FOSS: Claims that Thunderbird has better security than Evolution?

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by Crewcut, May 25, 2020.

  1. Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    Hi all, I'm trying to understand if this chat has any legs, and what you all make of it?

    "Thunderbird can be plugged into PGP - which I have - and I can send emails encrypted by PGP WITH 4096 bit keys. Evolution does not support PGP. The other email client that supports PGP IS K-mail."

    Guy pushed back quoting: "Evolution supports both OpenPGP and S/MIME for secure messaging." https://www.lifewire.com/evolution-email-program-1164861

    Answer went....

    "when you create a pair of keys for GPG, one is a public key and the other is private key. You export you PUBLIC key to the people you wish to communicate with, so they'll use it to encrypt the emails sent to you, then you use your PRIVATE key to decrypt the email sent to you encrypted with your PUBLIC key - which must be available to anyone so they can encrypt emails sent to you. Your PRIVATE key is and should be SECRET. You use it to decrypt the emails sent to you encrypted with your PUBLIC key. You must provide your public key to anyone you communicate with, assuming they too have PGP or the open source GPG which is the same like PGP ECXEPT that GnuPG IS open source and free encryption unlike the MIT's PGP which is expensive. This kind of 2-key encryption-decryption system is called "assymetric encryption. You can ALSO use symetric encryption which uses just one key for both encryption and decryption using a password known only to you and the party you communicate with, but this symetric encryption is easy to break unlike assymetric encryption in which one key is used to encrypt messages or entire folders and another key used to decrypt messages or folders. The private key should be guarded very very well and stored on a removable medium like a pendrive or microSD card. The public key is part of your private key so one cannot work without the other. No one can break a 4096 bit key. So save and guard your private key on an USB flash drive. Without this key you won't be able to decrypt the emails or files/folders.

    Also I need to mention that GPG comes with every Linux distro unlike Windows. Linux authenticates packages with GnuPG keys of the developers, so it's preinstalled on Linux. You have to create a key pair and you're good to go. Make sure you choose the 4096 bit key length when setting up the GnuPG.
    ________________

    Finally, I've been trying to import into Thunderbird on my iMac but it will not work. Is there a patch or anything I need to download for Thunderbird to help it actually transfer my Apple mboxes?
     
  2. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Sounds like two nincompoops arguing on the Internet.

    1) PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) was originally a proprietary tool, however the open encryption standard it implements is known as OpenPGP. GNU Privacy Guard aka GnuPG aka GPG supports the OpenPGP standard.

    2) Both Evolution and Thunderbird can support OpenPGP via GnuPG.

    3) Very few people use PGP at all. Both parties need keys set up in order to securely pass emails back and forth. In my several decades of commercial computer use and administration, I've met maybe 10 people who used PGP for regular email, mostly because it's apparently too complex for regular people without IT support. It's far more commonly used for package signing in open source.

    Your three choices:

    1) Ensure all your mail is set up in IMAP and synchronised to the server from Apple Mail. Install Thunderbird, point to the IMAP account, and sync to it.

    2) Export your Apple Mail mbox format. Import that in Thunderbird.

    3) Do away with legacy clients, migrate wholesale to cloud email providers. If you care about privacy and hate Google/Microsoft, use Proton Mail.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    OK, yes, all makes sense - especially point 3 which I think is the main one. Like, why am I even letting this bother me? I've not done it so far, and if I were going to the likelihood isn't that I might just switch to a different email client for it, but a whole new operating system! (Hello Tails & Darkweb, both things I haven't bothered with really.)

    I just want my day to day email to feel somewhat familiar to what I'm used to in the motherly (but suffocating) embrace of Apple.
    (I'm trying to get my geek on and play with things I normally wouldn't or couldn't in mac, hence my move to Linux in a few months.)


    I have nearly 5 gigs / 16 years of mail stored "On my Mac" in the mail software on the hard drive. Will IMAP still work? How do I make those archived "On my Mac" mailboxes IMAP ready to go back up to the server?

    It just doesn't work. I've been hovering over and right clicking and exporting that way, selecting an individual mailbox (and I have about 30ish) and using the Mailbox / Export Mailbox function, and I've even tried just using the Thunderbird native Import from Mail function. It just doesn't work.

    So is Proton something I would ask my Aussie webhost / email provider about?
     
  4. FerrisXB9R

    FerrisXB9R Member

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    You need to stretch your google-fu a little bit mate.

    Protonmail is a cloud mail setup provided by the guys who make Protonvpn. If you had just googled protonmail, you'd immediately see what Elvis was talking about.
     
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  5. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    What happens when the hard drive fails? Do you lose all that mail?

    I'd love to help, but you need to give me more than this. In the infinite amount of things you can do on a computer, I can't guess the actions you took. Please tell me the exact sequence of things you did, down to the mouse click.

    Apple's documentation shows you how to export mail to an mbox file (i.e.: a file with a .mbox extension):
    https://support.apple.com/en-au/guide/mail/mlhlp1030/mac

    Once you've generated that file, Thunderbird can import it by clicking Tools -> ImportExportTools -> Import mbox file. Point to your exported mbox file.

    5GB of mail is honestly nothing. I've helped folks migrate many times that amount. Google offer 15GB in their free account tier, and allow you to expand to TB levels for a fee.

    https://protonmail.com/
     
  6. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    ditto... Protonmail was created by the dudes that do IT / mail for CERN because they needed a secure reliable mail provider, ProtonVPN came second. ;)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ProtonMail
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    No as I have Mac's Time-Machine backup and swap the A drive for the B drive at dad's once a month.
    It can be good to have your own hard-drive backup.... see below under IMAP.

    I have used both mouse hover-over mailbox and right-click to export to mbox and the tools => export mailbox routines, and done pretty much as you said.

    I also wonder if my High Sierra 2011 imac OS is just a bit old and buggy and not exporting properly?
    This article from 2014 suggested opening the mbox folder and renaming one of the files.

    One of the 3 files.

    I export a mailbox and it only has 2 files... I'm missing the info.plist.
    Anyway, unless something screams out at you from the description of my mailboxes, I had a little success with IMAP server solutions last night.

    Great to hear!
    I'll double check all this with my hosts about limits, but I think I've figured out how to IMAP into Thunderbird.
    Thanks so much for your help!
     
  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    info.plist files are typically very small XML files with some Apple-only metadata in them. Thunderbird doesn't need these.

    All you need is a file with a .mbox extension (i.e.: the file should be called something like "inbox.mbox"). These can contain multiple folders within (depends on how its exported). So they should be quite large in size - equalling or even exceeding the size of your email (as the BASE64 encoding makes things about 10% larger).

    It sounds to me like either you're not giving the file the right extension, or pointing to the wrong file. You're obviously generating a file - what size is it? What's the full name (including extension)? If Finder isn't showing you the full name including extensions of a file, turn that on so you can see what's going on.

    Thunderbird wants an mbox format file with a .mbox extension. Apple Mail generates these fine. Name them appropriately and they should import.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    Sounds like you've had experience with Apple? Cool. I'll have another play tonight when I get home - work is strictly PC, with heavy admin lockdown of any higher functions so us mere plebs can't break anything. ;-)
     
  10. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Up until 2019 I adminned a moderately sized multi platform site (about 40% Mac desktops, 40% Linux desktops, 20% Windows desktops - about 400 desktops all up across 9 or so sites in 4 countries, depending on jobs we'd won).

    Through to around 2014 they were running Apple Mail on the Mac desktops. But we switched at that point over to GMail (corporate GSuite), and pushed everyone to the web interface on desktops, and the Google-provide apps for mobile, just because they did a better job at dealing with the native information.

    Apple's various mail clients are quite legacy now. And honestly, so is Thunderbird. While they're familiar, they are a vestige of an era that has since left us. I know I couldn't work within the confines of what legacy email clients offered any more, especially in a fast moving world where silos of information hold us back, and needing to be at a particular physical machine to do a task is too restrictive. That, and when I'm searching 10s of GB of mail for particular text lines, Google's search comes back in fractions of a second, whereas Apple Mail and Thunderbird take their sweet time, even on high speed SSDs.

    Anyways, I digress. It's been quite a while since I adminned Apple Mail (since we dropped it in 2014), and I've forgotten a lot of it. But basic mail import/export is fairly common, and there's a lot of folks even today who are in your shoes, wanting to migrate from a legacy mail systems to cloud email. Although for cloud migrations I find IMAP easier. For import to Thunderbird from a legacy POP mail system, mbox is faster, but IMAP is also effective.
     
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  11. OP
    OP
    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    Ah, higher level admin - that's my next life.
    Either that or cyber-security, because I watched Mr Robot.
    Yeah, like watching a TV show really lets me know what security would be like! :lol:

    Hmmm, yes, Thunderbird does seem a bit 'quaint' in its design. I do like Gmail for my blogging and forum discussions. I'm used to it, know how to search through it and tag things in multiple ways. Interesting. I'll have to have a good think.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    All right, I really think my old 10.13.6 High Sierra is broken.
    I select a mailbox.
    I right click.
    I export mailbox.
    I carefully choose a folder to place the newly archived mbox.
    Mail does something.
    Mbox is there.
    I double click on mbox and there are 2 files.
    Then what is meant to happen? I should see a bunch of emails in there, right? I've got nothing.
    I think it's broken, and I'm nervous to try any kind of resetting of mac mail in case I lose something...
    ... so the bottom line is unless there's something easy and obvious you've got in mind, I'm really glad you reminded me of the IMAP & gmail option.
    Because that looks like the main way out of my predicament!
     
  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    What are the file names? Full name, including extension. (Ensure Finder is not hiding extensions for you).

    You should see a file with a .mbox extension. A single file that will have all your emails inside it (think of it like a large database).
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    There's just one folder called name.mbox.
    The folder graphic is the email intray-graphic, not just a normal system folder.
    I double click and inside are two text files full of codey kludge. They don't seem to have file extensions, and are just...
    mbox
    table_of_contents

    I double click on them and nothing happens.
     
  15. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    This is expected. It's just an mbox file. No point double-clicking it.

    They're full of BASE64 encoded emails. That's not "kludge". That's how email is encoded and transmitted.

    Is the "name.mbox" item an actual folder, and not something silly like macOS/Finder showing you inside the file? Can you verify from the command line? (GUIs are horrible and lie to you). Also what at the file sizes of each of these files. I'm assuming "mbox" is large (all your mail), and the table_of_contents is tiny.

    From here I would attempt:

    1) Open Thunderbird, click Tools -> ImportExportTools -> Import mbox file -> "Import directly one or more mbox files" -> point to name.mbox folder

    If that fails, rename the individual file "mbox" to "mbox.mbox" (i.e.: give it an extension), and then attempt the import again directly to the file instead of the parent folder

    2) Open Thunderbird, click Tools -> ImportExportTools -> Import mbox file -> "Import directly one or more mbox files" -> Point to the "mbox.mbox" file you just renamed.
     
  16. flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    I use Thunderbird with Gsuite and I find it fantastic - It craps all over Outlook which has trouble authenticating and connecting to Exchange/O365 accounts as well as Gsuite accounts at times, something I never experience under Thunderbird using OAuth2.

    I even sync my Google calendar using the Lightning plugin and it works perfectly. Furthermore, I find the interface attractive without being stupidly complicated (Outlook).

    I cannot stand the settings configuration of Apple Mail under MacOS, the way accounts work under Apple Mail is a downright Dog's breakfast - Not to mention the way it updates mail server settings all on it's own if you don't untick one checkbox, usually making a mess of things.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  17. OP
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    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    I'm kinda in a state of shock and grief because of Mac Mail. Thank goodness my business email syncing all worked and is fine in my separate business gmail account, but in the process I moved some blogging folders around in Mac Mail to tidy it up quickly and it didn't sync properly with gmail which instead took the command as an instruction to delete it all. I was using my personal gmail as a personal wiki for blogging because I could access it from work during lunch and slow periods. (There are bans on Onedrive or Google Drive at work.) I've lost 8 years of blogging archives - all because I'm a noob that trusted mac mail too much. Never again. KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid. I'll just use gmail from the browser for now.
     
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  18. flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Apple Mail under MacOS It's total garbage.

    For clients that want pretty email I install BlueMail now. It's available for every platform including Linux and looks pretty, so your average Mum and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa types like it.

    https://www.bluemail.me/
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Crewcut

    Crewcut Member

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    I like pretty, but gmail is pretty and I can't break anything like I already have.
     

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