Authentication and secure access

The purpose of RPi-Monitor is to... monitor. For different reason (security, time, scope of project...) it do not add any authentication.

We will see here how to configure a reverse proxy which will be in charge of user authentication and ssl connections. We will also configure a firewall to make the RPi-Monitor host ready to be directly connected to Internet.


To install nginx execute the following command:

sudo apt-get install nginx

Manage authentication

To manage authentication we need to create a file gathering the username and passwords. The following script will help you to generate new users id and encrypted password.


if [ "$(id -u)" != "0" ]; then
echo "This script must be run as root"
exit 1

echo -n "Enter new username: "; read user
echo -n "Enter new password: "; read pass

printf "$user:$(openssl passwd -crypt $pass)\n" >> /etc/nginx/.htpasswd

This script is also downloadable from Github. Execute the following command to use it:

wget -O
chmod +x
sudo ./

Answer to the question and you are done. If you need to enter additionnal user, execute the script again.

Manage secured connection

To activate SSL connection we need to create certificate. In this post we will create a simple self signed certificate.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/ssl/localcerts
openssl req -new -x509 -days 3650 -nodes -out \
/etc/ssl/localcerts/RPi-Experiences-cert.pem -keyout \
chmod 600 /etc/ssl/localcerts/*

This certificate is self signed it will then be required to accept it when the browser will raise the certificate warning.

Reverse proxy configuration

Let’s first deactivate the default site since we want to use ngnix as a reverse proxy only. To do so, delete the symbolic link from sites-enable directory:

sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enable/default

Create the file /etc/nginx/sites-available/reverseproxy with the following content (also downloadable from Github):

access_log off;
add_header Cache-Control public;
server_tokens off;

# HTTP 80
server {
    listen         80;
    #Force the usage of https
    rewrite - https://$host$request_uri? permanent;

# HTTPS 443
server  {
    listen 443 ssl;
    keepalive_timeout 70;

    # SSL config
    ssl on;
    ssl_certificate /etc/ssl/localcerts/RPi-Experiences-cert.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/ssl/localcerts/RPi-Experiences-key.pem;

    ssl_session_timeout 5m;
    ssl_protocols SSLv3 TLSv1.2;
    ssl_ciphers RC4:HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5;
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
    ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:10m;

    # Allow to use frame from same origin
    add_header X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN;

    # DDOS protection - Tune Values or deactivate in case of issue
    # limit_conn conn_limit_per_ip 20;
    # limit_req zone=req_limit_per_ip burst=20 nodelay;

    # Proxy Config
    proxy_redirect          off;
    proxy_set_header        Host            $host;
    proxy_set_header        X-Real-IP       $remote_addr;
    proxy_set_header        X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    client_max_body_size    10m;
    client_body_buffer_size 128k;
    proxy_connect_timeout   90;
    proxy_send_timeout      90;
    proxy_read_timeout      90;
    proxy_buffers           32 4k;

    # Define the default site
    location / {
        rewrite - /rpimonitor/ permanent;

    location /rpimonitor/ {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:8888;
        auth_basic            "Access Restricted";
        auth_basic_user_file  "/etc/nginx/.htpasswd";
        access_log /var/log/nginx/rpimonitor.access.log;
        error_log /var/log/nginx/rpimonitor.error.log;

    location /shellinabox/ {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:4200;
        auth_basic            "Access Restricted";
        auth_basic_user_file  "/etc/nginx/.htpasswd";
        access_log /var/log/nginx/shellinabox.access.log;
        error_log /var/log/nginx/shellinabox.error.log;

Activate the reverse proxy site and retart nginx with the following commands:

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/reverseproxy /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo service nginx restart

You can now start to test to access your configuration by browsing http://raspberrypi.local/. You will be automatically redirected to https://raspberrypi.local/rpimonitor/.

Configure the firewall

To finish our protection, we will then configure some basic firewall rules to reject every traffic but http (redirected to https), https and ssh. The following lines are doing the job:

sudo iptables -F
sudo iptables -A INPUT -i lo -p all -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A OUTPUT -o lo -p all -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport ssh -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport http -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport https -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -P INPUT DROP


  • line 1 : clean previously existing rules
  • lines 2 and 3 : Add a full access to lo interface (which can only be accessed locally and which is used by the reverse proxy to reach RPi-Monitor and shellinabox)
  • line 4 : continue to accept established connection on interface eth0
  • line 5 : accept connection to port ssh (22)
  • line 6 : accept connection to port http (80)
  • line 7 : accept connection to port https (443)
  • line 8 : drop anything else

Executing the command lines described upper will apply the firewall configuration but without persistence this means that the firewall configuration will disappear after reboot. To make the firewall persistent we need to install an additional package:

sudo apt-get install iptables-persistent

When the installation program ask you to record the actual ipv4 rules, answer yes and the job is done (you can skip ipv6 rules recording). The configuration is now stored into /etc/iptables/rules.v4 and will be reapplied at start-up.


Now your host is protected. You can try to access to RPi-Monitor directly http://raspberrypi.local:8888/ and you will have an error. If you try to access to it through the revers proxy http://raspberrypi.local/ you will have to authenticate before accessing to the server and once authenticated, you will be connected through a secured https connection.

Here it is we have a server which is now able to be connected on the internet.