Server Security and Auditing#
There are a variety of security settings that can be configured in Package Manager. 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.
If you can guarantee that your server should only ever be accessed over a TLS/SSL connection (HTTPS), then you can consider enabling the
HTTPS.Permanent 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 prevent users from being able to access your Package Manager instance if you later disable HTTPS or if your certificate expires. Only use this setting 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.
- Enforces the
Secureflag on cookies that are set. This prohibits your users’ browsers from sending their Package Manager cookies to a server without an HTTPS-secured connection.
You can constrain the TLS version used by HTTPS. This may help you meet the security policy for your organization.
HTTPS.MinimumTLS setting specifies the minimum TLS version. Clients using a lower TLS version will be rejected. The default minimum TLS version is TLS 1.1. You can configure this setting to 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3.
We recommend that you check that the browsers and clients used within your organization are compatible with your minimum TLS version choice. The SSL Labs User Agent List enumerates the TLS capabilities for most popular browsers.
Here is an HTTPS configuration permitting TLS versions 1.2 and above:
We recommend using a secure proxy if you need finer control over HTTPS.
Using a Secure Proxy#
If you would prefer that the Package Manager process not have access to your TLS/SSL certificates, you may wish to configure a proxy to handle HTTPS requests. To accomplish this:
- Ensure that your
Server.Addressis set to the proxy address and uses the
true, which will set the
Secureflag on all cookies.
trueto suppress the warning regarding running Package Manager over an unsecured connection, because the connection between the client and the proxy will be secured.
- If necessary, enable the
HTTPRedirect.Listenoption to redirect proxied plain HTTP connections to HTTPS.
Since the connection between the proxy and Package Manager is not secured in this case, please ensure that the proxy and Package Manager are connecting on a trusted network where an adversary would not be able to capture plain text credentials. For example, many cloud providers allow isolating servers from the internet while permitting load balancers to access them. Please see your cloud provider's documentation for more details.
Server.ContentTypeSniffing setting can be used to configure the
X-Content-Type-Options HTTP header. This protects your users from a certain class of malicious uploads and is enabled by default.
When disabled (the default), the
X-Content-Type-Options HTTP header will be set to a value of
nosniff to tell browsers not to sniff the content type. If enabled, no such header will be provided.
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 attack” and involves having your users interact with a sensitive service without their knowledge.
Some advertised values for this header are not supported across all browsers. Package Manager does not restrict the values of these 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 Package Manager using the
This feature can be used to accommodate various other security practices that are not explicitly available as options elsewhere in Package Manager. 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 Package Manager. You should not depend on a custom header that conflicts with a header already in use by Package Manager.
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:
Package Manager allows administrators to decide what packages are allowed into an organization. For CRAN, Bioconductor, and PyPI packages, Package Manager relies on the Posit Package Service. This service is responsible for creating metadata about the daily changes for each public repository and providing package tar files. The metadata and package files are reviewed and tested for consistency and accuracy. The service does not run any security checks. CRAN itself, prior to accepting new packages or packages updates, runs a series of checks that include package installation and compatibility tests.