Use Amazon Secrets Manager secrets in GitHub jobs - Amazon Secrets Manager
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Use Amazon Secrets Manager secrets in GitHub jobs

To use a secret in a GitHub job, you can use a GitHub action to retrieve secrets from Amazon Secrets Manager and add them as masked Environment variables in your GitHub workflow. For more information about GitHub Actions, see Understanding GitHub Actions in the GitHub Docs.

When you add a secret to your GitHub environment, it is available to all other steps in your GitHub job. Follow the guidance in Security hardening for GitHub Actions to help prevent secrets in your environment from being misused.

You can set the entire string in the secret value as the environment variable value, or if the string is JSON, you can parse the JSON to set individual environment variables for each JSON key-value pair. If the secret value is a binary, the action converts it to a string.

To view the environment variables created from your secrets, turn on debug logging. For more information, see Enabling debug logging in the GitHub Docs.

To use the environment variables created from your secrets, see Environment variables in the GitHub Docs.


To use this action, you first need to configure Amazon credentials and set the Amazon Web Services Region in your GitHub environment by using the configure-aws-credentials step. Follow the instructions in Configure Amazon Credentials Action For GitHub Actions to Assume role directly using GitHub OIDC provider. This allows you to use short-lived credentials and avoid storing additional access keys outside of Secrets Manager.

The IAM role the action assumes must have the following permissions:

  • GetSecretValue on the secrets you want to retrieve.

  • ListSecrets on all secrets.

  • (Optional) Decrypt on the KMS key if the secrets are encrypted with a customer managed key.

For more information, see Authentication and access control for Amazon Secrets Manager.


To use the action, add a step to your workflow that uses the following syntax.

- name: Step name uses: aws-actions/aws-secretsmanager-get-secrets@v2 with: secret-ids: | secretId1 ENV_VAR_NAME, secretId2 name-transformation: (Optional) uppercase|lowercase|none parse-json-secrets: (Optional) true|false

Secret ARNS, names, and name prefixes.

To set the environment variable name, enter it before the secret ID, followed by a comma. For example ENV_VAR_1, secretId creates an environment variable named ENV_VAR_1 from the secret secretId. The environment variable name can consist of uppercase letters, numbers, and underscores.

To use a prefix, enter at least three characters followed by an asterisk. For example dev* matches all secrets with a name beginning in dev. The maximum number of matching secrets that can be retrieved is 100. If you set the variable name, and the prefix matches multiple secrets, then the action fails.


By default, the step creates each environment variable name from the secret name, transformed to include only uppercase letters, numbers, and underscores, and so that it doesn't begin with a number. For the letters in the name, you can configure the step to use lowercase letters with lowercase or to not change the case of the letters with none. The default value is uppercase.


(Optional) By default, the action sets the environment variable value to the entire JSON string in the secret value. Set parse-json-secrets to true to create environment variables for each key/value pair in the JSON.

Note that if the JSON uses case-sensitive keys such as "name" and "Name", the action will have duplicate name conflicts. In this case, set parse-json-secrets to false and parse the JSON secret value separately.

Environment variable naming

The environment variables created by the action are named the same as the secrets they comes from. Environment variables have stricter naming requirements than secrets, so the action transforms secret names to meet those requirements. For example, the action transforms lowercase letters to uppercase letters. If you parse the JSON of the secret, then the environment variable name includes both the secret name and the JSON key name, for example MYSECRET_KEYNAME. You can configure the action to not transform lowercase letters.

If two environment variables would end up with the same name, the action fails. In this case, you must specify the names you want to use for the environment variables as aliases.

Examples of when the names might conflict:

  • A secret named "MySecret" and a secret named "mysecret" would both become environment variables named "MYSECRET".

  • A secret named "Secret_keyname" and a JSON-parsed secret named "Secret" with a key named "keyname" would both become environment variables named "SECRET_KEYNAME".

You can set the environment variable name by specifying an alias, as shown in the following example which creates a variable named ENV_VAR_NAME.

secret-ids: | ENV_VAR_NAME, secretId2
Blank aliases
  • If you set parse-json-secrets: true and enter a blank alias, followed by a comma and then the secret ID, the action names the environment variable the same as the parsed JSON keys. The variable names do not include the secret name.

    If the secret doesn't contain valid JSON, then the action creates one environment variable and names it the same as the secret name.

  • If you set parse-json-secrets: false and enter a blank alias, followed by a comma and the secret ID, the action names the environment variables as if you did not specify an alias.

The following example shows a blank alias.



Example 1 Get secrets by name and by ARN

The following example creates environment variables for secrets identified by name and by ARN.

- name: Get secrets by name and by ARN uses: aws-actions/aws-secretsmanager-get-secrets@v2 with: secret-ids: | exampleSecretName arn:aws-cn:secretsmanager:us-west-2:123456789012:secret:test1-a1b2c3 0/test/secret /prod/example/secret SECRET_ALIAS_1,test/secret SECRET_ALIAS_2,arn:aws-cn:secretsmanager:us-west-2:123456789012:secret:test2-a1b2c3 ,secret2

Environment variables created:

EXAMPLESECRETNAME: secretValue1 TEST1: secretValue2 _0_TEST_SECRET: secretValue3 _PROD_EXAMPLE_SECRET: secretValue4 SECRET_ALIAS_1: secretValue5 SECRET_ALIAS_2: secretValue6 SECRET2: secretValue7
Example 2 Get all secrets that begin with a prefix

The following example creates environment variables for all secrets with names that begin with beta.

- name: Get Secret Names by Prefix uses: 2 with: secret-ids: | beta* # Retrieves all secrets that start with 'beta'

Environment variables created:

BETASECRETNAME: secretValue1 BETATEST: secretValue2 BETA_NEWSECRET: secretValue3
Example 3 Parse JSON in secret

The following example creates environment variables by parsing the JSON in the secret.

- name: Get Secrets by Name and by ARN uses: aws-actions/aws-secretsmanager-get-secrets@v2 with: secret-ids: | test/secret ,secret2 parse-json-secrets: true

The secret test/secret has the following secret value.

{ "api_user": "user", "api_key": "key", "config": { "active": "true" } }

The secret secret2 has the following secret value.

{ "myusername": "alejandro_rosalez", "mypassword": "EXAMPLE_PASSWORD" }

Environment variables created:

Example 4 Use lowercase letters for environment variable names

The following example creates an environment variable with a lowercase name.

- name: Get secrets uses: aws-actions/aws-secretsmanager-get-secrets@v2 with: secret-ids: exampleSecretName name-transformation: lowercase

Environment variable created:

examplesecretname: secretValue