Securing Your Machine Identities Means Better Secrets Management

In 2024, GitGuardian released the State of Secrets Sprawl report. The findings speak for themselves; with over 12.7 million secrets detected in GitHub public repos, it is clear that hard-coded plaintext credentials are a serious problem. Worse yet, it is a growing problem, year over year, with 10 million found the previous year and 6 million found the year before that. These are not cumulative findings!

When we dig a little deeper into these numbers, one overwhelming fact springs out: specific secrets detected, the vast majority of which are API keys, outnumber generic secrets detected in our findings by a significant margin. This makes sense when you realize that API keys are used to authenticate specific services, devices, and workloads within our applications and pipelines to enable machine-to-machine communication. This is very much in line with research from CyberArk, machine identities outnumber human identities by a factor of 45 to one. This gap is only going to widen continually as we integrate more and more services in our codebases and with ever-increasing velocity.

This article has been indexed from DZone Security Zone

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