GitLab Security: Protecting Your Code and Data

GitLab Security: Protecting Your Code and Data. As a whole, security is a key aspect of any IT project management. And in the world of software development, where code is the heart of a project, it is important to protect that code and the associated data. This is why GitLab has a version control tool that not only simplifies source code management, but also provides a number of security related features. This article introduces how to protect code and data in GitLab, namely how to use its features to make your projects more secure.

Shall we start with GitLab Security: Protecting Your Code and Data?

GitLab How to Improve your Code and Data Security

1. Consider Security Scanners and analyzers for Gitlab

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST works in such a way that it scans applications for security vulnerabilities that are exposed in the running application to numerous threats. This includes security vulnerabilities such as SQL injection and command injection as well as cross site scripting (XSS).

Container scanning

Another strong security base of GitLab is container scanning, which scans containers for security vulnerabilities. Its operation is based mainly in the base images, as well as in the software installed in the images.

Deploy API security and web API Fuzzing Scanners

Well, APO Fuzzing tests  scans how secure and reliable are application’s APIs. Both, Web API Fuzzing and API security analyse security issues and discover bugs that have not been picked up by other scanners. They create a protection from attacks such as as XSS code delivery, SQL and denial of service (DoS) which are problematic for GitLab.

2. Compliance and Policy Management

GitLab allows you to create compliance reports, policies and audit requirements. With GitLab’s Policy Editor it enables custom approval rules tailored to each organization’s compliance requirements, thereby reducing  those risks. Furthermore ,compliance management enables organizations to monitor and manage compliance with industry regulations such as HIPAA, PCI DSS and GDPR.

3. Gitlab Security Dashboard and Security Centre

Security Dashboard

With Gitlab, it gives you security features to check and manage vulnerabilities of your data. The Security Dashboard provides a centralized view of security risks and vulnerabilities, including the number of vulnerabilities, the severity and the status of vulnerabilities. The security dashboard is used to monitor the progress of security remediation activities. Whereas, Security Center manages vulnerability management. 

How Developers Secure Code and Data with GitLab?

Writing secure code is a standard part of daily development work, but keeping it secure after is most vital part. To facilitate security efforts, GitLab Secure provides a number of different tools that enable developers to identify and fix vulnerabilities in their code as they write it. The goal is to seamlessly integrate security into your coding practices so you better protect your business from growing cybersecurity threats.

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

GitLab has a lot of tools available for developers. These tools provide a preventative measure for developers by informing them of vulnerabilities in their code and report them as part of the merge request. Just so developers can get their code up to date. In addition to testing methods, they use other tools outside of GitLab by integrating scanner results with our merge request security reports.

Code Quality Analysis

With the help of GitLab CI/CD it gives you the ability to check source code using GitLab Code Quality. This is performed by use of Climate Engines and by running pipelines using a Docker image, which is built into the Quality project. This code analysis with GitLab generates a report in which metrics take place between the source and target branches along with this displays the information in the merge request. Thanks to pipelines that enable testing and execution, teams have a very quick view of each approval, allowing them to move immediately to deliver the highest quality code.

Approved and Blacklisted Licenses

When you approve the code, the project is mainly checked against these approved and blacklisted licences defined by non-standard rules for each project. Therefore, software licences are identified if they are not covered by any policy, and these new licences are also listed if there is a need to list the status. Gitlab has a scanning tool called LicenseFinder, where the results and analyses of the licences show up in a given line for literally every merge request to solve a given problem.

Fuzzing Technique

Fuzzing is about creating exceptions and finding code paths that are prone to attacks and unauthorized access.

Secret Detection

GitLab Secret Detection detect secrets and credentials uploaded to your repository. This check is performed by a special analyser during the SAST task, works independently of the application programming language, and the results are presented in a SAST report.

Auto Remediation

That way DevOps protect code and data and it allows automating the vulnerability solution to create a fix automatically. Once the fix has been tested, it goes to production.

GitLab Guide How to Secure your Code and Data

As the first application for development, security and operations (DevSecOps), GitLab tools provide a seamless process that keeps your entire team in sync and your critical data safe. Our tool supports Kerberos-based user authentication and a secret push file blocking system that allows an enterprise to prevent accidental uploads of sensitive files to a live repository.

1. Adjust Group Settings

Of the first thing to do is to set  the group visibility level to private. By doing so, anyone not being a member of the group is not able to access it. Also subgroups and projects are set to private also. 


How to do it:

1.Navigate to Permissions and group features.
2.Under permissions choose “Prevent members from sending invitations to outside groups”.
Set “Prevent sharing a project with other groups”. Thanks to this setting you prevent accidental or planned code sharing or moving a project to outside of the group.

2. Enable SAML SSO

Enabling SAML SSO ensures anyone accessing your information has passed the Single Sign On step. 

How to do it:

1.Enable SAML authentication for the group.
2. Enforce SSO as the only way to authenticate for  this group.
3. Enforce SSO only authentication for Git and Dependency Proxy activity for this group.
Set the Default membership role to Minimal Access. 
4. Take care of who controls access to the Maintainer and Owner roles.

3. Project Settings

Introduction of project settings locks privacy to the particular projects and does not go below that level to other projects.

4. Secure Access by Implementing Strong Passwords and Permissions

Start the security check by implementing a strong root password and set up strong passwords for users. 

  • Introduce user Strong Passwords.
  • Use Restricted Permissions, starting from minimum required.

5. Control User Sign In and Sign Up Process

  • Firstly disable public sign up.
  • Add email verification step to confirm user email address is real. 
  • Disable Git access via HTTP and HTTPS setting. 

6. Take Care of Visibility of your Data

  • Set existing projects to private.
  • Make Repositories Private.
  • Introduce limits to Groups and Namespaces Access. 

7. Regular Security Audits and Penetration Testing

Remember that regular security audits and penetration tests help to identify gaps and weaknesses in your GitLab configuration. By regular review of compliance audits and introducing security information and event management (SIEM) system you monitor all the activity. 

8. Project Security Testing with Compliance

  • Security testing, where you introduce static application security testing SAST. That step prevents from getting malicious code into the application.
  • Enable dependency scanning. Here there should be a regular checks of the dependency list or software, or software bill of materials (SBOM]. This again scans for weaknesses in your code vulnerabilities and unhealthy malicious components.
  • Enable container scanning and cluster image scanning.

GitLab Security: Protecting Your Code and Data Conclusion

Considering security in GitLab is certainly a key element in protecting your data and code. With the practices that have been presented about security and the introduction of built-in tools and features, GitLab becomes not only a powerful tool for managing your code, but more importantly a concrete defence against the threats it may be exposed to.

Furthermore, everyone knows that security is a complex and ongoing process. That’s why it’s important to remember to improve and adapt best practices to the ever changing threat landscape. Through which you monitor or introduce access control, where you reduce the risk of a security breach. You can be assured then that your code and data  is in the right hands.

In summary, the tools outlined above allow you to look after your or your organisation’s code, as well as allow you to look after your company’s reputation.

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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