Articles tagged with #pgp

Auto encrypt all Incoming Email with postfix

in projects :: #admin, #coding, #gpgmail, #pgp

I am running my own mail server for a while now. Since the beginning I was thinking about how to store the mails encrypted, so that no one can read the mails with access to the server. The solution I came up with is relative easy to setup and is based upon OpenPGP/GnuPGP.

The basic idea is to take incoming mail before it is stored and encrypt it. I'm running postfix, which has the option to filter queued mails with external content filters. A content filter gets a mail via stdin, does whatever it needs to do and either rejects a mail or put it back into the mail queue.

I wrote a relativ simple Python script that takes a mail from stdin, processes it and then writes it back to stdout. The script can either decrypt, encrypt, sign or sign and encrypt a mail. It also tries to protect the mail headers following the memoryhole specs and supports Thunderbirds/Enigmails encrypted subject feature. The drawback is that Enigmail only supports the encrypted header from the memoryhole specs and other mail clients don't support them at all. For the content_filter in postfix I wrote a Bash script, that will resend the encrypted mail to put it back into the mail queue. The scripts can be found on GitHub.


  1. Install gpgmail
  2. Add a new user:

    adduser --shell /bin/false --home /home/gpgmail --disabled-password --disabled-login --gecos "" gpgmail
  3. Create .gnupg folder and change permissions:

    mkdir /home/gpgmail/.gnupg
    chown gpgmail:gpgmail /home/gpgmail/.gnupg/
    chmod 700 /home/gpgmail/.gnupg/
  4. If mails should not just get encrypted but also signed, create a new key pair:

    sudo -u gpgmail /usr/bin/gpg --homedir=/home/gpgmail/.gnupg --expert --full-gen-key
  5. Import public keys and chnage trust:

    sudo -u gpgmail /usr/bin/gpg --homedir=/home/gpgmail/.gnupg --import /home/gpgmail/pubkey.asc
    sudo -u gpgmail /usr/bin/gpg --homedir=/home/gpgmail/.gnupg --edit-key <KEY> trust save
    sudo -u gpgmail /usr/bin/gpg --homedir=/home/gpgmail/.gnupg --edit-key <KEY> trust quit
  6. Edit /etc/postfix/

    smtp          inet  n       -       y       -       -       smtpd -o content_filter=gpgmail-pipe
    smtps         inet  n       -       y       -       -       smtpd -o content_filter=gpgmail-pipe
    submission    inet  n       -       y       -       -       smtpd -o content_filter=gpgmail-pipe
    gpgmail-pipe  unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
      flags=Rq user=gpgmail argv=/usr/bin/gpgmail-postfix sign-encrypt gnupghome=/home/gpgmail/.gnupg key=<KEY_ID> passphrase=<PASSPHRASE> encrypt-subject -oi -f ${sender} ${recipient}
  7. Restart postfix.