How to Log URL Request Strings
Google's choice of 1 GB of space started a chain reaction throughout free
email providers. The following is a list of email providers that have bumped
up their user quotas to compete with Gmail:
Spymac: spymac.com - 1 GB
Rediff: rediff.com - 1 GB
Hotmail: hotmail.com - 250 MB
Yahoo!: mail.yahoo.com - 100 MB
As time goes on, I am sure that this list is going to continue to grow, but
already (assuming you only use one account per provider), you have almost 4 GB
of free remote storage at your fingertips. Given approximately 30 kB per
email message, this is enough storage to backup 139,810 email messages!
But do you really trust these email providers with your personal emails?
What if Spymac was to go bankrupt and sell their storage hard drives on eBay?
What if a new Hotmail flaw allows access to any inbox without a password?
The following is a simple method to encrypt your mailbox with AES 256
encryption, backup up your mail securely and automatically to these huge free
'Mcrypt' encrypts files using the libmcrypt libraries. To install mcrypt,
if you are on Debian, simply type "apt-get install mcrypt". If you are on
FreeBSD, simply type "cd /usr/ports/security/mcrypt; make install clean".
If you need to compile it from source, you will also need to install 'mhash'
(mhash.sf.net). All three of the packages (mhash, libmcrypt, and mcrypt,
installed in that order) only need "./configure; make all install" to install
under Mac OS X with developer tools installed.
You need mcrypt installed on your mail server, but you can keep it installed
as an unprivileged user if your sysadmin won't install it for you. In your home
directory, create a file called '.mcryptrc' which has the following lines:
In most Unix-based systems, your inbox is kept in either ~/mbox,
/var/mail/username, or /var/spool/mail/username. If all you want to do is keep
your inbox, figure out which one it is and use the following commands to
compress, encrypt, and then mail yourself a copy of your mailbox:
tar -pscj $mbox | mcrypt -q -c ~/.mcrypttc > ~/mail.`date +%m.%d.%y`.tar.bz2.nc
echo | mutt -a ~/mail.`date +%m.%d.%y`.tar.bz2.nc -s "Mail backup for `date +%m/%d/%y`" $backupaddress
rm ~/mail.`date +%m.%d.%y`.tar.bz2.nc
Now you can easily make this into a shell script and run it every week as
a cron job. You can also make different scripts with different free email
accounts to distribute your mail for redundancy or send your mail to different
accounts every week to stretch out the capacity of those 4 GB.
If you ever need to decrypt your mail backup, all you would have to do is
download it and run "mcrypt -d somefile.tar.bz2.nc". It will ask you for your
password and you type whatever you have in your .mcryptrc file. Then you type
"tar xfj somefile.tar.bz2" and you now have your mailbox back.
Of course, you can use this technique for any type of files, not just mail
backups, but having accidentally deleted all of my email in the past, I wanted
to setup a reliable system where I could never lose my information again and
not have to burn CDs every week.
If your backup file gets too big (more than 50 MB or so), the command
"split -b 50m somefile.tar.bz2.nc" will split your file into 50 MB chunks
which can then be emailed and put back together again later.
Hope this proves useful. There are other systems out there
(ilia.ws/archives/15_Gmail_as_an_online_backup_system.html) that can
allow Gmail to act more like a backup system, but this way of thinking about
mail allows for more security and flexibility.
Props to Madeline for putting up with me and Hexwizard for always being