In 2023, GITHUB users unintentionally released about 12.8 million accounting data and other confidential secrets in more than 3 million public repositories.

IB specialists from Gitguardian, exploring this problem, sent 1.8 million warning letters to the owners of accounts, but less than 2% of them quickly eliminated the leak.

Among the released secrets there were passwords of accounts, API-key aids, TLS/SSL certificates, encryption keys, Clouding Service Considerations, Oauth Tokens and other data that make possible unauthorized access to resources and services, which entails a threat of data leakage and financial losses.

SOPHOS report for 2023 indicates, that compromised accounting data caused 50% of all attacks in the first half of the year, significantly ahead of the operation of vulnerabilities that have been responsible for 23% of cases.

Gitguardian emphasizes that the problem of leakage of secrets on GitHub, the most popular platform for hosting code and collaboration, has worsened since 2020.

millions of secrets revealed to GitHub every year

The most leaks in 2023 were recorded in India, USA, Brazil, China, France, Canada, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea and Germany.

In the industry context, the most secrets flowed from an IT sector (65.9%), it follows education (20.1%), and all other sectors combined (science, retail, production, finances, state Management, healthcare, entertainment, transport) accounts for about 14% of leaks.

Among specific leaks, the Google API and Google Cloud keys, Mongodb accounting data, Telegram tokens, MySQL and PostgreSQL accounts, as well as GITHUB OAUTH.


It is noted that only 2.6% of the leaked secrets were recalled in the first hour after the leak, while stunning 91.6% remained active even after five days. Companies such as Riot Games, GitHub, Openai and AWS demonstrated the best response mechanisms to leaks.

In 2023, the explosive growth of the use of generative and tools was observed, which also affected the number of leaks of the corresponding secrets. So, Gitguardian recorded the average growth of the number of leaked keys to the API Openai by 1212 times compared to 2022.

In the last month, GitHub activated protection against random publications by default to prevent such incidents in the future.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.