Monday, 7 February 2011

CRiSP Email Handling

A long time ago, an email reading client was added to CRiSP. Its not
a primary function, and nobody uses it. It was added as a personal
need to avoid some of the problems of all mailers out there, specifically
need to handle Unix mbox format files, private archiving (I have
all emails from customers, dating back to around 1991 or earlier).

As a body of text, its useful for "datamining", e.g. I used it for
writing a full text searching engine, and hit many problems (much
of my mailbox, like yours, is full of spam), but it has allowed
me to understand the complexity and issues with such research areas.

But the mail client lives on. All my mail is done through CRiSP - never
through the many email tools or web portals (such as gmail, or hotmail).

The big companies understand the importance of having your data
on their servers, but that is not my consideration.

The most important factor is that: CRiSP is immune to viruses! Yes,
someone could bother to reverse engineer CRiSP and look for implementation
flaws and allow a virus through, but CRiSPs email explicitly does
"nothing clever".

[I am not trying to "sell" you CRiSPs email client - it is not pretty,
but its sufficient, for me].

But its worth noting that none of the original dumb, text-mode email
clients ever could suffer from viruses, because of this issue.

As mail clients have evolved, and web browsers are used, the
"sum of parts" issue kicks in - that unexpected side effects of
things like mime handling, attachments, javascript, and other
mean that getting unchecked code through your machine is viable.

Of course, most emails these days are from exactly those applications
I normally avoid, and with the myriad of encoding methodologies, I
have to manually save/extract/decode the files.

[I have my own "spam" mailbox pruning tool].

Today I have been enhancing a part of CRiSP to better handle
mime/base64 encoded emails. The functionality is mostly hidden/undocumented
(there is an encrypt_buffer() general purpose primitive, which allows
for various data conversions.

Eventually I may decide how to expose this to the end user (not as
a mail client, but as a generic file-loading/parsing facilty).

Anyway, now you know what occupies a part of my time.

[I need to fix my email attachment mechanism].


Post created by CRiSP v10.0.3b-b5941

No comments:

Post a Comment