This quick tutorial details how to install a RStudio Server on a Google Cloud Virtual Machine (VM), and how to easily enable remote access in a secure manner through SSH port forwarding.

The right way, you say? Having recently been looking for instructions on how to do it myself, I was surprised to see that the great majority of online tutorials uses a rather lousy method consisting of creating a firewall rule and opening the TCP port 8787 on the VM. See for example here, there, and so forth… The firewall method creates unnecessary vulnerabilities by exposing the system to MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks. Moreover, this unsecured HTTP connection is prone to ear’s dropping as communications between the client and server are all in clear, including login credentials... …

Axel Thieffry

Computational Biologist & Data Scientist

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