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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 rfc3885                                     
Internet Draft                                               E. Allman
draft-ietf-msgtrk-smtpext-02.txt                        Sendmail, Inc.
Valid for six months                                         T. Hansen
Updates: RFC 1891                                    AT&T Laboratories
                                                          July 6, 2001

                        SMTP Service Extension
                         for Message Tracking


Status of This Memo

     This  document  is  an  Internet-Draft and is in full conformance
with all provisions of Section 10  of  RFC2026.   Internet-Drafts  are
working  documents  of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
areas, and its working groups.  Note that other groups may  also  dis-
tribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

     Internet-Drafts  are  draft  documents valid for a maximum of six
months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by  other  documents
at  any time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

     The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at:


The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at:


     This document is a submission by the MSGTRK Working Group of  the
Internet  Engineering Task Force (IETF).  Comments should be submitted
to the ietf-msgtrk@imc.org mailing list.  An archive  of  the  mailing
list may be found at


     Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1.  Abstract

        This  memo  defines an extension to the SMTP service whereby a
   client may mark a message for future tracking.

Internet Draft     Message Tracking ESMTP Extension       July 6, 2001

2.  Other Documents and Conformance

        The model used for Message Tracking is  described  in  [DRAFT-

        Doing  a Message Tracking query is intended as a "last resort"
   mechanism.  Normally, Delivery Status  Notifications  (DSNs)  [RFC-
   DSN-SMTP]  and  Message  Disposition Notifications (MDNs) [RFC-MDN]
   would provide the primary delivery status.  Only if the message  is
   not  received,  or there is no response from either of these mecha-
   nisms should a Message Tracking query be issued.

        The definition of the base64 token is  imported  from  section
   6.8 of [RFC-MIME].

        Syntax notation in this document conforms to [RFC-ABNF].

        The  key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL
   in  this  document  are  to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119

3.  SMTP Extension Overview

        The Message Tracking SMTP service extension uses the SMTP ser-
   vice  extension  mechanism described in [RFC-ESMTP].  The following
   service extension is hereby defined:

    (1)   The name of the SMTP service extension  is  "Message  Track-

    (2)   The  EHLO  keyword  value  associated with this extension is

    (3)   No parameters are allowed  with  this  EHLO  keyword  value.
          Future documents may extend this specification by specifying

    (4)   One optional parameter using the keyword "MTRK" is added  to
          the  MAIL  FROM  command.   In addition, the ENVID and ORCPT
          parameters (as defined in RFC  1891  sections  5.4  and  5.2
          respectively)   MUST   be   supported,  with  extensions  as
          described below.

    (5)   The maximum length of a MAIL FROM command line is  increased
          by  40  characters by the possible addition of the MTRK key-
          word and value.  Note that a further extension of 614  char-
          acters  for  the  ORCPT  and ENVID parameters is required by

    (6)   No SMTP verbs are defined by this extension.

Allman & Hansen                                               [Page 2]

Internet Draft     Message Tracking ESMTP Extension       July 6, 2001

4.  The Extended MAIL FROM Command

        The extended MAIL FROM command is issued  by  an  SMTP  client
   when  it  wishes  to  inform  an  SMTP server that message tracking
   information should be retained for future querying.   The  extended
   MAIL  FROM command is identical to the MAIL FROM command as defined
   in [RFC-SMTP], except that MTRK, ORCPT, and ENVID parameters appear
   after the address.

   4.1.  The MTRK parameter to the ESMTP MAIL command

           Any  sender  wishing to track a message must first tag that
      message as trackable by creating two values A and B:

          A = some-large-random-number
          B = SHA1(A)

      The large random number A  is  calculated  on  a  host-dependent
      basis.   See [RFC-RANDOM] for a discussion of choosing good ran-
      dom numbers.  This random number MUST be at least 128  bits  but
      MUST NOT be more than 1024 bits.

           The  128-bit  hash  B of A is then computed using the SHA-1
      algorithm as described in [NIST-SHA1].

           The sender then base64 encodes  value  B  and  passes  that
      value as the mtrk-certifier on the MAIL FROM command:

          mtrk-parameter  = "MTRK=" mtrk-certifier [ ":" mtrk-timeout ]
          mtrk-certifier  = base64        ; authenticator
          mtrk-timeout    = 1*9digit      ; seconds until timeout

           A  is stored in the originator's tracking database to vali-
      date future tracking requests as described in [DRAFT-MTRK-MTQP].
      B  is stored in tracking databases of compliant MTAs and used to
      authenticate future tracking requests.

           The mtrk-timeout field indicates the number of seconds that
      the  client  requests that this tracking information be retained
      on intermediate servers, as measured from the initial receipt of
      the message at that server.  Servers MAY ignore this value if it
      violates local policy.   In  particular,  servers  MAY  silently
      enforce  an  upper  limit  to how long they will retain tracking
      data; this limit MUST be at least one day.

           If no mtrk-timeout  field  is  specified  then  the  server
      should  use  a  local default.  This default SHOULD be 8-10 days
      and MUST be at least one day.  Notwithstanding this clause,  the
      information MUST NOT be expired while the message remains in the
      queue for this server: that is, an MTQP  server  MUST  NOT  deny
      knowledge  of  a message while that same message sits in the MTA

           If the message is relayed to another compliant SMTP server,
      the  MTA  acting as the client SHOULD pass an mtrk-timeout field

Allman & Hansen                                               [Page 3]

Internet Draft     Message Tracking ESMTP Extension       July 6, 2001

      equal to the remaining life of that  message  tracking  informa-
      tion.   Specifically, the tracking timeout is decremented by the
      number of seconds the message has lingered at this MTA and  then
      passed  to the next MTA.  If the decremented tracking timeout is
      less than or equal to zero, the entire MTRK parameter  MUST  NOT
      be passed to the next MTA; essentially, the entire tracking path
      is considered to be lost at that point.

           See [RFC-DELIVERYBY] section 4 for an explanation of why  a
      timeout is used instead of an absolute time.

   4.2.  Use of ENVID

           To  function  properly, Message Tracking requires that each
      message have a unique identifier that is  never  reused  by  any
      other  message.   For  that  purpose,  if  the MTRK parameter is
      given, an ENVID parameter MUST be included, and  the  syntax  of
      ENVID from RFC 1891 section 5.4 is extended as follows:

          envid-parameter = "ENVID=" unique-envid
          unique-envid    = local-envid "@" fqhn
          local-envid     = xtext
          fqhn            = xtext

      The  unique-envid  MUST  be  chosen  in such a way that the same
      ENVID will never be used by any other  message  sent  from  this
      system  or  any other system.  In most cases, this means setting
      fqhn to be the fully qualified host name of the system  generat-
      ing  this  ENVID, and local-envid to an identifier that is never
      re-used by that host.

           Any resubmissions of this message into the  message  trans-
      mission  system  MUST  assign  a  new  ENVID.   In this context,
      "resubmission" includes forwarding or resending a message from a
      user  agent, but does not include MTA-level aliasing or forward-
      ing where the message does not leave and  re-enter  the  message
      transmission system.

   4.3.  Forwarding Tracking Certifiers

           MTAs  SHOULD  forward unexpired tracking certifiers to com-
      pliant mailers as the mail is transferred during regular hop-to-
      hop  transfers.   If the "downstream" MTA is not MTRK-compliant,
      then the MTRK= parameter MUST be deleted.  If the downstream MTA
      is  DSN-compliant,  then the ENVID and ORCPT parameters MUST NOT
      be deleted.

           If aliasing, forwarding, or other redirection  of  messages
      to  a single recipient occurs, then the MTA SHOULD treat this as
      an ordinary hop-to-hop transfer and forward the  MTRK=,  ENVID=,
      and ORCPT= values; these values MUST NOT be modified.

           MTAs  MUST NOT copy MTRK certifiers when relaying a message
      to multiple recipients.  An MTA MAY designate one recipient in a
      multi-recipient alias as the "primary" recipient to which track-
      ing requests shall  be  forwarded;  other  addresses  SHALL  NOT

Allman & Hansen                                               [Page 4]

Internet Draft     Message Tracking ESMTP Extension       July 6, 2001

      receive  tracking certifiers.  MTAs MUST NOT forward MTRK certi-
      fiers when doing mailing list expansion.

5.  Security Issues

   5.1.  Denial of service

           An attacker could attempt to flood the database of a server
      by submitting large numbers of small, tracked messages.  In this
      case, a site may elect to lower  its  maximum  retention  period

   5.2.  Confidentiality

           The  mtrk-authenticator  value (``A'') must be hard to pre-
      dict and not reused.

           The originating client must take reasonable precautions  to
      protect  the  secret.  For example, if the secret is stored in a
      message store (e.g., a "Sent" folder), the client must make sure
      the  secret  isn't  accessible  by  attackers, particularly on a
      shared store.

           Many site administrators believe that concealing names  and
      topologies  of  internal  systems  and  networks is an important
      security feature.  MTAs need to balance such  desires  with  the
      need to provide adequate tracking information.

           In  some cases site administrators may want to treat deliv-
      ery to an alias as final delivery in  order  to  separate  roles
      from  individuals.   For  example, sites implementing ``postmas-
      ter'' or ``webmaster'' as aliases may not  wish  to  expose  the
      identity  of  those  individuals  by permitting tracking through
      those aliases.  In other cases, providing the tracking  informa-
      tion for an alias is important, such as when the alias points to
      the user's preferred public address.

6.  References

        T.  Hansen,  ``Message  Tracking  Model  and   Requirements.''
        draft-ietf-msgtrk-model-03.txt.  November 2000.

        T.  Hansen,  ``Message Tracking Query Protocol.''  draft-ietf-
        msgtrk-mtqp-01.txt.  November 2000.

        Crocker, D., Editor, and P. Overell, ``Augmented BNF for  Syn-
        tax Specifications: ABNF'', RFC 2234, November 1997.

        D.  Newman,  ``Deliver By SMTP Service Extension.''  RFC 2852.
        June 2000.

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Internet Draft     Message Tracking ESMTP Extension       July 6, 2001

        G. Vaudreuil, ``The  Multipart/Report  Content  Type  for  the
        Reporting of Mail System Administrative Messages.''  RFC 1892.
        January 1996.

        K. Moore, ``SMTP Service Extension for Delivery Status Notifi-
        cations.''  RFC 1891.  January 1996.

        K.  Moore and G. Vaudreuil, ``An Extensible Message Format for
        Delivery Status Notifications.''  RFC 1894.  January 1996.

        G. Vaudreuil, ``Enhanced  Mail  System  Status  Codes.''   RFC
        1893.  January 1996.

        Rose,  M.,  Stefferud,  E.,  Crocker,  D.,  Klensin, J. and N.
        Freed, ``SMTP Service Extensions.''  STD 10, RFC 1869.  Novem-
        ber 1995.

        S.  Bradner,  ``Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Require-
        ment Levels.''  RFC 2119.  March 1997.

        R. Fajman, ``An Extensible Message Format for Message Disposi-
        tion Notifications.''  RFC 2298.  March 1998.

        N.  Freed  and  N.  Borenstein,  ``Multipurpose  Internet Mail
        Extensions (MIME) Part One: Format of  Internet  Message  Bod-
        ies.''  RFC 2045.  November 1996.

        D.  Crocker,  ``Standard  for the Format of ARPA Internet Text
        Messages.''  RFC 822.  August 1982.

        D. Eastlake, S. Crocker, and J. Schiller, ``Randomness  Recom-
        mendations for Security.''  RFC 1750.  December 1994.

        E. Levinson, ``The MIME Multipart/Related Content-type.''  RFC
        2387.  August 1998.

        NIST FIPS  PUB  180-1,  ``Secure  Hash  Standard.''   National
        Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Com-
        merce.  May 1994.  DRAFT.

        J. Postel,  ``Simple  Mail  Transport  Protocol.''   RFC  821.
        August 1982.

Allman & Hansen                                               [Page 6]

Internet Draft     Message Tracking ESMTP Extension       July 6, 2001

7.  Authors' Addresses

       Eric Allman
       Sendmail, Inc.
       6603 Shellmound
       Emeryville, CA  94608

       E-Mail: eric@Sendmail.COM
       Phone: +1 510 594 5501
       Fax: +1 510 594 5411

       Tony Hansen
       AT&T Laboratories
       Lincroft, NJ 07738

       Phone: +1 732 576 3207
       E-Mail: tony@att.com

Allman & Hansen                                               [Page 7]