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Chapter 29. Creating a Mail Server > Running a Mail Server

Running a Mail Server

The first step in running a successful e-mail server is determining that you actually need an e-mail server. Unlike more basic services, such as Apache, e-mail is a more intrusive process that enables complete strangers to store information on your computer. In addition, administration of an e-mail server is an ongoing process. Monitoring and detecting problems is a must. Sendmail has been around for more than 20 years, but it's still growing and evolving. Because it is one of the most highly utilized pieces of software on the Internet, it is also one of the most prone to attacks.

Mail server security is unlike basic server security because it occurs on two levels. First, you must protect the physical server software from being exploited. Remote users have found numerous holes in earlier versions of Sendmail that granted root access to the e-mail server, or enabled them to gain other forms of unauthorized access. Monitoring server logs for unexplained connections and abnormal mail transmissions is standard practice. This aspect of mail server security should seem familiar, because it should be a common practice for other basic system services, such as FTP or HTTP.


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