Sunday, April 19, 2009

Email TLS (ssl) Support

Over the past couple of years, I have had a few users ask about using SSL (TLS) for emails. Since the cost of providing that capability is around $750.00, I have not included it in Weather Message.

I did write a document that described how to setup Weather Message to use Stunnel to provide the SSL capability. Stunnel is a freeware application that creates a secure tunnel for sending emails to a SSL server. This approach does work with Gmail, however, users have to follow the directions carefully.

I got 4 emails last week from users that need the SSL capability. I am investigating this capability again. Microsoft does have a built-in capability to send emails to a server that uses TLS. The only draw back is that the Microsoft method does not provide any debugging information. It either works or fails.

I am looking into adding support for this built-in smtp client. The challenge now is switching between the existing code (no ssl) and the new code. I prefer the existing solution for non-ssl emails because it provides good debugging information.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Web Server Access / Blocking Foreign Countries

For the past week I have been monitoring a number of attempts to break into the server that hosts the Weather Message website. The hackers tripped the account lock out mechanism in windows several times.

I have been adding a range of ip addresses to the router's firewall in order to completely block their access to the server. So far all of the ip addresses have originated in China.

If any one has trouble accessing the webserver, please let me know. I am trying not to block any US ip addresses.