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Secrets are meant to be hidden or, at the very least, only known to a specific and limited set of individuals (or systems). Otherwise, they aren’t really secrets. In personal life, a secret revealed can damage relationships, lead to social stigma, or, at the very least, be embarrassing. In a developer’s or application security engineer’s professional life, the consequences of exposing secrets can lead to breaches of security, data leaks, and, well, also be embarrassing. And while there are tools available for detecting source code and code repositories, there are few options for identifying secrets in plain text, documents, emails, chat logs, content management systems, and more.

What Are Secrets?#

In the context of applications, secrets are sensitive information such as passwords, API keys, cryptographic keys, and other confidential data that an application needs to function but should not be exposed to unauthorized users. Secrets are typically stored securely and accessed programmatically by the application when needed.

The use of secrets is an essential aspect of securing applications. Unauthorized access to these sensitive pieces of information can lead to security breaches and other malicious activities. To protect secrets, developers, system administrators, and security engineers use a variety of security techniques such as encryption, secure storage, and access control mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access them. Additionally, they implement best practices such as regularly rotating passwords and keys and limiting the scope of access to secrets to only what is necessary for the application to function.

images from Hacker News