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Due to PCI-DSS, we are required to disable plaintext authentication. We've achieved this by encapsulating communications between our mail server and clients with TLS on port 465.

The problem lies in that port 25 must remain open and unencrypted for us to receive email from the internet, but should not allow authentication.

I've tried disabling the AUTH command, but that breaks authentication on port 465, too.

Is there a mail server or proxy that will allow separate configuration for port 25 and 465, such that authentication is only available over a secure channel?

Also noteworthy: we are using MailEnable with stunnel in FIPS mode.


MailEnable supplied a patched SMTP executable that allowed me to configure via Windows' registry whether authorization is offered on each listening port. This solved my problem—hopefully, they will publish the patch as a hotfix.

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Can't you just block connections from the internal network to port 25? – symcbean May 14 '12 at 22:26
That's not good enough for Qualys, unfortunately: any mention of AUTH LOGIN is a fail and an EHLO spits it right out on 25 or 465. – callovarne May 14 '12 at 22:40
Is postfix capable of disabling auth on one of two or more listening ports? – callovarne May 14 '12 at 23:48
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes, postfix is perfectly capable of this.

Take a look at the Postfix HOWTO:

and particularly:

(those two pages are linked from the fairly extensive official Postfix docs page

For my server, the configuration in looks like:

# ==========================================================================
# service type  private unpriv  chroot  wakeup  maxproc command + args
#               (yes)   (yes)   (yes)   (never) (100)
# ==========================================================================
smtp      inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd
submission inet n       -       n       -       -       smtpd
  -o smtpd_tls_security_level=encrypt
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING
smtps     inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd
  -o smtpd_tls_wrappermode=yes
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING

And has a line like:

smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_mynetworks, permit_sasl_authenticated, reject_unauth_destination

In this case, authentication is only turned on for the submission (587) and SMTPS (465) ports.

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Now, to find a HOWTO on convincing Windows-entrenched executives to leverage a Unix-based system. ;D Thank you for the resources, @cjc. I've some reading to do. – callovarne May 15 '12 at 4:01

It seems that the Postfix’s option smtpd_tls_auth_only = yes is exactly what you search. It allows to use SMTP AUTH only when TLS is activated, which is only relevant on port 25 for your configuration.

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You can also do the following to only advertize tls on certain ports with exim4.

tls_advertise_hosts =${if eq {$interface_port}{587} {*}{}}

So only clients connecting from and clients connecting through port 587 would be offered tls. As long as your auth setting are setup to require tls before advertise, only clients using port 587 with TLS would be able to use auth.

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Excellent! So far, my MailEnable and stunnel configuration is holding strong following the fix. It's nice to have options, should my employer become less Microsoft-entrenched—thank you. – callovarne Aug 2 '12 at 4:44

Exim lets you set:

server_advertise_condition = ${if def:tls_cipher}

on an authentication driver, so it's only advertised/available within TLS.

Exim is very frequently used as a frontend gateway between MS mail servers and the open Internet; LDAP integration letting you query AD for address verification, authentication, etc; decent integration into various malware detectors, etc.

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MailEnable is working on a fix, but I'm not very optimistic—thank you for the information on Exim and configuration as a frontend. – callovarne May 28 '12 at 4:56

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