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RStudio Server allows a linux shell to be started. Can this be disabled through configuration?

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Yes, the section of the RStudio Server admin guide here: http://docs.rstudio.com/ide/server-pro/latest/r-sessions.html#feature-limits details the various things you can disable. You would want to set the following value to false: allow-shell

As a caveat, there is no real way in R to stop people from executing a shell command unfortunately, so this removes that setting but doesn’t completely close down the risk.

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