The Unintended Leak of Mercedes-Benz Source Code: A Consequence of a Published Password Error

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Mercedes-Benz accidentally exposed a trove of internal data after leaving a private key online that gave “unrestricted access” to the company’s source code, according to the security research firm that discovered it. The London-based cybersecurity company said it discovered a Mercedes employee’s authentication token in a public GitHub repository during a routine internet scan in January. According to Mittal, this token — an alternative to using a password for authenticating to GitHub — could grant anyone full access to Mercedes’s GitHub Enterprise Server, thus allowing the download of the company’s private source code repositories. “The GitHub token gave ‘unrestricted’ and ‘unmonitored’ access to the entire source code hosted at the internal GitHub Enterprise Server,” Mittal explained in a report shared by TechCrunch. It’s not known if anyone else besides Mittal discovered the exposed key, which was published in late-September 2023.