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Re: Remote email access

  • From: Valdis.Kletnieks
  • Date: Tue Feb 04 13:21:03 2003

On Tue, 04 Feb 2003 09:05:17 EST, Daniel Senie said:

> This is, IMO, unworkable in the near term. While I support and promote the 
> use of TLS with SMTP (and POP), requiring client certs is likely too 
> cumbersome for users to manage at this stage. Using STARTTLS to transition 
> clients to an encrypted connection works exceptionally well. The server 
> does need a cert, but the users are identifying with a methodology they 
> understand, usernames and passwords.

I've personally been advocating setting up Sendmail with a self-signed
certificate and opportunistic STARTTLS.   Yes, I know it's not immune to
man-in-the-middle attacks - but it's *quite* sufficient to stop passive
sniffing of userids/passwords/text.  And it doesn't require much infrastructure.

> The question this raises is whether you're concerned about MTA to MTA 
> communication, or MUA to MTA? I'd be happy to see certs in use for MTA-MTA 
> (and indeed support this today on my systems when talking to other MTAs 
> which are using STARTTLS). However, there are definitely reasons why this 

One of my hosts (a fair-sized Listserv server) sent out some 278K connections
to other sites yesterday.  Of the 3,453 domains it talked to, 123 were
willing to do STARTTLS, for a deployment rate of 3.5%.

Unfortunately, working across connections, only 0.53% used it.  If the 10
busiest sites we talked to deployed STARTTLS, it would jump to some 27% of
the traffic.

				Valdis Kletnieks
				Computer Systems Senior Engineer
				Virginia Tech

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