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On March 30, 2022, we released CodeQL Action v2, which runs on the Node.js 16 runtime. The CodeQL Action v1 will be deprecated at the same time as GHES 3.3, which is currently scheduled for December 2022.

How does this affect me?

Users of GitHub.com, GitHub AE, and GitHub Enterprise Server 3.5 (and later)

All users of GitHub code scanning (which by default uses the CodeQL analysis engine) on GitHub Actions on the following platforms should update their workflow files:

  • GitHub.com (including open source repositories, users of GitHub Teams and GitHub Enterprise Cloud)
  • GitHub AE
  • GitHub Enterprise Server (GHES) 3.5 and later

Users of the above-mentioned platforms should update their CodeQL workflow file(s) to refer to the new v2 version of the CodeQL Action.

Users of GitHub Enterprise Server 3.4 (and older)

Users of GitHub Enterprise Server 3.4 (and older) are not recommended to update their configuration to use the v2 version of the CodeQL Action:

  • GHES 3.3 (and older) does not support running Actions using the Node 16 runtime and is therefore unable to run the v2 version of the CodeQL Action. Please upgrade to a newer version of GitHub Enterprise Server prior to changing your CodeQL Action workflow files.
  • While GHES 3.4 does support Node 16 Actions, it does not ship with v2 of the CodeQL Action. Users who want to migrate to v2 on GHES 3.4 should request that their system administrator enables GitHub Connect to download v2 onto GHES before updating their workflow files.

The upcoming release of GitHub Enterprise Server 3.5 will ship with v2 of the CodeQL Action included.

Exactly what do I need to change?

To upgrade to the CodeQL Action v2, open your CodeQL workflow file(s) in the .github directory of your repository and look for references to:

  • github/codeql-action/init@v1
  • github/codeql-action/autobuild@v1
  • github/codeql-action/analyze@v1
  • github/codeql-action/upload-sarif@v1

These entries need to be replaced with their v2 equivalents:

  • github/codeql-action/init@v2
  • github/codeql-action/autobuild@v2
  • github/codeql-action/analyze@v2
  • github/codeql-action/upload-sarif@v2

Can I use Dependabot to help me with this upgrade?

Yes, you can! For more details on how to configure Dependabot to automatically upgrade your Actions dependencies, please see this page.

What happens in December 2022?

In December 2022, the CodeQL Action v1 will be officially deprecated (at the same time as the GHES 3.3 deprecation). At that point, no new updates will be made to v1, which means that new CodeQL analysis capabilities will only be available to users of v2. We will keep a close eye on the migration progress across GitHub. If many workflow files still refer to v1 of the CodeQL Action we might consider scheduling one or more brownout moments later in the year to increase awareness.

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The CodeQL runner has been deprecated in favor of the CodeQL CLI. As previously announced, starting March 14th, the CodeQL bundle now no longer includes the CodeQL runner. This deprecation only affects users who use CodeQL code scanning in 3rd party CI/CD systems; users of GitHub Actions are not affected.

GitHub Enterprise Server (GHES)

The CodeQL runner was shipped as part of GitHub Enterprise Server (GHES) versions up to and including 3.3.x. GitHub Enterprise Server 3.4 and later no longer include the CodeQL runner. We strongly recommend that customers migrate to the CodeQL CLI, which is a feature-complete replacement for the CodeQL runner and has many additional features.

How does this affect me?

If you’re using CodeQL code scanning on GitHub Actions, you are not affected by this change.

If you’ve configured code scanning to run the CodeQL runner inside another CI/CD system, we recommend migrating to the CodeQL CLI as soon as possible.
Starting April 1st, changes to both the CodeQL analysis engine and the code scanning API are not guaranteed to be compatible with older CodeQL runner releases.

What actions should I take?

You should configure your CI/CD system to use the CodeQL CLI before upgrading to GHES 3.4.0. When setting up the CodeQL CLI, we recommend that you test the CodeQL CLI set up to verify that the CLI is correctly configured to analyze your repository.

Learn more about migrating from the CodeQL runner to the CodeQL CLI here.

See more

GitHub code scanning helps open source maintainers and organizations find potential vulnerabilities in their code, before these can make their way into deployments. CodeQL, our very own analysis engine, powers the majority of those checks. Over the past few months, we have been working hard to improve the depth and breadth of our analysis to cover more CWEs, add support for a host of new language versions, and improve our platform compatibility.

Before we dive into the details: If you haven’t tried GitHub code scanning with CodeQL yet, you can enable it now on your repositories by following this guide! It’s free for open-source projects and available as part of GitHub Advanced Security for our enterprise customers.

All improvements below are available to users of GitHub code scanning on GitHub.com today, and will be part of the next GitHub Enterprise Server release (GHES version 3.5). Users of other GHES versions can also update their CodeQL version to benefit from these analysis improvements straight away.

Language Support

Today, CodeQL already supports JavaScript/TypeScript, Python, Ruby, Java, C#, Go, and C/C++. These languages are themselves under constant development, and we now support the following language versions:

  • C# 10 / .NET 6,
  • Python 3.10,
  • Java 17, and
  • TypeScript 4.5

The standard language features in those language releases are now fully supported by CodeQL.

Performance and Compatibility

For our Linux users, we have fixed an issue that caused the CodeQL CLI to be incompatible with systems running glibc version 2.34 and older.

For users of the CodeQL Apple Silicon support (beta), we are now bundling a native Java runtime for improved performance. Rosetta 2 and macOS Developer Tools are still required for other CodeQL components.

Security Coverage

The Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) system is an industry-standard way of cataloging insecure software development patterns. CodeQL runs hundreds of queries out of the box that are able to detect an even greater number of CWEs. We went back through our existing queries, and aligned dozens of them with updated CWE IDs to give users better insight into the potential impact of a security issue when an alert is flagged up by code scanning.

We’ve added and improved detection for a large number of CWEs. These are the most significant changes:

  • CWE-190 – Integer Overflow: The cpp/uncontrolled-arithmetic query for C/C++ detects potential user-controlled inputs to calculations that could produce an overflow condition
  • CWE-319 – Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Data: The cpp/cleartext-transmission query for C/C++ detects network transmissions of sensitive data without encryption
  • CWE-120 – Buffer Overflow: The cpp/very-likely-overrunning-write query for C/C++ now detects cases of out-of-bounds writes based on advanced range analysis
  • CWE-732 – Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource: The cpp/open-call-with-mode-argument (and optional cpp/world-writable-file-creation) query for C/C++ detect issues that could lead to stack memory disclosure or attacker-writable files
  • CWE-295 – Improper Certificate Validation: The java/insecure-trustmanager query for Java now detects missing or lax certificate handling that could lead to man-in-the-middle attacks
  • CWE-829 – Inclusion of Functionality from Untrusted Control Sphere: The js/insecure-dependency query for JavaScript/TypeScript detects dependency downloads over unencrypted communication channels
  • CWE-347 – Improper Verification of Cryptographic Signature: The js/jwt-missing-verification query for JavaScript/TypeScript detects scenarios in which a JWT payload is not verified with a cryptographic secret or public key
  • CWE-918 – Server-Side Request Forgery: SSRF detection queries for Python have been improved, and now differentiate between partially and fully (py/full-ssrf) user-controlled URLs

Behind the scenes, we’re also working on support for mobile application security, with additional support for Kotlin and Swift on our roadmap. In the meantime, we’ve also added more coverage for mobile security issues for our existing Java support:

See more

We’ve improved the depth of CodeQL's Python analysis by adding support for more libraries and frameworks, including:

  • FastAPI
  • aiomysql
  • aiopg
  • asyncpg
  • Django REST framework
  • The os.path module
  • Flask-Admin
  • toml
  • ruamel.yaml
  • SQLAlchemy

As a result, CodeQL can now detect even more potential sources of untrusted user data, steps through which that data flows, and potentially dangerous sinks in which this data could end up. This results in an overall improvement of the quality of the code scanning alerts.

We carefully choose and prioritize the libraries and frameworks supported by CodeQL based on their popularity and through user feedback. These improvements are now available to users of CodeQL code scanning on GitHub.com, and will also be available in the next release of GitHub Enterprise Server (3.4).

See more

The latest release of the CodeQL CLI supports including markdown-rendered query help in SARIF files so that the help text can be viewed in the code scanning UI. This functionality is now available for code scanning on GitHub.com and will be available in GitHub Enterprise Server 3.4.

The CodeQL query help text is displayed in the code scanning UI whenever the query generates an alert. The query help explains the problem in more detail, and shows examples of vulnerable and fixed code. Until now, code scanning only displayed the query help for alerts generated by the default CodeQL queries. With the release of CodeQL CLI 2.7.1, the query help for your own custom queries will be uploaded to GitHub and displayed in code scanning.

Example of custom CodeQL query help

Writing query help for custom CodeQL queries

When you write your own queries, we recommend that you write a query help file so that other users can properly understand the impact an alert has on the security of their code. For custom query help in your repository there are no restrictions on the content, but we recommend that you follow the Query help style guide to make the help text as useful as possible.

You should write query help for custom queries in your repository in a markdown file alongside the corresponding query. CodeQL code scanning looks for query help files written in markdown that share the same name as the corresponding query file. For example, if your query file is MyCustomQuery.ql, the query help file should be named MyCustomQuery.md.

For users of 3rd party CI/CD systems

When using CodeQL with GitHub Actions, the query help will automatically be imported from markdown files that are stored alongside the corresponding custom queries. The query help is inserted into SARIF files generated during the analysis step and made available in the code scanning UI.

If you use a different CI/CD system, you have to add the --sarif-add-query-help flag to the codeql database analyze command to include the query help in your SARIF results files. For more information, see Analyzing databases with the CodeQL CLI.

See more

It's now easier to debug problems with CodeQL code scanning: an optional flag in the Actions workflow file will trigger diagnostic data to be uploaded as an artifact to your Actions run. To do this, you can modify the init step of your Actions workflow:

- name: Initialize CodeQL
  uses: github/codeql-action/init@v1
  with:
    debug: true

The data will be uploaded as an Actions artifact named debug-artifacts, attached to the workflow run. Such artifacts contain CodeQL logs, CodeQL databases, and the SARIF files that were produced.

These artifacts will help you when you're debugging problems with CodeQL code scanning. When contacting GitHub support, they might ask for this data too.

Learn more about Troubleshooting the CodeQL workflow.

See more

We’ve improved the depth of CodeQL's analysis by adding support for more libraries and frameworks and increasing the coverage of our existing library and framework models. JavaScript analysis now supports most common templating languages, and Java now covers more than three times the endpoints of previous CodeQL versions. As a result, CodeQL can now detect even more potential sources of untrusted user data, steps through which that data flows, and potentially dangerous sinks in which this data could end up. This results in an overall improvement of the quality of the code scanning alerts.

We carefully choose and prioritize the libraries and frameworks supported by CodeQL based on their popularity and through user feedback. These improvements are now available to users of CodeQL code scanning on GitHub.com, and will also be available in the next release of GitHub Enterprise Server (3.3).

Java

We've improved coverage for the following libraries:

JavaScript

We've added support for the following templating languages:

Learn more about CodeQL and code scanning.

See more

Developers and security researchers using the CodeQL CLI and VS Code extension can now build databases and analyze code on machines powered by Apple Silicon (e.g. Apple M1).

In order to use the CodeQL CLI and/or the VS Code extension on Apple Silicon, please make sure to install the Xcode command-line developer tools and Rosetta 2.

For detailed instructions on how to set up the CLI on supported platforms, please refer to the CodeQL CLI guide.

Learn more about CodeQL and code scanning.

See more

Ruby is the 10th most popular language within the open source community. To help more open source maintainers and organizations find potential vulnerabilities in their code, we’ve added Ruby support (beta) to the CodeQL engine that powers GitHub code scanning.

Our CodeQL analysis identifies security issues in your code, along with the flow of data to the vulnerable location. To help secure services and tools created with Ruby, the CodeQL beta release spots many of the most common security issues:

We’ve been putting this beta through its paces by analyzing some of the world's largest Ruby codebases at GitHub and select customers. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and in many cases CodeQL identified real vulnerabilities, all while keeping the number of false-positives at a minimum.

CodeQL for Ruby is available by default in GitHub.com code scanning, the CodeQL CLI, and the CodeQL extension for VS Code starting today. It will also be included in GitHub Enterprise Server 3.4. Ruby joins the list of supported CodeQL languages, which also includes C/C++, C#, Java, JavaScript/TypeScript, Python, and Go.

We currently support all common Ruby versions, up to and including 3.02. Check out the documentation for more details on compatibility.

To start using the new Ruby analysis, simply update your existing workflow file by adding Ruby to the language matrix:

jobs:
  analyze:
    name: Analyze
    ...
    strategy:
      fail-fast: false
      matrix:
        # add here
        language: ['ruby']

If you’re new to code scanning, set up a CodeQL analysis workflow from the Security tab in your repository.

Want to contribute or write your own CodeQL queries for Ruby? This guide will help you get started.

To give us feedback, join the Ruby beta discussion in the public CodeQL repository, which is also a good place to ask questions about anything CodeQL.

See more

We've added support for Java 16 standard language features (such as records and pattern matching) to CodeQL. Code using those features can now benefit from CodeQL's security analysis as part of code scanning.

We also continue to support older Java versions. CodeQL is able to analyze code written in Java version 7 through 16.

Learn more about CodeQL and code scanning.

See more

GitHub code scanning with CodeQL works seamlessly with GitHub Actions. For users of other CI/CD systems, we provided a way to run the code analysis using the CodeQL runner. The CodeQL runner acts as the glue between your CI/CD system and the CodeQL analysis engine (CLI).

In response to customer feedback, we have now transferred all CodeQL runner functionality natively into the CodeQL CLI. This means that there are fewer components to install, use, and update if you're running CodeQL code scanning on a 3rd party CI/CD system.

As of CodeQL CLI 2.6.2 (released today), there is now full feature parity between the CodeQL CLI and the runner. We are therefore announcing the deprecation of the CodeQL runner. This affects users of 3rd party CI/CD systems; users of CodeQL code scanning on GitHub Actions are not affected.

Deprecation timeline: GitHub Enterprise Server (GHES)

The CodeQL runner will continue to be part of the GitHub Enterprise Server releases up to and including the 3.3.x series. It will no longer be part of GitHub Enterprise Server starting the 3.4.0 (scheduled for 2022). The CodeQL CLI is a feature-complete replacement for the CodeQL runner, and is fully compatible with GitHub Enterprise Server.

Deprecation timeline: GitHub.com (including GitHub Enterprise Cloud)

The CodeQL bundle will continue to contain the CodeQL runner until March 2022. In the run-up to the final release we will start displaying clear deprecation warnings. After March 2022, code scanning API change on GitHub.com will likely not be compatible with older CodeQL runner releases. The CodeQL CLI is a feature-complete replacement for the CodeQL runner, and is fully compatible with GitHub.com.

How does this affect me?

If you’re using CodeQL code scanning on GitHub Actions, you are not affected by this change.

If you’ve configured code scanning to run the CodeQL runner inside another CI/CD system, we recommend migrating to the CodeQL CLI as soon as possible. Version 2.6.2 of the CodeQL CLI has full feature parity with the CodeQL runner and allows you to analyze codebases on 3rd party CI/CD systems in the same way as the CodeQL runner.

New users of CodeQL code scanning should use CodeQL CLI version >= 2.6.2.

What actions should I take?

You should configure your CI/CD system to use the CodeQL CLI before March 2022 and/or before upgrading to GHES 3.4.0. When setting up the CodeQL CLI, we recommend that you test the CodeQL CLI set up to verify that the CLI is correctly configured to create and analyze databases.

Learn more about how to migrate from the CodeQL runner to CodeQL CLI 2.6.2 here.

See more

The CodeQL package manager is now available in public beta on GitHub.com. CodeQL packages can contain CodeQL queries and CodeQL libraries — and of course you can express dependencies between packs. You can upload your packs to the package registry on GitHub.com, and CodeQL will automatically fetch any required dependencies when running queries from a pack. This makes it simple to create and share CodeQL queries and libraries!

CodeQL packs of course also integrate with GitHub code scanning (example below). Alternatively, you can use packs using the CodeQL CLI (version 2.6.0-beta.1 and up) on your local machine. More documentation about CodeQL packs can be found here.

Integrating CodeQL packs into GitHub code scanning workflows

You can integrate CodeQL packs into GitHub code scanning workflows by specifying that you want to run the CodeQL 2.6.0 beta version, and then specify the pack(s) you'd like to run. For example:

 - uses: github/codeql-action/init@v1
   with:
     tools: https://github.com/github/codeql-action/releases/tag/codeql-bundle-v2.6.0-beta.1
     packs: codeql/csharp-queries1@~1.2.3, octo-org/csharp-security

Alternatively, you can select CodeQL packs by specifying a list of package references in the packs section of your CodeQL configuration file. For example:

     - queries/DeadCodeCondition.ql
     - queries/GlobalUseBeforeInit.qls
   packs:
     - codeql/csharp-queries@~1.2.3  # latest version compatible with 1.2.3
     - octo-org/csharp-security      # latest version 

For more information, see Configuring code scanning.

Standard CodeQL packs

All of our own CodeQL queries and libraries are now also released as CodeQL packs at github.com/codeql.

For each language there is a query pack containing all CodeQL queries for that language (from our open source repository). These packs are named codeql/<language>-queries. For example, the CodeQL pack containing the standard C/C++ queries is called codeql/cpp-queries.

We've also released packs with all CodeQL standard libraries for each language. These packs are named codeql/<language>-all (e.g. codeql/cpp-all). If you're writing your own query pack, you'll likely want to express a dependency on the CodeQL standard libraries for that language.

CodeQL pack visibility

You can choose the permission levels required for users to view and access your CodeQL packs. Currently, all CodeQL packs default to Internal and should manually be set to Public. If you want to make your CodeQL pack visible to everyone, go to the settings section of the package and Change package visibility to Public.

Downloading CodeQL packs

All CodeQL packs can be downloaded and installed using the CodeQL CLI. You do not need to use the docker pull command shown on the package page. For more information, see Publishing and using CodeQL packs.

For more information, see About CodeQL packs.

See more

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.

security-severity

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.

security-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 GitHub.com. These improvements will also be available in GitHub Enterprise Server 3.2.

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

See more

We’ve improved the depth of CodeQL's analysis by adding support for more libraries and frameworks and increasing the coverage of our existing library and framework models for several languages (C++, JavaScript, Python, and Java). As a result, CodeQL can now detect even more potential sources of untrusted user data, steps through which that data flows, and potentially dangerous sinks in which this data could end up. This results in an overall improvement of the quality of the code scanning alerts.

We carefully choose and prioritize the libraries and frameworks supported by CodeQL based on their popularity and through user feedback. The libraries and frameworks added and improved are listed below.

C/C++

JavaScript and TypeScript

Python

Java

Learn more about CodeQL and code scanning.

See more

Code scanning with CodeQL now generates diagnostic information for all supported languages.

Before analyzing your code, CodeQL first creates a CodeQL database containing all of the important information about your codebase. This database is then analyzed by executing CodeQL queries against it.

The new diagnostic information includes important information to help learn more about the CodeQL analysis.

Diagnostic information includes:

  • Lines of code in your codebase (as a baseline)
  • Lines of code in the CodeQL database extracted from your code
  • Lines of code in the CodeQL database excluding auto-generated files and external libraries
  • Number of files successfully analyzed
  • Number of files that generate extractor errors and warnings during database creation

You can see the detailed diagnostic information in GitHub CodeQL Actions Logs.

CodeQL Action Log

You also can view Lines of code in your codebase and Lines of code in the CodeQL database by going to the Security tab and selecting Code scanning alerts.

Code scanning CodeQL security tab

Diagnostic information queries are available in CodeQL CLI 2.5.6 and later. The CodeQL bundle includes both the CodeQL CLI and a compatible set of queries.

See more

The latest release of the CodeQL CLI supports creating CodeQL databases for multiple languages in a single command. This makes it easier for customers using CI/CD systems other than GitHub Actions to run code scanning analysis. Previously, these users had to use the separate CodeQL Runner. The Runner will continue to be available, but the recommended way to handle multiple languages in your codebase is to use the CodeQL CLI directly.

To use this new option:

  • Download the updated CodeQL bundle, which includes the updated CodeQL CLI.
  • Check out your codebase at the Git reference you want to analyze.
  • Create CodeQL databases for the supported languages in your codebase using codeql database create. You need to specify a parent directory for the databases using the --db-cluster option, and the -l option for each language you want to create a database for.

After creating the databases, you must run codeql database analyze separately for each language. Use the --sarif-category option, setting different values for each language. Specifying this option lets code scanning know that each SARIF file it receives from these analyses should be retained. Similarly, you must also run codeql github upload-results separately for the SARIF file generated by each analysis.

For more information about setting up the CodeQL CLI with your CI system, see "Running CodeQL CLI in your CI system."

The new codeql database create option for creating databases for multiple languages in a single command is available in CodeQL 2.5.6 and later. The CodeQL bundle includes both the CodeQL CLI and a compatible set of queries.

See more

The latest release of the CodeQL CLI supports uploading analysis results to GitHub. This makes it easier to run code analysis for customers who wish to use CI/CD systems other than GitHub Actions. Previously, such users had to use the separate CodeQL Runner, which will continue to be available.

To get started, first download the updated CodeQL bundle, which includes the updated CodeQL CLI, and check out your codebase at the Git reference you want to analyze. After analyzing your codebase with codeql database create ... and codeql database analyze ..., you can use the new codeql github upload-results command to upload the SARIF file with scanning results back to GitHub Code Scanning.

codeql github upload-results currently works for one language at a time and can replace the current workflow of codeql-runner init / build / codeql-runner analyze when a single language is being analyzed.

If you want to analyze more than one language at a time or integrate CodeQL as a separate step into your existing CI workflow, you may use CodeQL runner.

The new codeql github upload-results command is available starting version 2.4.5 of the CodeQL CLI. The CodeQL bundle includes both the CodeQL CLI and a compatible set of queries.

See more