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My GitHub App Key leaked! What should I do?

What is a GitHub App Key and how it is used?

A GitHub App Key is a unique identifier that is used to authenticate and authorize a GitHub App to access the GitHub API on behalf of a user or organization. It is crucial for securely managing and protecting sensitive information.

When using a GitHub App Key, developers should be aware of its main use cases:

  • Authentication: GitHub App Keys are used to authenticate requests made by the GitHub App to the GitHub API. This ensures that the app has the necessary permissions to interact with repositories and perform actions on behalf of users.
  • Authorization: GitHub App Keys are used to authorize the app to access specific repositories or organizations. This helps in controlling the scope of access and ensuring that the app only has access to the necessary resources.
  • Secure Communication: GitHub App Keys are used to establish secure communication between the GitHub App and the GitHub API. This helps in protecting sensitive data and ensuring that the communication between the app and GitHub is encrypted.

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1. Code snippets to prevent GitHub App Key hardcoding using environment variables

Using environment variables for storing sensitive information like GitHub App Keys is a secure practice because:

  • Environment variables are not hard-coded in the codebase, reducing the risk of exposing the keys in version control systems.
  • Environment variables are stored outside of the codebase, making it harder for attackers to access them directly.
  • Environment variables can be easily managed and rotated without having to modify the code.
  • Environment variables are specific to the environment in which the code is running, providing an additional layer of security.

How to secure your secrets using environment variables

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2. Code snippet to prevent GitHub App Key hardcoding using AWS Secrets Manager

Using AWS Secrets Manager to manage GitHub App Keys is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the GitHub App Key from AWS Secrets Manager.

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3. Code snippet to prevent GitHub App Key hardcoding using HashiCorp Vault

Using HashiCorp Vault for managing GitHub App Keys is a great way to enhance security. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages for securely handling a GitHub App Key using HashiCorp Vault.

Remember to replace the VAULT_ADDR and VAULT_TOKEN with your Vault server address and authentication token. The snippets assume that the GitHub App Key is stored under the api_key field within Vault. The specifics of the Vault path and field names should be adjusted to match your Vault setup.

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4. Code snippet to prevent GitHub App Key hardcoding using CyberArk Conjur

Using CyberArk Conjur to manage GitHub App Key is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the GitHub App Key from CyberArk Conjur.

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How to generate a GitHub App Key?

Generating a GitHub App key involves creating a new GitHub App in your GitHub account. Follow these steps to generate a GitHub App key:

  1. Go to your GitHub account and navigate to the "Settings" page.
  2. Click on "Developer settings" in the left sidebar.
  3. Under "GitHub Apps," click on "New GitHub App."
  4. Fill in the necessary information for your GitHub App, such as the name, description, permissions, and callback URL.
  5. After creating the GitHub App, you will be provided with the App ID and a private key. This private key is your GitHub App key.

For more detailed information and step-by-step instructions, you can refer to the official GitHub documentation on creating a GitHub App: Creating a GitHub App

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My GitHub App Key leaked, what are the possible reasons?

There are several reasons why a GitHub App Key might have been leaked:

  • Improper storage: If the key is stored in a public repository or in a location accessible to unauthorized users, it can be easily leaked.
  • Accidental exposure: Developers may inadvertently include the key in code snippets, configuration files, or logs that are shared publicly.
  • Weak security practices: Lack of encryption, weak access controls, or using easily guessable keys can make it easier for the key to be compromised.
  • Third-party services: Integration with third-party services that do not follow best security practices can also lead to key leaks.

What are the risks of leaking a GitHub App Key

When it comes to GitHub App Keys, it is crucial for developers to understand the risks associated with leaking these credentials. GitHub App Keys are sensitive pieces of information that grant access to a variety of resources and actions within GitHub. If a GitHub App Key is leaked, it can lead to serious security implications, including:

  • Unauthorized access to repositories and sensitive data
  • Potential data breaches and leaks
  • Malicious activities performed on behalf of the compromised app
  • Loss of trust from users and stakeholders

It is important for developers to always keep their GitHub App Keys secure and follow best practices for secret management. This includes storing keys in secure locations, restricting access to only authorized individuals, and regularly rotating keys to minimize the impact of a potential leak. By raising awareness about the risks of leaking GitHub App Keys, developers can better understand the importance of safeguarding these credentials to protect their applications and data.

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GitHub App Key security best practices

  • Avoid embedding the secret directly in your code. Instead, use environment variables or secrets managers
  • Secure storage: store the GitHub App Key in a secure location, such as a password manager or a secrets management service.
  • Regular rotation: periodically rotate the API key to minimize the risk of long-term exposure.
  • Restrict permissions: apply the principle of least privilege by only granting the key the minimum necessary permissions.
  • Monitor usage: regularly check the usage logs for any unusual activity or unauthorized access attempts.
  • Implement access controls: limit the number of users who have access to the secret and enforce strong authentication measures.
  • Use a secrets manager: utilize secret management tools like CyberArk or AWS Secrets Manager for enhanced security.

By adhering to the best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk associated with GitHub App Key usage and improve the overall security of your GitHub App Key implementations.

Exposing secrets on GitHub: What to do after leaking Credential and API keys

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GitHub App Key leak remediation: what to do

What to do if you expose a secret: How to stay calm and respond to an incident [cheat sheet included]

How to check if GitHub App Key was used by malicious actors

  • Review Access Logs: Check the access logs of your GitHub App Key account for any unauthorized access or unusual activity. Pay particular attention to access from unfamiliar IP addresses (if you haven’t set up a specific allow list) or at odd hours.
  • Monitor Usage Patterns: Look for anomalies in the usage patterns, such as unexpected spikes in data access or transfer.
  • Check Active Connections and Operations: Review the list of active connections and recent operations on your database. Unusual or unauthorized operations might indicate malicious use.
  • Audit API Usage: If possible, audit the usage of your API key through any logging or monitoring services you have integrated with GitHub App Key. This can give insights into any unauthorized use of your key.

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Steps to revoke the GitHub App Key

Generate a new GitHub App Key:

  • Log into your GitHub App Key account.
  • Navigate to the API section and generate a new API key.

Update Services with the new key:

  • Replace the compromised key with the new key in all your services that use this API key.
  • Ensure all your applications and services are updated with the new key before deactivating the old one.

Deactivate the old GitHub App Key:

  • Once the new key is in place and everything is functioning correctly, deactivate the old API key.
  • This can typically be done from the same section where you generated the new key.

Monitor after key rotation:

  • After deactivating the old key, monitor your systems closely to ensure that all services are running smoothly and that there are no unauthorized access attempts.

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How to understand which services will stop working

  • Inventory of services: keep an inventory of all services and applications that utilize your GitHub App Key.
  • Communication and documentation: Ensure that your team is aware of which services are dependent on the key. Maintain documentation for quick reference.
  • Testing: before deactivating the old key, test your services with the new key in a staging environment. This helps in identifying any services that might face issues post rotation.
  • Fallback strategies: Have a fallback or emergency plan in case a critical service fails after the key rotation. This might include temporary measures or quick rollback procedures.

In summary, the remediation process involves identifying potential misuse, carefully rotating the key, and ensuring minimal disruption to services. Being proactive and having a well-documented process can greatly reduce the risks associated with a compromised API key.

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What about other secrets?

GitGuardian helps developers keep 350+ types of secrets out of source code. GitGuardian’s automated secrets detection and remediation solution secure every step of the development lifecycle, from code to cloud:

  • On developer workstations with git hooks (pre-commit and pre-push);
  • On code sharing platforms like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket;
  • In CI environments (Circle CI, Travis CI, Jenkins CI, GitHub Actions, and many more);
  • In Docker images.

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Environment Variables
Environment Variables
Environment Variables

charge

nullable string

For card errors, the ID of the failed charge.

payment_method_type

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

doc_url

nullable string

A URL to more information about the error code reported.

request_log_url

nullable string

A URL to the request log entry in your dashboard.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

payment_intent

nullable object

The PaymentIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a PaymentIntent.

setup_intent

nullable object

The SetupIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a SetupIntent.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

CLIENT LIBRARIES

$ gem install stripe
$ pip install stripe
$ composer require stripe/stripe-php
MAVEN
<dependency>
  <groupId>com.stripe</groupId>
  <artifactId>stripe-java</artifactId>
  <version>24.16.0</version>
</dependency>

GRADLE
compile "com.stripe:stripe-java:24.16.0"
$ npm install --save stripe
$ go get github.com/stripe/stripe-go/v76
$ nuget install Stripe.net
SHOW
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