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CodeQL code scanning: new severity levels for security alerts

New severity levels for security alerts

We now show security-severity levels for CodeQL security alerts in code scanning. security-severity levels help you understand in more detail the risks posed by security alerts, allowing you to assess the potential impact of the alerts, and make the right decision on which alerts to fix first. The severity level of security alerts can be critical, high, medium, or low.

The new security-severity levels are displayed on all security alerts. For example, if a PR triggers security alerts, the security-severity is visible on the alert annotations under the Files changed tab. You can also see the security-severity for each alert present in a repository by clicking Security > Code scanning alerts.


About security severity levels

Security severity levels are displayed on code scanning alerts that are generated by security queries.
CodeQL automatically calculates security-severity levels and assigns an exact numerical score to each security query. To calculate the security-severity of an alert, we first group all CVEs reported by the CWEs assigned to the security query. We then calculate the 75th percentile of the CVSS score for those CVEs. Finally, we translate numerical scores to critical, high, medium, or low using the following definitions:

Severity Score Range
None 0.0
Low 0.1 – 3.9
Medium 4.0 – 6.9
High 7.0 – 8.9
Critical 9.0 – 10.0

Defining which security-severity levels cause pull request check failure

By default, any code scanning alerts with a security-severity of critical or high will cause pull request check failure. You can specify which security-severity level for code scanning results should cause check failure by going to the Security & Analysis tab in the repository settings.


Severity levels for non-security alerts

Severity levels for non-security alerts remain as error, warning, or note. By default, any code scanning results with the severity of error will cause check failure. You can change this setting using the dropdown on the Security & Analysis tab in the repository settings. It allows two selections that apply to the security and non-security alerts.

Security severity levels in the code scanning API

You can also access security_severity_level data for security queries using the /alerts endpoint of the code scanning API.

How to add security-severity to a CodeQL query

You can add the expected security-severity level to the your custom security queries by adding the numerical score to the @security-severity query metadata property in the .ql file.

The new security-severity levels for security queries have been deployed to These improvements will also be available in GitHub Enterprise Server 3.2.

Learn more about CodeQL and code scanning by reading the documentation.

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