CodeQL documentation

Clear-text logging of sensitive information

ID: rb/clear-text-logging-sensitive-data
Kind: path-problem
Security severity: 7.5
Severity: error
Precision: high
   - security
   - external/cwe/cwe-312
   - external/cwe/cwe-359
   - external/cwe/cwe-532
Query suites:
   - ruby-code-scanning.qls
   - ruby-security-extended.qls
   - ruby-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

Sensitive information that is stored unencrypted is accessible to an attacker who gains access to the storage.


Ensure that sensitive information is always encrypted before being stored.

In general, decrypt sensitive information only at the point where it is necessary for it to be used in cleartext.

Be aware that external processes often store the standard out and standard error streams of the application, causing logged sensitive information to be stored as well.


The following example code logs user credentials (in this case, their password) to standard out in plaintext:

require 'Logger'

class UserSession
  @@logger = STDOUT

  def login(username, password)
    # ... "login with password: #{password})"

Instead, the credentials should be masked or redacted before logging:

require 'Logger'

class UserSession
  @@logger = STDOUT

  def login(username, password)
    # ...
    password_escaped = password.sub(/.*/, "[redacted]") "login with password: #{password_escaped})"


  • M. Dowd, J. McDonald and J. Schuhm, The Art of Software Security Assessment, 1st Edition, Chapter 2 - ‘Common Vulnerabilities of Encryption’, p. 43. Addison Wesley, 2006.

  • M. Howard and D. LeBlanc, Writing Secure Code, 2nd Edition, Chapter 9 - ‘Protecting Secret Data’, p. 299. Microsoft, 2002.

  • Common Weakness Enumeration: CWE-312.

  • Common Weakness Enumeration: CWE-359.

  • Common Weakness Enumeration: CWE-532.

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