information gathering tool

Gitrob : Open Source in OSINT

Written by Mubassir patel

Gitrob: Putting the Open Source in OSINT

Gitrob is a command line tool which can help organizations and security professionals find sensitive information lingering in publicly available files on GitHub. The tool will iterate over all public organization and member repositories and match filenames against a range of patterns for files that typically contain sensitive or dangerous information.

Looking for sensitive information in GitHub repositories is not a new thing, it has been known for a while that things such as private keys and credentials can be found with GitHub’s search functionality, however Gitrob makes it easier to focus the effort on a specific organization.


1. Ruby

Gitrob is written in Ruby and requires at least version 1.9.3 or above. To check which version of Ruby you have installed, simply run ruby --version in a terminal.

Should you have an older version installed, it is very easy to upgrade and manage different versions with the Ruby Version Manager (RVM). Please see the RVM website for installation instructions.

2. RubyGems

Gitrob is packaged as a Ruby gem to make it easy to install and update. To install Ruby gems you’ll need the RubyGems tool installed. To check if you have it already, type gem in a Terminal. If you got it already, it is recommended to do a quick gem update --system to make sure you have the latest and greatest version. In case you don’t have it installed, download it from here and follow the simple installation instructions.

3. PostgreSQL

Gitrob uses a PostgreSQL database to store all the collected data. If you are setting up Gitrob in the Kali linux distribution you already have it installed, you just need to make sure it’s running by executing service postgresql start and install a dependency with apt-get install libpq-dev in a terminal. Here’s an excellent guide on how to install PostgreSQL on a Debian based Linux system. If you are setting up this tool on a Mac, the easiest way to install PostgreSQL is with Homebrew. Here’s a guide on how to install PostgreSQL with Homebrew.

3.1 PostgreSQL user and database

You need to set up a user and a database in PostgreSQL for this tool. Execute the following commands in a terminal:

sudo su postgres # Not necessary on Mac OS X
createuser -s gitrob --pwprompt
createdb -O gitrob gitrob

You now have a new PostgreSQL user with the name gitrob and with the password you typed into the prompt. You also created a database with the name gitrob which is owned by the gitrob user.

4. GitHub access tokens

This tool works by querying the GitHub API for interesting information, so you need at least one access token to get up and running. The easiest way is to create a Personal Access Token. Press the Generate new token button and give the token a description. If you intend on using this tool against organizations you’re not a member of you don’t need to give the token any scopes, as we will only be accessing public data. If you intend to run Gitrob against your own organization, you’ll need to check the read:org scope to get full coverage.

If you plan on using this tool extensively or against a very large organization, it might be necessary to have multiple access tokens to avoid running into rate limiting. These access tokens will have to be from different user accounts.

5. Gitrob

With all the previous steps completed, you can now finally install this tool itself with the following command in a terminal:

gem install gitrob

This will install the Gitrob Ruby gem along with all its dependencies. Congratulations!

6. Configuring Gitrob

This tool needs to know how to talk to the PostgreSQL database as well as what access token to use to access the GitHub API. This tool comes with a convenient configuration wizard which can be invoked with the following command in a terminal:

gitrob configure

The configuration wizard will ask you for the information needed to set up of this tool. All the information is saved to ~/.gitrobrc and yes, Gitrob will be looking for this file too, so watch out!


Analyzing organizations and users

Analyzing organizations and users is the main feature of this tool. The analyze command accepts an arbitrary amount of organization and user logins, which will be bundled into an assessment:

gitrob analyze acme,johndoe,janedoe

Mixing organizations and users is convenient if you know that a certain user is part of an organization but they do not have their membership public.

When the assessment is finished, the analyze command will automatically start up the web server to present the results. This can be avoided by adding the --no-server option to the command.

See gitrob help analyze for more options.

Running Gitrob against custom GitHub Enterprise installations

This tool can analyze organizations and users on custom GitHub Enterprise installations instead of the official GitHub site. The analyze command takes several options to control this:

gitrob analyze johndoe --site= --endpoint= --access-tokens=token1,token2

See gitrob help analyze for more options.

Starting the Gitrob web server

This tool web server can be started with the server command:

gitrob server

By default, the server will listen on localhost:9393. This can of course all be controlled:

gitrob server --bind-address= --port=8000

See gitrob help server for more options.

Adding custom signatures

If you want to look for files that are specific to your organisation or projects, it is easy to add custom signatures.

When this tool starts it looks for a file at ~/.gitrobsignatures which it expects to be a JSON document with signatures that follow the same structure as the main signatures.json file. Here is an example:

    "part": "filename",
    "type": "match",
    "pattern": "otr.private_key",
    "caption": "Pidgin OTR private key",
    "description": null

This signature instructs this tool to flag files where the filename exactly matches otr.private_key. The caption and description are used in the web interface when displaying the findings.

Signature keys

  • part: Can be one of:
    • path: The complete file path
    • filename: Only the filename
    • extension: Only the file extension
  • type: Can be one of:
    • match: Simple match of part and pattern
    • regex: Regular expression matching of part and pattern
  • pattern: The value or regular expression to match with
  • caption: A short description of the finding
  • description: More detailed description if needed (set to null if not).

Have a look at the main signatures.json file for more examples of signatures.

If you think other people can benefit from your custom signatures, please consider contributing them back to the Gitrob project by opening a Pull Request or an Issue. Thanks!


After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run rake spec to run the tests. You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment. Run bundle exec gitrob to use the gem in this directory, ignoring other installed copies of this gem.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install.


Contributions are welcome! Read to get started.


This tool is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.

About the author

Mubassir patel

Mubassir is a founder and developer of this site. He is a computer science engineer. He has a very deep interest in ethical hacking, penetration testing, website development and including all technology topic.

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