Skip to main content

Data Access Security

  • 4 minutes to read

This document describes how to avoid possible security risks when accessing data in reporting applications.


Default data access behavior of the End-User Report Designer is intended to provide a high level of database security.

We strongly recommend that you utilize the default behavior if your reporting application can be accessed by untrusted parties.

We also recommend that you use the access control functionality of your database management system to achieve the highest level of database security.

Data Connection Security

Data source connection parameters are encrypted before they are passed to the client.

When the SQL Data Source wizard obtains connection strings from the Web.config file, the serialized report contains only the connection name (and not the connection string itself).

You can register a custom connection string provider and store all the connection parameters or only the connection name with the serilaized data source. When the report serialized with connection parameters is passed to the client, these parameters are encrypted by applying the MachineKey algorithm. To provide a custom encryption mechanism, use the ISecureDataConverter interface.

Refer to the following topics for more information on data connection registration:

Database Security

Disable Custom SQL Queries

The Data Source Wizard initially allows only SQL queries visually designed in the built-in Query Builder. The Query Builder can construct only SELECT queries which are safe.

Default security settings do not allow direct SQL query text editing. Enable SQL editing at your own risk using the approach described in the following document: Custom SQL Query in Report Designer


Custom SQL queries are validated before their execution. Although the default validation mechanism only allows custom queries with SELECT statements (except for SELECT INTO clauses), it is not safe as it does not prevent execution of potentially harmful requests. You should implement secure SQL validation before you allow custom SQL queries.

Utilize the access control functionality of your database management system for the highest level of database security.

If custom SQL queries is enabled, you can edit SQL statements on the following SQL Data Source Wizard pages:

Restrict Access to Unauthorized Assemblies

Loading custom assemblies that can be referenced by Entity Framework data sources (DashboardEFDataSource) is not allowed.

To permit loading a specific assembly, handle the EFDataSource.BeforeLoadCustomAssembly event (or static EFDataSource.BeforeLoadCustomAssemblyGlobal event) and specify the following properties of the BeforeLoadCustomAssemblyEventArgs object:

  • AllowLoading

    Specifies whether loading a custom assembly is allowed.

  • AssemblyPath

    Specifies a path to a custom assembly.

  • ContextName

    Specifies the type to load from a custom assembly.

An unauthorized attempt to load a custom assembly raises the CustomAssemblyLoadingProhibitedException exception.

Restrict Access to External Resources

Ensure that reports from untrusted sources cannot use the DataSource or XmlDataPath property to access the file system and read files. The restrictions affect the ExcelDataSource and JsonDataSource data sources.

You can use static properties and methods of the AccessSettings class to explicitly specify file operation restrictions for Excel data sources and specify allowed URLs for JSON data sources. If your application does not retrieve data from file-based data sources, add the DirectoryAccessRule.Deny() access rule to the AccessSettings.DataResources settings to prohibit all file operations with data sources, as shown in the following code snippet:

// JSON data can be loaded only from URLs; Excel data cannot be loaded from file directories (Excel data load from URLs is not supported)
  bool success = DevExpress.Security.Resources.AccessSettings.DataResources.TrySetRules(
      DevExpress.Security.Resources.DirectoryAccessRule.Deny()) ;
  if (!success) System.Diagnostics.Debug.Print("Cannot change rules. The rules are already set.")