GitHub Token Scanning—one billion tokens identified and five new partners

Image of Justin Hutchings

If you’ve ever accidentally shared a token or credentials in a GitHub repository, or read about someone who has, you know how damaging it can be if a malicious user found and exploited it. About a year ago, we introduced token scanning to help scan pushed commits and prevent fraudulent use of any credentials that are shared accidentally.

Since adding token scanning, we’ve sent our integration partners one billion tokens for validation.*

Five new token scanning partners

As part of GitHub’s commitment to protecting our customers from security threats, we’re happy to announce that we’ve partnered with Atlassian, Dropbox, Discord, Proctorio, and Pulumi to scan for their token formats. They’re in good company, joining other service providers including Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Mailgun, npm, Slack, Stripe, and Twilio in protecting developers. Now if you accidentally check in a token for products like Jira or Discord, the provider gets notified about a potential match within seconds of check-in, allowing them to revoke the token before it’s used maliciously.

How does token scanning work?

On a typical day, we see almost nine million commits pushed to GitHub. Within seconds of those commits being pushed (or private repositories being made public), we scan the contents for a number of known token formats. When we detect a match, we’ll notify the appropriate service provider and they’ll respond accordingly—revoking the tokens and notifying the affected users. 

Here’s an example of how one user was notified about a Discord token that was accidentally submitted to a public repository:

A notification email about a user's Discord token

Service providers—help us prevent security breaches before they happen

If you’re a cloud or API service provider using tokens for authentication and authorization and would like to protect your users from these rare, but potentially devastating scenarios, we’d love to work with you. 

It’s as simple as a bit of paperwork, defining some regular expression to match your token format(s), and setting up an API endpoint.

Learn more about becoming a GitHub token scanning partner


* “Tokens for validation” represents the number of tokens we’ve sent to our token scanning partners for potential matches and thus may include false positives. GitHub notifies the appropriate service provider to respond accordingly—revoking the tokens and notifying the affected users—but we do not receive data on the number of validated tokens from partners.

Join us at GitHub Universe

Our largest product and community conference is returning to the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, November 13-14. Hear what's next for the GitHub platform, find inspiration for your next project, and connect with developers who are changing the world.

Get tickets

GitHub Actions now supports CI/CD

GitHub Actions makes it easier to automate how you build, test, and deploy your projects on any platform, including Linux, macOS, and Windows. Try out the beta before GitHub Actions is generally available on November 13.

Sign up for the beta