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Reporting Services Custom Security Sample for Power BI Report Server and SQL Reporting Services 2017

This project contains a sample and the steps that allow you to deploy a custom security extension to SQL Reporting Services 2017 or Power BI Report Server.


Custom Authentication in SSRS and Power BI Report Server

SSRS 2016 introduced a new portal to host new OData APIs and host new report workloads such as mobile reports and KPIS. This new portal relies in newer technologies and is isolated from the familiar ReportingServicesService by running in a separate process. This process is not an ASP.NET hosted application and as such breaks assumptions from existing custom security extensions. Moreover, the current interfaces for custom security extensions don't allow for any external context to be passed-in, leaving implementers with the only choice to inspect well-known global ASP.NET Objects, this required some changes to the interface.

What Changed?

A new interface is introduced that can be implemented which provides an IRSRequestContext providing the more common properties used by extensions to make decisions related to authentication. In previous version ReportManager was the front-end and could be configured with its own custom login page, in SSRS2016 only one page hosted by reportserver is supported and should authenticate to both applications.

In previous versions extensions, could rely on a common assumption that ASP.NET objects would be readily available, since the new portal does not run in the extension might hit issues with objects being NULL. The most generic example is accessing HttpContext.Current to read request information such as headers and cookies. In order to allow extensions to make the same decisions we introduced a new method in the extension that provides request information and is called when authenticating from the portal.

Extensions should implement the IAuthenticationExtension2 interface to leverage this. The extensions will need to implement both versions of GetUserInfo method, as is called by the reportserver context and other used in webhost process. The sample below shows one of the simple implementations for the portal where the identity resolved by the reportserver is the one used.

    public void GetUserInfo(IRSRequestContext requestContext, out IIdentity userIdentity, out IntPtr userId)
        userIdentity = null;
        if (requestContext.User != null)
            userIdentity = requestContext.User;
        // initialize a pointer to the current user id to zero
        userId = IntPtr.Zero;


Step 1: Creating the UserAccounts Database

The sample includes a database script, Createuserstore.sql, that enables you to set up a user store for the Forms sample in a SQL Server database. Script is in the CustomSecuritySample\Setup folder.

  • To create the UserAccounts database
  • Open SQL Server Management Studio, and then connect to your local instance of SQL Server.
  • Locate the Createuserstore.sql SQL script file. The script file is contained within the sample project files.
  • Run the query to create the UserAccounts database.
  • Exit SQL Server Management Studio.

Step 2: Building the Sample

You must first compile and install the extension. The procedure assumes that you have installed Reporting Services to the default location: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Power BI Report Server\PBIRS\ReportServer\ or C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services\SSRS\ReportServer. This location will be referred to throughout the remainder of this topic as <install>.

If you have not already created a strong name key file, generate the key file using the following instructions.

To generate a strong name key file

  • Open a Microsoft Visual Studio prompt and point to .Net Framework 4.0.
  • Use the change directory command (CD) to change the current directory of the command prompt window to the folder where the project is saved.
  • At the command prompt, run the following command to generate the key file: sn -k SampleKey.snk .

To compile the sample using Visual Studio

  • Open CustomSecuritySample.sln in Microsoft Visual Studio.
  • In Solution Explorer, select the CustomSecuritySample project.
  • Look at the CustomSecuritySample project's references. If you do not see Microsoft.ReportingServices.Interfaces.dll, then complete the following steps:
  • On the Project menu, click Add Reference. The Add References dialog box opens.
  • Click the .NET tab.
  • Click Browse, and find Microsoft.ReportingServices.Interfaces on your local drive. By default, the assembly is in the <install>\ReportServer\bin directory. Click OK. The selected reference is added to your project.
  • On the Build menu, click Build Solution.


To debug the extension, you might want to attach the debugger to both ReportingServicesService.exe and Microsoft.ReportingServices.Portal.Webhost.exe. And add breakpoints to the methods implementing the interface IAuthenticationExtension2.

Step 3: Deployment and Configuration

The basic configurations needed for custom security extension are the same as previous releases. Following changes are needed in for web.config and rsreportserver.config present in the ReportServer folder. There is no longer a separate web.config for the reportmanager, the portal will inherit the same settings as the reportserver endpoint.

To deploy the sample

  • Copy the Logon.aspx page to the <install>\ReportServer directory.
  • Copy Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.dll and Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.pdb to the <install>\ReportServer\bin directory.
  • Copy Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.dll and Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.pdb to the <install>\Portal directory.
  • Copy Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.dll and Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.pdb to the <install>\PowerBI directory. (This only needs to be done for Power BI Report Server.)

If a PDB file is not present, it was not created by the Build step provided above. Ensure that the Project Properties for Debug/Build is set to generate PDB files.

Modify files in the ReportServer Folder

  • To modify the RSReportServer.config file.

  • Open the RSReportServer.config file with Visual Studio or a simple text editor such as Notepad. RSReportServer.config is located in the <install>\ReportServer directory.

  • Locate the <AuthenticationTypes> element and modify the settings as follows:

  • Locate the <Security> and <Authentication> elements, within the <Extensions> element, and modify the settings as follows:

    	<Extension Name="Forms" Type="Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.Authorization, Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity" >
    	<Extension Name="Forms" Type="Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.AuthenticationExtension,Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity" />

Note: If you are running the sample security extension in a development environment that does not have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate installed, you must change the value of the <UseSSL> element to False in the previous configuration entry. We recommend that you always use SSL when combining Reporting Services with Forms Authentication.

To modify the RSSrvPolicy.config file

  • You will need to add a code group for your custom security extension that grants FullTrust permission for your extension. You do this by adding the code group to the RSSrvPolicy.config file.

  • Open the RSSrvPolicy.config file located in the <install>\ReportServer directory.

  • Add the following <CodeGroup> element after the existing code group in the security policy file that has a URL membership of $CodeGen as indicated below and then add an entry as follows to RSSrvPolicy.config. Make sure to change the below path according to your ReportServer installation directory:

    	Description="Code group for the sample security extension"
    	Url="C:\Program Files\Microsoft Power BI Report Server\PBIRS\ReportServer\bin\Microsoft.Samples.ReportingServices.CustomSecurity.dll"/>

Note: For simplicity, the Forms Authentication Sample is weak-named and requires a simple URL membership entry in the security policy files. In your production security extension implementation, you should create strong-named assemblies and use the strong name membership condition when adding security policies for your assembly. For more information about strong-named assemblies, see the Creating and Using Strong-Named Assemblies topic on MSDN.

To modify the Web.config file for Report Server

  • Open the Web.config file in a text editor. By default, the file is in the <install>\ReportServer directory.

  • Locate the <identity> element and set the Impersonate attribute to false.

    <identity impersonate="false" />
  • Locate the <authentication> element and change the Mode attribute to Forms. Also, add the following <forms> element as a child of the <authentication> element and set the loginUrl, name, timeout, and path attributes as follows:

    <authentication mode="Forms">
    	<forms loginUrl="logon.aspx" name="sqlAuthCookie" timeout="60" path="/"></forms>
  • Add the following <authorization> element directly after the <authentication> element.

    <deny users="?" />

This will deny unauthenticated users the right to access the report server. The previously established loginUrl attribute of the <authentication> element will redirect unauthenticated requests to the Logon.aspx page.

Step 4: Generate Machine Keys

Using Forms authentication requires that all report server processes can access the authentication cookie. This involves configuring a machine key and decryption algorithm - a familiar step for those who had previously setup SSRS to work in scale-out environments.

Generate and add <MachineKey> under <Configuration> in your RSReportServer.config file.

<MachineKey ValidationKey="[YOUR KEY]" DecryptionKey="[YOUR KEY]" Validation="AES" Decryption="AES" />

Check the casing of the attributes, it should be Pascal Casing as the example above

There is not need for a <system.web> entry

You should use a validation key specific for you deployment, there are several tools to generate the keys such as Internet Information Services Manager (IIS)

Step 5: Configure Passthrough cookies

The new portal and the reportserver communicate using internal soap APIs for some of its operations. When additional cookies are required to be passed from the portal to the server the PassThroughCookies properties is still available. More Details: In the rsreportserver.config file add following under <UI>


Automatic configuration of the sample

All the steps are automated in a PowerShell Script, if you have a Power BI Report Server default installation you can run (the script is only valid for Power BI Report Server, for SSRS you need to follow the manual steps)


This configuration is not intended to use in production, you should generate your own strong name key and your own authentication key different of those used in the sample

Code Of Conduct

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact with any additional questions or comments.

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