Praetorian launches ML-powered Nosey Parker secrets scanner

The machine learning-based secrets scanner has been added to the vendor’s Chariot Platform and promises faster, context-based matching.

A magnifying lens examines top secret information amid binary code.
DNY59 / Traffic Analyzer / Getty Images

Texas-based cybersecurity vendor Praetorian has launched a new machine learning-based secrets scanner, called Nosey Parker, onto its Chariot Platform, which provides attack surface management and offensive security managed services. 

Nosey Parker is a machine learning-based service developed using the regular expression (regex) pattern matching technique to detect sensitive secrets like passwords, API keys, access tokens, asymmetric private keys, client secrets and credentials left inadvertently in source code and configuration files. 

How Nosey Parker works 

Pattern matching with regular expressions involves scanning for secrets that follow distinct and identifiable patterns. Examples include keys with certain prefixes or of a fixed length.  

“Traditional secrets scanners are noisy, either suffering from a very high number of false positives or handling custom secret types poorly,” says Richard Ford, CTO at Praetorian. 

When compared to existing regex scanners, Praetorian aims to provide a more extensive secret patterns list, faster matching, multiple lines pattern matching, and the ability to deduplicate findings.

The regex scanner has been trained using a dataset of roughly 7,300 public repository scans from GitHub, consisting of 16 million distinct binary large objects (or blobs), yielding 15,000 matches with an 82% precision rate, according to Praetorian 

“Our ML-powered scanner uses neural networks to pull context around the files we’re scanning. This translates to a scanner that is both low noise and doesn’t need to be customized around new secret types,” says Ford.  

“I think that Praetorian is certainly heading in the right direction,” says Chris Steffen, information security research director at Enterprise Management Associates. “Managed security service providers are clamoring for these kinds of dev and automation tools that drastically improve security, address regulatory and vendor due diligence requirements, and scale to meet customer demands.”

Nosey Parker will initially be available to Chariot customers, with plans to launch a standalone scanner tool shortly.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

22 cybersecurity myths organizations need to stop believing in 2022