Cloud Security

Best Secret Scanning Tools in 2024

Explore the top-rated Secret Scanning Tools that should be on your radar to protect your assets effectively in 2023.

Ankit P.

Written by Ankit P.

July 3, 2023 | 9 min read

Given the escalating threats encountered by web assets in the cyber world, the significance of Secret Scanning Tools cannot be overstated. Explore the top-rated Secret Scanning Tools that should be on your radar to protect your assets effectively in 2024.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Secret Scanning?
  2. Importance of Secret Scanning
  3. What are Secret Scanning Tools?
  4. Top 10 Secret Scanning Tools in 2024
    1. PingSafe
    2. Spectral Secret Scanning
    3. AWS Secret Scanner
    4. GitHub Secret Scanning
    5. GitGuardian
    6. Gitleaks
    7. Git-Secrets
    8. Whispers
    9. HawkScan
    10. TruffleHog
  5. How to Choose the Best Secret Scanning Tool?
  6. Conclusion

What is Secret Scanning?

Secret scanning refers to the process of automatically detecting and identifying sensitive information, such as access tokens, API keys, and other confidential data, within code repositories and other data sources. It is a security practice that helps identify potential vulnerabilities and risks associated with unintentional exposure of secrets. 

Secret scanning tools and services are designed to scan and analyze code repositories, commit histories, and other sources to identify and alert on the presence of sensitive information. This process helps organizations proactively protect their sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access or misuse.

Importance of Secret Scanning

Secret scanning plays a crucial role in ensuring the security of sensitive information and preventing potential breaches. Some key reasons highlighting the importance of secret scanning:

  • Protecting sensitive data: Secret scanning helps identify and secure sensitive information such as access tokens, API keys, and credentials. By detecting and mitigating potential vulnerabilities, organizations can prevent unauthorized access and protect their data from being compromised.
  • Mitigating security risks: Secrets and credentials that are inadvertently exposed or leaked can pose significant security risks. Secret scanning plays a crucial role in early risk identification, enabling organizations to swiftly respond and mitigate potential threats before they can be exploited by malicious individuals.
  • Compliance requirements: Many industries and regulatory frameworks have specific requirements for safeguarding sensitive data. Secret scanning assists in meeting compliance standards by proactively identifying and addressing vulnerabilities in code repositories and other data sources.
  • Safeguarding infrastructure: When secrets are compromised, they can grant unauthorized access to vital systems and infrastructure. Regularly performing secret scanning enables organizations to detect vulnerabilities and maintain a secure and protected environment for their infrastructure. By proactively identifying and addressing potential security risks, organizations can safeguard their sensitive information and mitigate the potential impact of unauthorized access.
  • Maintaining customer trust: Protecting sensitive information is crucial for maintaining customer trust. By actively scanning for secrets and taking necessary measures to secure them, organizations demonstrate their commitment to data privacy and security, enhancing customer confidence in their services.

What are Secret Scanning Tools?

Secret Scanning Tools are software tools or services designed to search for and identify sensitive information, known as secrets, within code repositories, configuration files, and other digital assets. These tools aim to prevent accidental exposure or unauthorized access to credentials, API keys, tokens, and other confidential information that could be exploited by attackers.

Top 10 Secret Scanning Tools in 2024

Here are the top 10 secret scanning tools:

PingSafe

PingSafe is a cutting-edge cloud security platform that aims to support organizations in efficiently managing regulatory compliance, detecting system vulnerabilities, preventing cloud credential leakage, and addressing other security challenges.

The Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) is a robust and comprehensive solution that integrates all the necessary elements for safeguarding and fortifying multi-cloud environments and infrastructure. By incorporating essential components, the CNAPP ensures comprehensive protection and security measures to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities across various cloud platforms. By leveraging the capabilities of PingSafe, businesses can guarantee the robust security of their cloud-based systems while adhering to industry regulations and compliance requirements.

Secret Scanning Tools - PingSafe Logo | PingSafe

Features:

  • Cloud security posture Management: You can detect and remediate cloud misconfigurations before deployment.
  • Built-in rules: PingSafe conducts automated evaluations of more than 1,400 configuration rules, ensuring the detection of cloud misconfigurations in diverse runtime environments like GCP, Azure, AWS, and Digital Ocean. This feature allows users to have a centralized perspective of their cloud infrastructure, simplifying the management and monitoring of security configurations for enhanced convenience and control.
  • Cloud Workload Protection Platforms: Adopt 360° security for cloud VMs, containers and serverless functions.
  • Secret Scanning: Real time scanning to detect 800+ secret types in Bitbucket, Github and Gitlab.

Pros

  • The implementation process is straightforward, and the user interface is highly intuitive.
  • It provides seamless integration with Jira, Slack, PagerDuty, and other platforms.
  • Users can create custom security policies and ensure compliance with popular standards like SOC2, ISO, HIPAA, CIS, and PCI/DSS.
  • The platform is supported by renowned security researchers and leading venture capitalists worldwide.
  • It offers multi-tenancy support, role-based access control, and history tracking for enhanced security and accountability.

Cons

  • No cons as of the moment.

PingSafe’s Starter plan commences at 2000 USD per month.

Secret Scanning Tools

Spectral Secret Scanning

Tools for secret management are great for keeping everything in one location. Development teams can access a centralized view of the secrets that are currently being used, thanks to them. However, using only covert management techniques is not advisable. A safe SDLC must include secret scanning to prevent leaks that secret management tools cannot identify.

The Spectral Secrets Scanner is a scanning tool for secrets that notifies you of any secrets or vulnerabilities in your infrastructure and software. It enables you to keep an eye on, categorize, and safeguard your infrastructure, assets, and code against exposed API keys, tokens, credentials, and high-risk security flaws.

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Key Features:

  • Locates secrets (such API keys and credentials) in infrastructure-as-code files and code repositories.
  • Policies that can be customized: Users can create their own rules and policies for secret detection.

Pros:

  • Improved Security
  • automated secret scanning for the creation process.
  • Adapts scanning to particular security needs.

Cons:

  • May produce false positives that need to be reviewed manually.
  • There may be some initial setup and rule generation required.

AWS Secret Scanner

AWS is aware of how important it is to maintain the safety and control of secrets. You can easily rotate, manage, and retrieve database credentials, API keys, and passwords with AWS Secrets Manager. Utilizing AWS Secrets Manager is considerably simpler to incorporate into your workflow if your software development procedures and applications are already a part of the AWS ecosystem of services.

Secrets encryption, Secrets Manager APIs, and client-side caching libraries are all features of AWS Secrets Manager. When an Amazon VPC is set up with endpoints, the traffic is also kept inside the AWS network.

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Key Features:

  • Automated Scanning
  • Users can create unique rules to tailor scans to certain requirements.

Pros:

  • Improved Security: Aids in preventing unintentional disclosure of sensitive data.
  • Automation
  • allows for fine-tuning to meet certain security needs.

Cons:

  • Getting familiar with AWS services may be necessary for initial setup and rule tweaking.
  • False Positives

GitHub Secret Scanning

For the code you create on GitHub, GitHub Secret Scanning functions as an automatic security guard. It scans your code for sensitive data like keys or passwords. It operates in real-time and notifies you if it locates something, which is quite useful. However, it is limited to GitHub projects and might miss some secrets.

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Key Features:

  • Real-time scanning for exposed secrets 
  • Customizable alerts 
  • Seamless integration with GitHub repositories.

Pros:

  • Native integration with GitHub, continuous monitoring, and user-friendly alerts.

Cons:

  • Limited to GitHub-hosted repositories, may not detect custom secrets, and lacks cross-platform support.

GitGuardian

A program called GitGuardian scans your code for hidden information, notably in Git projects, like having a personal investigator to look into your secrets. It may be tailored to your needs and is extremely detailed. It’s not free, though, and occasionally it might assume something is a secret that isn’t.

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Key Features:

  • Comprehensive secret detection
  • Customizable policies
  • Integrations with popular development platforms

Pros:

  • Extensive coverage, adaptable rule sets, and support for various integrations.

Cons:

  • Paid service with limited free tier, may require initial configuration, and potential false positives.

Gitleaks

Your Git code’s equivalent of a secret-spotting robot is Gitleaks. By establishing rules, you can educate it on how to locate secrets. Even offline use is possible, which is useful. However, configuring it can be a little challenging, and occasionally it may make mistakes and believe something to be a secret when it is not.

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Key Features:

  • Customizable rules
  • Offline scanning
  • Cross-platform support

Pros:

  • High flexibility
  • Offline operation
  • Multi-platform compatibility

Cons:

  • Manual setup is required
  • There is potential for false positives

Git-Secrets

Git-secret is a tool for managing API secrets, however, it’s not limited to just managing API keys. You can encrypt/decrypt any files as you push to/pull from source control with this git extension.

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Key Features:

  • Simple setup process
  • Community-driven development

Pros:

  • Ease of use, open-source nature, and community contributions.

Cons:

  • Limited secret database, may not cover all cases, and lacks advanced features.

Whispers

Whispers is an open-source static code analysis tool made to look for risky routines and hardcoded credentials. 

It can be incorporated into your CI/CD pipeline or used as a command-line tool. YAML, JSON, XML, npmrc, .pypirc, .htpasswd, .properties, pip.conf, conf / ini, Dockerfile, Shell scripts, Python3 (as AST), as well as declaration and assignment formats for Javascript, Java, GO, and PHP, are all parseable by the tool.

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Key Features:

  • Lightweight, open-source, and community-contributed.

Pros:

  • Simplicity, open-source nature, and community-driven improvements.

Cons:

  • Limited pattern coverage, manual setup, and potential for false positives.

HawkScan

HawkScan is a security scanning tool designed specifically for containerized systems. One of its capabilities is secret scanning. The security of container images is the main focus, and vulnerabilities and exposed secrets are checked. 

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Key Features:

  • Container image scanning
  • CI/CD integration
  • Secret detection

Pros:

  • Holistic container security, 
  • Integration with pipelines
  • Secret scanning

Cons:

  • Specialized for containers, 
  • It may require additional configuration
  • It is not suitable for non-containerized applications.

TruffleHog 

An open-source program called TruffleHog searches your surroundings for hidden information such as SSH private keys, API keys, database passwords, authentication/access tokens, cloud credentials, and more. Every time modifications are made, it may continuously run scans in the background and alert you when secrets are discovered. With 600+ secret type detectors and automatic API validation, TruffleHog v3 is a total rebuild in Go that makes the tool faster and more effective.

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Key Features:

  • Simplicity, 
  • Open-source nature 
  • Customizable

Pros:

  • Ease of use, 
  • Open-source codebase
  • Adaptability

Cons:

  • Limited pattern-matching capabilities 
  • potential false positives
  • No centralized management

How to Choose the Best Secret Scanning Tool?

  • Cost: Consider the affordability of the shortlisted secret scanning tools for your organization’s online security requirements. Look for companies that offer flexible pricing options tailored to your needs or provide budget-friendly packages suitable for your company size.
  • Features: Evaluate the features offered by the secret scanning tools under consideration to determine the most suitable choice. Key features to look for include:
    • Accurate Vulnerability Detection: The secret scanning tools should effectively test and assess various types of assets, including web or mobile apps, APIs, networks, and cloud infrastructure, for a wide range of vulnerabilities.
    • Continuous Scanning: Ensure the secret scanning tools offer continuous monitoring and scanning capabilities to identify any hidden or newly emerging vulnerabilities.
    • Vulnerability Management: Verify that the secret scanning tools offer a comprehensive vulnerability management function that covers both the detection and remediation of flaws.
    • Scalability: Choose secret scanning tools that can scale effectively to accommodate the scanning needs of your assets.
  • Compliance: Consider the compliance requirements catered to by the secret scanning tools in question. Do they provide compliance-specific scans and customized compliance reports based on the regulations you need to test for? Important compliance standards to consider include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, GDPR, and ISO 27001.

Conclusion

In this article, we have provided a comprehensive review of the top 10 Secret Scanning Tools. We have discussed their features, pros, and cons. Additionally, we have outlined important factors to consider when selecting Secret Scanning Tools. By following these steps and considering the information provided, you can make an informed decision to choose the most suitable secret scanning tools for your specific needs.