Argus | A Framework for Staged Static Taint Analysis of GitHub Workflows and Actions



This repo contains the code for our USENIX Security '23 paper “ARGUS: A Framework for Staged Static Taint Analysis of GitHub Workflows and Actions”. Argus is a comprehensive security analysis tool specifically designed for GitHub Actions. Built with an aim to enhance the security of CI/CD workflows, Argus utilizes taint-tracking techniques and an impact classifier to detect potential vulnerabilities in GitHub Action workflows.

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  • Taint-Tracking: Argus uses sophisticated algorithms to track the flow of potentially untrusted data from specific sources to security-critical sinks within GitHub Actions workflows. This enables the identification of vulnerabilities that could lead to code injection attacks.
  • Impact Classifier: Argus classifies identified vulnerabilities into High, Medium, and Low severity classes, providing a clearer understanding of the potential impact of each identified vulnerability. This is crucial in prioritizing mitigation efforts.


This Python script provides a command line interface for interacting with GitHub repositories and GitHub actions.

python --mode [mode] --url [url] [–output-folder path_to_output] [–config path_to_config] [–verbose] [–branch branch_name] [–commit commit_hash] [–tag tag_name] [–action-path path_to_action] [–workflow-path path_to_workflow]


  • --mode: The mode of operation. Choose either ‘repo’ or ‘action’. This parameter is required.
  • --url: The GitHub URL. Use USERNAME:TOKEN@URL for private repos. This parameter is required.
  • --output-folder: The output folder. The default value is ‘/tmp’. This parameter is optional.
  • --config: The config file. This parameter is optional.
  • --verbose: Verbose mode. If this option is provided, the logging level is set to DEBUG. Otherwise, it is set to INFO. This parameter is optional.
  • --branch: The branch name. You must provide exactly one of: --branch, --commit, --tag. This parameter is optional.
  • --commit: The commit hash. You must provide exactly one of: --branch, --commit, --tag. This parameter is optional.
  • --tag: The tag. You must provide exactly one of: --branch, --commit, --tag. This parameter is optional.
  • --action-path: The (relative) path to the action. You cannot provide --action-path in repo mode. This parameter is optional.
  • --workflow-path: The (relative) path to the workflow. You cannot provide --workflow-path in action mode. This parameter is optional.


To use this script to interact with a GitHub repo, you might run a command like the following:

python --mode repo --url --branch master

This would run the script in repo mode on the master branch of the specified repository.

How to use

Argus can be run inside a docker container. To do so, follow the steps:

  • Install docker and docker-compose
    • apt-get -y install docker-compose
  • Clone the release branch of this repo
    • git clone <>
  • Build the docker container
    • docker-compose build
  • Now you can run argus. Example run:
    • docker-compose run argus --mode {mode} --url {url to target repo}
  • Results will be available inside the results folder

Viewing SARIF Results

You can view SARIF results either through an online viewer or with a Visual Studio Code (VSCode) extension.

  1. Online Viewer: The SARIF Web Viewer is an online tool that allows you to visualize SARIF files. You can upload your SARIF file (argus_report.sarif) directly to the website to view the results.
  2. VSCode Extension: If you prefer to use VSCode, you can install the SARIF Viewer extension. After installing the extension, you can open your SARIF file (argus_report.sarif) in VSCode. The results will appear in the SARIF Explorer pane, which provides a detailed and navigable view of the results.

Remember to handle the SARIF file with care, especially if it contains sensitive information from your codebase.


If there is an issue with needing the Github authorization for running, you can provide username:TOKEN in the GITHUB_CREDS environment variable. This will be used for all the requests made to Github. Note, we do not store this information anywhere, neither create any thing in the Github account - we only use this for cloning the repositories.


Argus is an open-source project, and we welcome contributions from the community. Whether it’s reporting a bug, suggesting a feature, or writing code, your contributions are always appreciated!

Cite Argus

If you use Argus in your research, please cite our paper:

    title={ARGUS: A Framework for Staged Static Taint Analysis of GitHub Workflows and Actions},
    author={S. Muralee, I. Koishybayev, A. Nahapetyan, G. Tystahl, B. Reaves, A. Bianchi, W. Enck, 
      A. Kapravelos, A. Machiry},
    booktitle={32st USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},


Argus is licensed under GPL License.