I was writing a bash script for Gmail that would authorize itself using OAuth2, and make API calls using the received tokens. It worked.
But now I'm stuck on thinking how to securely store the Client ID and Client Secret in my script, which is open to all on GitHub. Since leaking one's own Client Secret and Client ID isn't a good idea, as someone else will be easily able to disguise their apps with one's own. How do I proceed with this issue?

Here's the issue in short:

  • My program critically needs Client ID and Client Secret to work.
  • My program is open source and hence I can't include them directly in the code.
  • I want all the users who download my program to be able to work with my own set of Client ID and Client Secret, without them actually knowing what the Client ID and Client Secret are!

Basically, I need to think of a way that would transfer some secret data, either through or bypassing GitHub, from my end to the user's PC such that only the program(my script) must be able to read it, not the user!

I know this seems impossible, but I posted this question to verify if it's possible or not. If possible, then I'd like to know how.

  • 1
    it is unclear what you are asking ............... are you asking if you can have multiple applications using the same ClientID and ClientSecret?
    – jsotola
    Jan 21, 2019 at 3:06
  • please edit your question to include that requirement .... then delete the comment
    – jsotola
    Jan 21, 2019 at 16:32
  • Are you trying to keep the secret out of the published code on github (where the entire world can see it), or are you attempting to hide it from the user? The first is possible (by putting it in a user config file that's not on github); the second is not (because the script, run by that user, needs to be able to read it).
    – JigglyNaga
    Jan 22, 2019 at 12:42
  • @JigglyNaga I'm trying to do both, that is, I want the secret to be available to all the clones(from GitHub) but the user mustn't be able to access or see it. Something like encrypting the secret on GitHub, and decrypting it back on the user's PC without his/her knowledge. Also, I tried to include everything in my question and I don't quite get what else to add more to clarify it. Please guide me. Jan 22, 2019 at 14:19
  • If the (encoded) secret, and the script that includes steps to decrypt it, are both on a public github, then everyone can retrieve the secret and decrypt it. The pushback you're getting is not so much "unclear what you're asking" as "How would that ever work? Have you thought this through?" If the question were reopened, then I would only expect an answer "No, that's impossible", with a longer explanation why.
    – JigglyNaga
    Jan 22, 2019 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


No; you would need a cloud/server component/proxy to add the secret to each request (regardless of the programming language).

Of course people do try hiding a local copy, but it never works out for them.

Proxy example:

client> curl my.server.com/list/1
server> curl api.mail.google.com/list/1?key=123

so your proxy just passes all parameters/headers/data and adds your ID and Secret to the request. That may lead to a lot of bandwidth on your server so you should consider adding an option to use ones own Secret with no proxy for heavy users.

  • Do you have an idea on how to do that? Jan 21, 2019 at 7:09
  • The proxy part. Jan 21, 2019 at 23:48
  • How would it make a difference if it's still accessible through a curl request by anyone? I might have understood it wrong, but to me, the above example implies that the secret and client ID are to be fetched through a server request(which anyone can make) therefore it's still accessible to everyone and hence the secret's out! Jan 24, 2019 at 16:11
  • Ah, I think I've got it. So basically my script will first make a request to my own server for creating an access token(because my own server has the client secret). Once the token has been generated, it will be returned to the script. Is that correct? Jan 25, 2019 at 2:55
  • If that were the case, then I don't think I'll be able to implement it since I don't own a server or a domain. Jan 25, 2019 at 2:56

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