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January 6, 2022

GHSL-2020-313: Unauthorized repository modification or secrets exfiltration in a GitHub workflow of BitByte-TPC/first-bit

Jaroslav Lobacevski

Coordinated Disclosure Timeline


The auto_merge.yml GitHub workflow is vulnerable to unauthorized modification of the base repository or secrets exfiltration from a Pull Request.


BitByte-TPC/first-bit GitHub repository

Tested Version

The latest changeset a43fb3c to the date.


Issue: Untrusted code is explicitly checked out and run on a Pull Request from a fork

pull_request_target was introduced to allow triggered workflows to comment on PRs, label them, assign people, etc.. In order to make it possible the triggered action runner has read/write token for the base repository and the access to secrets. In order to prevent untrusted code from execution it runs in a context of the base repository.

By explicitly checking out and running build script from a fork the untrusted code is running in an environment that is able to push to the base repository and to access secrets.

    - 'public/directory/**.json'
      uses: actions/checkout@v2
        ref: ${{github.event.pull_request.head.ref}}
        repository: ${{github.event.pull_request.head.repo.full_name}}
    - name: Yarn install
      uses: actions/setup-node@v1
    - run: yarn install


The vulnerability allows for unauthorized modification of the base repository and secrets exfiltration.


This issue was discovered and reported by GHSL team member @JarLob (Jaroslav Lobačevski).


You can contact the GHSL team at, please include a reference to GHSL-2020-313 in any communication regarding this issue.