SMTP authentication in Exim

Posted on Wed 28 January 2015 in Linux

No more Google SMTP for your aliases

Since August last year, Google have grandfathered a feature in GMail that allows you to create aliases in your account and send emails as those aliases from their SMTP servers:

For any new aliases, you will need to provide your own SMTP servers.
If you have a VPS of some sort, this is how you can set up simple SMTP authentication in Exim to pipe your emails through your server and keep using the Google web interface.

SMTP Authentication

LOGIN and PLAIN auth differs in the fact that LOGIN will prompt for the username/password explicitely whereas in PLAIN the client is expected to send both in one blob.
Practically the only difference is an additional null byte at the beginning of the LOGIN blob send to the server.


How to set up simple SMTP LOGIN auth with SHA1 (alternative is crypt or MD5..):

exim.conf file (based on a  Ubuntu template):

CONFDIR = /etc/exim4/
begin authenticators

driver = plaintext
public_name = LOGIN
server_prompts = <| Username: | Password:
server_advertise_condition = ${if def:tls_cipher }
server_condition = "${if crypteq {$auth2}{\\\{sha1\\\}${extract{1}{:}{${lookup{$auth1}lsearch{CONFDIR/passwd}{$value}{*:*}}}}}{1}{0}}"
server_set_id = $auth1

passwd file:

username:[PASSWORD HASH]

How to generate password hash:

perl -MDigest::SHA=sha1_hex -e 'print sha1_hex($ARGV[0]),"\n"' [PASSWORD]

To test this, you need to encode the username/pass in base64:

# cat
use MIME::Base64;
printf ("%s", encode_base64(eval "\"$ARGV[0]\""));
# perl 'username\0password'
# exim -bh localhost
> ehlo test
> auth login dXNlcm5hbWUAcGFzc3dvcmQ=

If you'd rather have a PLAIN auth, just change the snippet in exim.conf to:

exim.conf file

CONFDIR = /etc/exim4/
begin authenticators

driver = plaintext
public_name = PLAIN
server_advertise_condition = ${if def:tls_cipher }
server_condition = "${if crypteq {$auth3}{\\\{sha1\\\}${extract{1}{:}{${lookup{$auth2}lsearch{CONFDIR/passwd}{$value}{*:*}}}}}{1}{0}}"
server_set_id = $auth2

to test, run:

# perl '\0username\0password'
# exim -bh localhost
> ehlo test
> auth plain AHVzZXJuYW1lAHBhc3N3b3Jk

Test with SSL by using this instead of 'exim -bh':

openssl s_client -connect