[R] Security issue

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Wed Apr 2 12:52:24 CEST 2008

Well, of course it isn't true -- no piece of software is 'as safe as 
possible'.  I think some IT managers would prefer not to run any OSes on 
their machines -- now, that is pretty safe (especially if they are then 
switched off to say energy).

You haven't told us your OS -- and that usually means it is Windows (or 
Mac OS). A reasonable question then is 'is R as safe than Windows'. 
However when you start R it says

 	R is free software and comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.

so you are not going to get any warranty about this.  But it seems faintly 
ludicrous to ask if R is safe if you run an unsafe OS -- R is as safe as 
the system calls it uses (and any others you manage to run via exploits, 
although I am unaware of known exploits -- the few reports have been on 
at-the-time obsolete versions of R).  So just don't actually run R in an 
admnistrator account.

On Wed, 2 Apr 2008, Hanek Martin wrote:

> Hello,
> I am trying to convince our IT Manager that R is as safe as possible 
> from IT security point of view - could you point me to something on the 
> web / some reasons for why this is true? I do not think he has a 
> specific concern but does not know the software and would like to 
> understand the security implications.

But surely that is his job!  Our Computing Manager certainly has it in his 
job description -- and he does allow R on our systems (owned by 
non-administrator accounts).

> Thanks in advance
> Best Regards
> Martin Hanek
> Actuarial Analyst
> Glacier Reinsurance AG
> Churerstr. 78
> CH-8808 Pf??fikon SZ
> T +41 55 417 3431
> F +41 55 417 3434
> martin.hanek at glacierre.com
> www.glacierre.com<http://www.glacierre.com/>
> This e-mail, including any attachments, is for the inten...{{dropped:12}}

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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