8 Security & Auditing
8.1 API Security
8.1.1 Preventing Brute Force & Dictionary Attacks
By default, RStudio Connect allows as many login attempts as it can handle from any source when using the PAM, LDAP, and Password authentication providers. Users will be able to log in directly by entering their user name and password.
Authentication.ChallengeResponseEnabled flag to
true enables a
CAPTCHA form in the login screen, and requires that CAPTCHA be solved in order to
authenticate. Both visual and audio CAPTCHA challenges are provided for
8.2 Browser Security
There are a variety of security settings that can be configured in RStudio Connect. Some of these settings are enabled by default but can be customized while others are opt-in. Below are some of the security features worth considering.
8.2.1 Web Sudo Mode
When a user performs a sensitive operation in a web browser (such as creating a
new API key), they will be asked to reenter their login credentials. Once the
user enters their password properly, their session will enter a privileged
state internally referred to as “web sudo mode” which will allow them to perform
these sensitive operations for a certain window of time without entering their
password again. Note that this privileged mode is a notion purely internal to
RStudio Connect and entirely unrelated to the server’s actual
sudo or PAM
For all other authentication providers, the
WebSudoModeDuration configuration options are available within the section
pertaining to that provider. If
WebSudoMode is set to
false, then this
protection is disabled; effectively, all authenticated users are always in
WebSudoModeDuration controls the length of time for which a
user stays in this privileged mode. For password authentication, for example, you
[Password] WebSudoMode = true WebSudoModeDuration = 10m
In this case, users would be prompted for their password before performing sensitive actions, then would be allowed to continue performing sensitive actions for up to 10 minutes without additional prompts. After that point, any sensitive actions would require entering their password again.
Regardless of the setting, web sudo mode will never affect calls made outside of a browser using a token or an API key.
8.2.2 Guaranteeing HTTPS
If you can guarantee that your server should only ever be accessed over a
TLS/SSL connection (HTTPS), then you can consider enabling the
setting. This elevates the security of your server by requiring that future
interactions between your users and this server must be encrypted.
Enabling this setting may keep users from being able to access your RStudio Connect instance if you later disable HTTPS or if your certificate expires. Use this setting only if you will permanently provide a valid TLS/SSL certificate on this server.
Behind the scenes, this makes two changes:
- Introduces HTTP Strict Transport Security
(HSTS) by adding a
Strict-Transport-SecurityHTTP header with a
max-ageset to 30 days. HSTS ensures that your users’ browsers will not trust a service hosted at this location unless it is protected with a trusted TLS/SSL certificate.
Secureflag on cookies that are set. This prohibits your users’ browsers from sending their RStudio Connect cookies to a server without an HTTPS-secured connection.
8.2.3 Content Sniffing
Server.ContentTypeSniffing setting can be used to configure HTTP responses with the
X-Content-Type-Options header. This header can protect your users from a certain class of malicious uploads.
Server.ContentTypeSniffing is disabled (the default), the
X-Content-Type-Options HTTP header is given the value of
nosniff. This instructs browsers not to inspect the content in an attempt to identify its type.
Server.ContentTypeSniffing is enabled, the
X-Content-Type-Options HTTP header is not sent; browsers are free to analyze the content to detect its type.
8.2.4 Content Embedding
X-Frame-Options HTTP header is used to control what content can be
embedded inside other content in a web browser. The relevant attack is
commonly referred to as a “clickjack
involves having your users interact with a sensitive service
without their knowledge.
For the purposes of the
X-Frame-Options header, RStudio Connect distinguishes
between “dashboard” and “user” content. Dashboard
content are any of the internal services or assets that are shipped with RStudio
Connect. User content is anything uploaded by a user (reports, Shiny applications,
Plumber APIs, etc.)
Server.FrameOptionsContent configures the
X-Frame-Options header value for
user-uploaded content. By default it is empty, meaning that the header will not
be set. This allows user-provided content to be embedded in iframes from any
location. If you do not intend for others to embed user content on their
sites, you can set this to a value of
SAMEORIGIN to ensure that only sites on
the same server will be able to embed your users’ content. The RStudio Connect
dashboard itself uses iframes to present user content in the dashboard, so it is
not recommended to set this option to
Server.FrameOptionsDashboard configures the
X-Frame-Options header value for
internal services and assets provided with RStudio Connect and defaults to a
DENY. This means that other sites will not be able to embed the
RStudio Connect dashboard. This setting is more secure in that it protects
against clickjacking attacks against the dashboard, but if you plan to embed the
dashboard elsewhere you may need to tune this setting.
Some advertised values for this header are not supported across all browsers. RStudio Connect does not restrict the values of these headers.
8.2.5 Custom Headers
If you need to include additional HTTP headers that are not covered by any of the
above features, you can include your own custom headers on all responses from
RStudio Connect using the
This feature can be used to accommodate various other security practices that are not explicitly available as options elsewhere in Connect. For instance, X-XSS-Protection, Content Security Policy (CSP), HTTP Public Key Pinning (HPKP), and Cross-origin Resource Sharing (CORS) could all be configured using custom headers.
Custom headers are added to the HTTP response early during request processing. Values may later be overwritten or modified by other header settings. This includes both the security preferences described earlier in this chapter and other headers used internally by RStudio Connect, by Plumber, or by Shiny. You should not depend on a custom header that conflicts with a header already in use by RStudio Connect.
Server.CustomHeader takes a value of the header name and its value
separated by a colon. Whitespace surrounding the header name and its value are
trimmed. You can use this setting multiple times as in the following example:
[Server] CustomHeader = “HeaderA: some value” CustomHeader = “HeaderB: another value”
8.3 Audit Logs
RStudio Connect records information about changes to the system. These events can later be retrieved for auditing purposes.
This table contains the event types logged by the auditing system:
||Create a user|
||Change an existing user|
||Set or remove a lock for an existing user|
||Add new content|
||Upload a bundle for a content|
||Deploy content to the server. Content may need to be published after deployment.|
||Change content settings|
||Activate a token. Tokens are used by the
||Create a group|
||Delete a group|
||Add a user to a group|
||Remove a user from a group|
||Give a user view or edit access to content|
||Remove a user from view or edit access list|
||Give a group view or edit access to content|
||Remove a group from view or edit access list|
||Change from a specific list of viewers to “just me”|
||Add API key|
||Remove API key|
||Add vanity URL|
||Update vanity URL|
||Remove vanity URL|
||Remove a bundle|
||Download a bundle|
||Create a tag/category|
||Delete a tag/category|
||Update a tag/category|
||Associate a tag with some parent tag/category|
||Associate a tag with content|
||Disassociate a tag with content|
||Change to application environment variables|
8.3.1 Audit Logs Command-Line Interface
See Appendix B for more information on using the
usermanager CLI to
dump audit logs.
8.4 Application Environment Variables
User-specified environment variables for applications are encrypted on-disk and in-memory. They are decrypted only when a process is about to be started.