ESMTP and LMTP Transmission Types Registration
RFC 3848

Document Type RFC - Draft Standard (July 2004; No errata)
Was draft-newman-esmtpsa (individual in app area)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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IESG IESG state RFC 3848 (Draft Standard)
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Responsible AD Alexey Melnikov
IESG note This document has no shepherd. Please see the email message I've sent to IESG for additional information (and a pointer to implementation report).
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Network Working Group                                          C. Newman
Request for Comments: 3848                              Sun Microsystems
Category: Standards Track                                      July 2004

            ESMTP and LMTP Transmission Types Registration

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).

Abstract

   This registers seven new mail transmission types (ESMTPA, ESMTPS,
   ESMTPSA, LMTP, LMTPA, LMTPS, LMTPSA) for use in the "with" clause of
   a Received header in an Internet message.

1.  IANA Considerations

   As directed by SMTP [2], IANA maintains a registry [7] of "WITH
   protocol types" for use in the "with" clause of the Received header
   in an Internet message.  This registry presently includes SMTP [6],
   and ESMTP [2].  This specification updates the registry as follows:

   o  The new keyword "ESMTPA" indicates the use of ESMTP when the SMTP
      AUTH [3] extension is also used and authentication is successfully
      achieved.

   o  The new keyword "ESMTPS" indicates the use of ESMTP when STARTTLS
      [1] is also successfully negotiated to provide a strong transport
      encryption layer.

   o  The new keyword "ESMTPSA" indicates the use of ESMTP when both
      STARTTLS and SMTP AUTH are successfully negotiated (the
      combination of ESMTPS and ESMTPA).

   o  The new keyword "LMTP" indicates the use of LMTP [4].

Newman                      Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 3848     ESMTP and LMTP Transmission Types Registration    July 2004

   o  The new keyword "LMTPA" indicates the use of LMTP when the SMTP
      AUTH extension is also used and authentication is successfully
      achieved.

   o  The new keyword "LMTPS" indicates the use of LMTP when STARTTLS is
      also successfully negotiated to provide a strong transport
      encryption layer.

   o  The new keyword "LMTPSA" indicates the use of LMTP when both
      STARTTLS and SMTP AUTH are successfully negotiated (the
      combination of LSMTPS and LSMTPA).

   o  The references for the ESMTP and SMTP entries in the registry
      should be updated to the latest specification [2] since both RFC
      821 and RFC 1869 [5] are obsoleted by RFC 2821.

2.  Implementation Experience

   The ESMTPA, ESMTPS and ESMTPSA keywords have been implemented in
   deployed email server software for several years and no problems have
   been reported with their use.

3.  Security Considerations

   Use of these additional keywords provides trace information to
   indicate when various high-level security framing protocols are used
   for hop-to-hop transport of email without exposing details of the
   specifics of the security mechanism.  This trace information provides
   an informal way to track the deployment of these mechanisms on the
   Internet and can assist after-the-fact diagnosis of email abuse.

   These keywords are not normally protected in transport which means
   they can be modified by an active attacker.  They also do not
   indicate the specifics of the mechanism used, and therefore do not
   provide any real-world security assurance.  They should not be used
   for mail filtering or relaying decisions except in very controlled
   environments.  As they are both cryptic and hidden in trace headers
   used primarily to diagnose email problems, it is not expected they
   will mislead end users with a false sense of security.  Information
   with a higher degree of reliability can be obtained by correlating
   the Received headers with the logs of the various Mail Transfer
   Agents through which the message passed.

   The trace information provided by these keywords and other parts of
   the Received header provide a significant benefit when doing after-
   the-fact diagnosis of email abuse or problems.  Unfortunately, some
   people in a misguided attempt to hide information about their
   internal servers will strip Received headers of useful information

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RFC 3848     ESMTP and LMTP Transmission Types Registration    July 2004

   and reduce their ability to correct security abuses after they
   happen.  The result of such misguided efforts is usually a reduction
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