SASL Authentication

The basic SMTP protocol does not provide a mechanism to authenticate users. Since email envelope addresses are so easy to fake, you can't know who is sending mail to your server unless you have a reliable means to authenticate clients. To allow mail relay privileges on your server, you need assurance that senders are who they claim to be, and you cannot rely on the senders' email addresses as identification. In this chapter, we look at using the Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) as a means to control mail relaying and generally to identify who is using your mail server.

You might want to provide access to individuals using your mail server as their SMTP server, or to other MTAs that relay through your system. We'll also look at configuring Postfix to provide its own credentials to other MTAs that may require authentication before permitting email delivery or relaying. Chapter 4 discusses the mail relay problem in general, and some other solutions to consider.

Because you lock down your mail servers to prevent unauthorized relaying, some of your users might have trouble sending email when they are not on your network. If you have users that travel with laptops, for example, they will likely connect through a nearby ISP and get an IP address from its dial-up pool. Or perhaps you have users that work from home. In any case, whenever you don't know what users' IP addresses will be, SASL can provide the means to reliably identify them.

RFC 2554, "SMTP Service Extension for Authentication," provides an extension to the basic SMTP protocol that allows clients to authenticate to an SMTP server using the SASL protocol. We'll show how to use the Cyrus SASL libraries from Carnegie Mellon to add SASL to Postfix. You may optionally also want to add support for TLS (see Chapter 13). TLS (formerly SSL) is most commonly used to encrypt conversations between web browsers and servers, but works equally well for mail servers and clients. Since some of the SASL password mechanisms transmit passwords as plaintext, you can use TLS to make sure your passwords are not sent in the clear.

Adding SASL to Postfix requires that you have the Cyrus libraries on your system and that your Postfix system be compiled with them. Remote users must configure their email clients to send a login and password when they want to relay mail through your system. Most modern email clients make this a fairly easy configuration option.



Postfix Architecture

General Configuration and Administration

Queue Management

Email and DNS

Local Delivery and POP/IMAP

Hosting Multiple Domains

Mail Relaying

Mailing Lists

Blocking Unsolicited Bulk Email

SASL Authentication

Transport Layer Security

Content Filtering

External Databases

Appendix A. Configuration Parameters

Appendix B. Postfix Commands

Appendix C. Compiling and Installing Postfix

Appendix D. Frequently Asked Questions

Postfix(c) The Definitive Guide
Postfix: The Definitive Guide
ISBN: 0596002122
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 130
Authors: Kyle Dent D. © 2008-2020.
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