Nixsys Public Access UNIX System

Secure WebMail



The Secure WebMail interface provides additional options that many other webmail interfaces do not. Users are not only able to send and receive mail, but also have access to calendaring, signing and / or encrypting messages using GPG, sharing folder(s) with other user(s), and storing files in public folders (Drop Boxes).

Once again, reading and understanding the TLS / SSL section is necessary to understand how to securely connect to the Secure WebMail interface. Failure to properly initate a secure connection to the Secure WebMail interface may jeopardize the security of user accounts.


Calendaring provides a mechanism to create and modify events for given dates on a calendar. Events are treated similarly to e-mail messages. Events have subjects, descriptions, and can also have file attachments.

Events may be marked as cancelled or completely removed from the calendar. Cancelled events will still appear on the calendar, but new events will not consider cancelled events when assessing scheduling conflicts. Adding new events considers only non-cancelled events for any scheduling conflicts.

Events are created and edited similar to e-mail messages. Until events are added to the calendar, they are saved in the Drafts folder for further editing. To cancel events without saving them to the calendar, open the Drafts folder and delete them.

Adding Events to the Calendar

  1. Follow the "Your Calendar" link on any folder display page.
  2. Select the "New Event" link under the "Weekly view / Monthly view" links.
  3. Input all data for the event's times, then press the "Add event time(s)" button.
  4. Next, scroll down to the textareas and complete the process as you would with an e-mail, but finishing by pressing the "Add to calendar" button.
  5. The newly added event will appear under any folder display page.

Delivery Status Notification

Delivery Status Notification allows users to be notified if the delivery of the message was successful, if it was delayed, and / or if it failed. The mail server receiving the message also has to support DSN for this feature to work. After you've created a message or previewed your message for sending, under the attachments button, there's a few checkboxes for additional message options. One of those reads "Request delivery confirmation receipt". If you check that box, you'll be notified on the success, delay, and / or failure of your message. The headers from the message you sent will be returned in the notification.

GPG functions in the Secure WebMail Interface

Reading this section is pointless without having first read, understood, and implemented the procedures outline in the TLS / SSL section of this site. Some GPGfunction are not even available if the Secure WebMail interface is not being accessed over a secure connection.

Generating a Public / Private Key Pair

  1. Select the Encryption link near the top of the page.
  2. Scroll down to the Create New Keypair section.
  3. Input all the required information. Keep in mind that:
    • shorter key lengths are more insecure than larger ones, but larger ones take more time to generate.
    • shorter expiration times mean more secure keys, however, this may not be convienent for others to decrypt your messages, unless you consistently provide them with new keys.
    • the longer and more random your passphrase is, the more secure the key.
  4. Press the Create button to start the keypair generation process.
  5. This message: "Not enough random bytes available. Please do some other work to give the OS a chance to collect more entropy! (Need $X more bytes)" may appear, where "$X" is an integer. Please be patient while the process completes.
  6. When the "Key generation completed, continue" message is displayed, the key generation procedure has successfully completed. The process may have taken so long that the login session timed out. If so, simply login again.

Signing a Public Key with a Private Key

  1. Select the Encryption link near the top of the page.
  2. Scroll down to the Public Keys section and select a public key.
  3. Scroll down to the Private Keys section and select a private key.
  4. Scroll down to the Sign Public Key section and enter the passphrase on the selected private key.
  5. Select your trust level in the public key with the list box.
  6. Press the sign button.
  7. When a public key has been successfully signed by a private key, a subsignature will appear in the public key's box. This allows the decryption of messages from the owner of the public key by your private key.
  8. Start by signing your public key with your private key. Then, you can decrypt and verify messages signed and encrypted by your own keys.

Public Folders

Unlike using Mutt or using PINE, users need to subscribe to each subdirectory in the Public Folders to access them via the Secure WebMail interface. If a user has already accessed subdirectories of the Public Folders using Mutt or using PINE, that user will not need to subscribe to them when using the Secure WebMail interface.

Unlike Mutt, users can not edit messages in Public Folders. Messages in Public Folders accessed via Secure WebMail interface can only be viewed by users. Users can still move messages from their mail folders to Public Folders, however.

Accessing Public Folders

  1. Login to the Secure WebMail interface.
  2. Select either Drop_Box or Drop_Box2 from the Folders list.
  3. If any folders are displayed as text (not as links), then you are not subscribed to those folders. To subscribe to a folder, select its radio button and press the "Subscribe/Unsubscribe" button.
  4. The page will reload and the text will be transformed into a link. Following the link will display all the messages in that folder.
  5. If any folders are displayed as links (not just plain text), then you are subscribed to those folders. To unsubscribe to a folder, select its radio button and press the "Subscribe/Unsubscribe" button.
  6. The page will reload and the link will be transformed into plain text. Unsubscribing and then resubscribing to a folder will cause all the messages in it to be marked as unread (new).

Adding Messages to Public Folders

  1. Choose any folder (INBOX, Drafts, Sent, etc).
  2. Mark the checkbox for whichever message(s) you wish to move.
  3. In the list box under the message listing, choose the destination folder and select the Go button.
  4. The message will be moved to the Public Folder of your choice and marked for deletion.

Shared Folders


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