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You will notice one thing about all the previous commands I have covered: they happen interactively. This works fine if you are using the command line. But many people want to retrieve their e-mail in the background (and indeed most users run Fetchmail in its daemon mode to achieve this). This means you use Fetchmail s other configuration style, the .fetchmailrc file. Fetchmail can read this file when launched from the command line or whilst running as a daemon. I will first look at getting Fetchmail running as a daemon. Listing 9-34 shows you how this works, and I will then explain how to use the various options of that command. Listing 9-34. Starting Fetchmail As a Daemon puppy# fetchmail -d 300 As you can see, starting Fetchmail as a daemon is simple; you need to use only the -d option and a polling interval (in seconds). Fetchmail will run as a daemon in the background and wake up every polling interval to check the remote system for e-mail.
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CHAPTER 9 s HARDENING REMOTE ACCESS TO E-MAIL
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Fetchmail uses the configuration it finds in the home directory of the user who has started Fetchmail, normally stored in the file .fetchmailrc. You can also override options in that file by adding command-line switches to Fetchmail. To give you an idea of what a typical .fetchmail file contains, I will duplicate the command-line configuration for Listing 9-30 and 9-31 in the form of .fetchmailrc files. The first example showed a simple, non-SSL-enabled retrieval of e-mail from an IMAP Listing 9-35 shows the .fetchmailrc equivalent to the non. SSL-enabled Fetchmail command in Listing 9-30. Listing 9-35. .fetchmailrc File poll kitten.yourdomain.com with proto IMAP user "bob" pass "yourpassword" This is mostly self-explanatory. As with Listing 9-30, you are polling kitten.yourdomain.com for the user bob s mail, which you want to retrieve via IMAP In the second example, Listing 9-31 . showed this retrieval using SSL-enabled IMAP Listing 9-36 shows the .fetchmailrc equivalent . of the SSL-enabled Fetchmail in Listing 9-31. Listing 9-36. .fetchmailrc File #2 poll kitten.yourdomain.com with proto IMAP user "bob" pass "yourpassword" ssl By adding the ssl line to the .fetchmailrc file, you have enabled SSL functionality. As you can see from both Listings 9-35 and 9-36, your password is contained in the .fetchmailrc file. This poses a risk if someone gets access to your .fetchmailrc file. It is a risk of your mail being intercepted and retrieved by someone else. Additionally, the password you are using to connect to the remote system is also often the password to a shell account on that remote system. That could allow an attacker to use that username and password to penetrate that remote system. So you need to protect your .fetchmailrc file as much as possible. The .fetchmailrc file needs to be owned by the user who is going to launch Fetchmail and have the tightest possible permissions. I recommend you chmod the .fetchmailrc file to 0600. Fetchmail will not start if the .fetchmailrc file is not owned by the user who is starting Fetchmail or if that file has permissions more than 0710. This will restrict who can access your .fetchmailrc file, but it stills means your password is present in that file. If this seems to be an undue risk to you, then I recommend you refrain from using Fetchmail in this way. Finally, in the previous section, I showed you how to tunnel Fetchmail through an SSH connection. You will remember that starting the ssh port forwarding requires that you enter your shell password on the remote system to make the connection. Obviously, when running in daemon mode, you will not be able to provide this password to Fetchmail. So you need to find an alternative method of authenticating the SSH connection. You have a couple of ways of doing this. In the first example, you need to create an SSH key pair using the ssh-keygen command, as you can see in Listing 9-37, and add the public key to the authorized_keys file on the remote system. I will create the key pair without a passphrase to stop Fetchmail prompting for one.
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