How Lemontech Protects its Secrets with GitGuardian

How Lemontech Protects its Secrets with GitGuardian

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of exchanging with Ezequiel Rabinovich, Lemontech's CTO, about how his teams use GitGuardian to protect their repositories. Lemontech is a company developing software for the legal industry based in Santiago, Chile. It serves more than 1,300 customers in Latin America.

Ezequiel supervises a team of about 30 developers and 4 DevOps engineers for approximately 150 employees. They use GitHub for source control management, and their organization has 350 repos, 130 of which are active.

The Story

As it's the case for the vast majority of the 2.5K developers joining GitGuardian every week, it all started with an accident:

"A few years ago, a Lemontech employee accidentally published his AWS API Key on GitHub. Although it was an isolated account used for interviewing candidates, without any connection to our software, a bot immediately spawned a crypto-mining fleet with the key. This event made us realize how probable secrets leaks are, and that we needed a solution to prevent them right away."

Looking for a solution to prevent hard-coded secrets, Lemontech's engineers quickly decided to give GitGuardian a try, thanks to its one-click integration with leading developer platforms like GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, or Azure Repos.

Fast forward to today, they have scaled up their security processes and use GitGuardian to implement an AppSec shared responsibility model:

“We have security engineers overseeing policies and processes, but security is a shared responsibility and everyone involved is held accountable.

“Recently, security became more integrated into our workflows; this has been a major change, and last year we became ISO27001 certified, a milestone achievement.”

GitGuardian is also part of the training program:

“GitGuardian has been a really good training tool. We have a training program for new entry-level developers to help them learn the ropes in a controlled environment: if they happen to leak a secret, they are guided through the platform to rotate the credentials.

Ezequiel then detailed how Lemontech integrates secrets scanning in their software development workflow.

What is Lemontech's Strategy to Bake Security In?

Lemontech implements secrets scanning at the pull request (PR) level. GitGuardian native integration keeps engineers focused and doesn't require them to leave the GitHub interface to manage incidents. Here is an example of a PR that failed to pass a security check:

How Lemontech Protects its Secrets with GitGuardian

Ensuring that no secrets fall into the cracks of code reviews is an essential prevention measure to stop secrets sprawl and ensure revoking and rotating affected credentials is easier for Ops and Security teams.

Secrets scanning can also shift left toward the developer for even greater security:

“We encourage developers to install pre-commit hooks on their workstations, and some use them.”

For customer-facing applications, Ezequiel emphasizes that making sure the history is cleaned of any hard-coded secrets is mandatory:

We use historical analysis for customer-facing apps. For the ISO27001 certification, it was useful to rapidly know the status of a repository. Overall, it allows us to focus on what could be a risk.

When a leak is detected, a Slack notification is sent:

“At the beginning, we had about one alert every two weeks. We were not paying so much attention, and the time to take action was long. Now we’re much more responsive because we know that if we see a notification, there’s really something going on. The good news is that now it’s more likely to be months without any notification!”

What ROI Have You Seen?

When asked about ROI, here is what Ezequiel told us:

There is so little time involved to get GitGuardian going, it's a no-brainer: I've definitely seen ROI from the product. For me the best part of it is that we know that if something happened, we would know it. Peace of mind is amazing!

Then he explained that GitGuardian helps build a blameless and effective security culture in the company:

It brings a true security culture. It helps everyone be aware of potential security problems. Most of my teammates have accidentally committed something they shouldn’t at some point—it happens to everyone. I think it really helps make the team better.”

Regarding the security posture, "the trend is obvious" for him: hard-coded secrets in commits have been drastically reduced.

Although Lemontech repositories are private and leaks would be contained, he knows that some high-privilege secrets already happened: "it's good to know GitGuardian has your back; it is an essential last line of defense."

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from GitGuardian Blog - Automated Secrets Detection authored by Thomas Segura. Read the original post at:

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Thomas Segura

What You Need to Scale AppSec Thomas Segura - Content Writer @ GitGuardian Author Bio Thomas has worked both as an analyst and as a software engineer consultant for various big French companies. His passion for tech and open source led him to join GitGuardian as technical content writer. He focuses now on clarifying the transformative changes that cybersecurity and software are going through. Website: Twitter handle: Linkedin: Introduction Security is a dilemma for many leaders. On the one hand, it is largely recognized as an essential feature. On the other hand, it does not drive business. Of course, as we mature, security can become a business enabler. But the roadmap is unclear. With the rise of agile practices, DevOps and the cloud, development timeframes have been considerably compressed, but application security remains essentially the same. DevSecOps emerged as an answer to this dilemma. Its promise consists literally in inserting security principles, practices, and tools into the DevOps activity stream, reducing risk without compromising deliverability. Therefore there is a question that many are asking: why isn't DevSecOps already the norm? As we analyzed in our latest report DevSecOps: Protecting the Modern Software Factory, the answer can be summarized as follows: only by enabling new capacities across Dev, Sec and Ops teams can the culture be changed. This post will help provide a high-level overview of the prerequisite steps needed to scale up application security across departments and enable such capabilities. From requirements to expectations Scaling application security is a company-wide project that requires thorough thinking before an y decision is made. A first-hand requirement is to talk to product and engineering teams to understand the current global AppSec maturity. The objective at this point is to be sure to have a comprehensive understanding of how your products are made (the processes, tools, components, and stacks involved). Mapping development tools and practices will require time to have the best visibility possible. They should include product development practices and the perceived risk awareness/appetite from managers. One of your objectives would be to nudge them so they take into account security in every decision they make for their products, and maybe end up thinking like adversaries. You should be able to derive security requirements from the different perceptual risks you are going to encounter. Your job is to consolidate these into a common set for all applications, setting goals to align the different teams collaborating to build your product(s). Communicating transparently with all relevant stakeholders (CISO, technical security, product owner, and development leads) about goals and expectations is essential to create a common ground for improvement. It will be absolutely necessary to ensure alignment throughout the implementation too. Open and accessible guardrails Guardrails are the cornerstone of security requirements. Their nature and implementation are completely up to the needs of your organization and can be potentially very different from one company to the other (if starting from scratch, look no further than the OWASP Top10). What is most important, however, is that these guardrails are open to the ones that need them. A good example of this would be to centralize a common, security-approved library of open-source components that can be pulled from by any team. Keep users' accessibility and useability as a priority. Designing an AppSec program at scale requires asking “how can we build confidence and visibility with trusted tools in our ecosystem?”. For instance, control gates should never be implemented without considering a break-glass option (“what happens if the control is blocking in an emergency situation?”). State-of-the-art security is to have off-the-shelf secure solutions chosen by the developers, approved by security, and maintained by ops. This will be a big leap forward in preventing vulnerabilities from creeping into source code. It will bring security to the masses at a very low cost (low friction). But to truly scale application security, it would be silly not to use the software engineer's best ally: the continuous integration pipeline. Embed controls in the CI/CD AppSec testing across all development pipelines is the implementation step. If your organization has multiple development teams, it is very likely that different CI/CD pipelines configurations exist in parallel. They may use different tools, or simply define different steps in the build process. This is not a problem per se, but to scale application security, centralization and harmonization are needed. As illustrated in the following example CI/CD pipeline, you can have a lot of security control steps: secrets detection, SAST, artifact signing, access controls, but also container or Infrastructure as Code scanning (not shown in the example) (taken from the DevSecOps whitepaper) The idea is that you can progressively activate more and more control steps, fine-tune the existing ones and scale both horizontally and vertically your “AppSec infrastructure”, at one condition: you need to centralize metrics and controls in a stand-alone platform able to handle the load corresponding to your organization’s size. Security processes can only be automated when you have metrics and proper visibility across your development targets, otherwise, it is just more burden on the AppSec team's shoulders. In turn, metrics and visibility help drive change and provide the spark to ignite a cultural change within your organization. Security ownership shifts to every engineer involved in the delivery process, and each one is able to leverage its own deep (yet partial) knowledge of the system to support the effort. This unlocks a world of possibilities: most security flaws can be treated like regular tickets, rule sets can be optimized for each pipeline based on criticality, capabilities or regulatory compliance, and progress can be tracked (saved time, avoided vulnerabilities etc.). In simpler terms, security can finally move at the DevOps speed. Conclusion Security can’t scale if it’s siloed, and slowing down the development process is no longer an option in a world led by DevOps innovation. The design and implementation of security controls are bound to evolve. In this article, we’ve depicted a high-level overview of the steps to be considered to scale AppSec. This starts with establishing a set of security requirements that involve all the departments, in particular product-related ones. From there it becomes possible to design guardrails to make security truly accessible with a mix of hard and soft gates. By carefully selecting automated detection and remediation that provide visibility and control, you will be laying a solid foundation for a real model of shared responsibility for security. Finally, embedding checks in the CI/CD system can be rolled out in multiple phases to progressively scale your security operations. With automated feedback in place, you can start incrementally adjusting your policies. A centralized platform creates a common interface to facilitate the exchange between application security and developer teams while enforcing processes. It is a huge opportunity to automate and propagate best practices across teams. Developers are empowered to develop faster with more ownership. When security is rethought as a partnership between software-building stakeholders, a flywheel effect can take place: reduced friction leads to better communication and visibility, automating of more best practices, easing the work of each other while improving security with fewer defects. This is how application security will finally be able to scale through continuous improvement.

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