.

Audit logs

++ Detailed activity logs of all actions triggered on the dashboard or through the REST API.

❌ Not available.

Audit logs include precise historical data that can be used to retrace an incident's timeline.

See how to access Gitguardian audit logs.

REST API

++ GitGuardian’s public REST API can be used to realize all sorts of actions on your workspace and incidents (retrieve, assign, update status, and share secrets incidents, and more).

❌ Not available.

This API provides you with access to all of the incident data, including tasks.

Enterprise support & onboarding

++ A dedicated team of Solutions and DevOps Engineers will be made available to help you rollout secrets detection and remediation for your organization (included in the licensing model, at no additional cost).

❌ Not available.

In order to use a product effectively, a solid onboarding program aids in your ability to comprehend and experience the value it offers.

It is always advantageous to have support professionals who are completely committed to fixing any technical issues you may encounter.

Read more in-depth articles on GitGuardian Blog.

Why does it matter?

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Note: The space is evolving quickly, and we do our best to keep information on our competitors up to date. If you see any outdated information, contact us and we will immediately set the record straight!

How do users like you rate us?

Users rate GitGuardian high on these categories on review sites like PeerSpot, G2, and Capterra.

Ease of Use • 4.6 stars

Customer Service • 4.6 stars

Value for Money • 4.6 stars

Ease of Use • 8.9

Quality of Support • 9.0

Ease of setup • 9.3

Here are the 6 main reasons why users prefer GitGuardian to GitLab Secret Detection

Platforms such as GitLab provide advanced security packs that include secret scanning feature. However, it's essential to compare their accuracy and coverage of detectors, and collaboration capabilities to GitGuardian when making a decision.

GitLab Secret Detection is designed specifically for GitLab. It only scans the repository's code and does not look for secrets in other areas, such as CI/CD pipelines or server configurations.

GitGuardian supports native integrations with multiple VCS platforms, including GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, and Azure DevOps. This means teams using multiple VCS platforms can use the same security solution across their repositories.

GitLab Secret Detection has limited capabilities in detecting all types of secrets, as it relies on predefined patterns, which may not detect complex or obfuscated secrets.

On the other hand, GitGuardian's detection engine provides both specific and generic detectors, and enables custom regex patterns, making it more adaptable to specific needs. GitGuardian supports a wider range of secret types, including API keys, tokens, and certificates, making it more effective in detecting potential secrets incidents.

GitLab Secret Detection may flag some code as containing a secret even if it is not actually a secret.

GitGuardian's detection engine filters out false positives by performing secret validity checks and contextual code analysis. The true positive rate for specific detectors is 91%, while the true positive rate for generic detectors is 80%. Additionally, GitGuardian groups multiple occurrences of secrets exposed across files and repositories into a single incident.

GitLab Secret Detection has limited incident management and issue tracking features compared to GitGuardian, which can make it harder to manage incidents and collaborate with team members.

With GitGuardian playbooks, organizations can respond to incidents quickly and effectively, automating alerting, ticketing, severity scoring, prioritizing, and collaboration tasks with developers. This leads to faster elimination of high-severity incidents with custom remediation advice.

While GitLab Secret Detection can be integrated with other tools through custom webhooks, there are fewer built-in integrations. This can make it more difficult to integrate with other systems and tools in your team's workflow.

GitGuardian empowers you to work with all the tools and frameworks you use. You can receive alerts directly in Slack or Discord if a secret is discovered. You can report incidents to Jira and Pagerduty or create some custom webhooks.

GitLab provides support for its products, including GitLab Secret Detection, through its documentation, knowledge base, and support ticketing system. However, support levels depend on the GitLab subscription level, and there may be limited options for organizations with specific support needs or requirements.

Customer support is free with GitGuardian: POC exercises, phased rollout and scaling, onboarding programs, dedicated technical account managers for regular communication, etc.

GitGuardian is the #1 security application on the GitHub Marketplace

Trusted by security leaders
at the world’s biggest companies

Learn how Jon-Erik and his team saved over 200 hours of manual review

The solution has significantly reduced our mean time to remediation, by three or four months. We wouldn't know about it until we did our quarterly or semi-annual review for secrets and scan for secrets.

Jon-Erik Schneiderhan, Senior Site Reliability Engineer at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees

Read the case study

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