Configuring Dovecot to authenticate FreeIPA users using Kerberos (with Single Sign On)

I have also posted this article on the FreeIPA.org project wiki which is linkedĀ here

The below details will walk you through how to add a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 system to an IPA domain, and then configure Dovecot to allow single sign on to user mailboxes with IMAP/S.

Details of this example are as follows

   Domain name: example.com
   IPA Server: ds01.example.com
   Dovecot Server: mail01.example.com
   IPA Client: workstation01.example.com
   IPA User: user1 and user2

Please Note: This guide describes using SSL combined with Dovecot to deliver IMAPS support. This guide is not designed to cover how to create a valid SSL vertificate. This guide uses the default dovecot generated certificate and it is HIGHLY recommended that if you wish to deploy this into a production environment, that you replace this certificate with your own trusted/validated certificate

 

Add system to IPA Domain (ensure DNS is working correctly otherwise this step will fail)

# ipa-client-install -U -p admin -w mysecretpassword

 

Install Dovecot and set service to start on boot

# yum install dovecot
# chkconfig dovecot on

 

Edit /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf to allow imap

Find

#protocols = imap pop3 lmtp

and replace with

protocols = imap

 

Edit /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf to configure kerberos authentication

Enter the below lines at the end of the file /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf

userdb {
  driver = static
  args = uid=dovecot gid=dovecot home=/var/spool/mail/%u
}

Next, find the below lines (these will be in various locations inside the file)

auth_mechanisms = plain
#auth_gssapi_hostname =
#auth_krb5_keytab =
#auth_realms =
#auth_default_realm =

and replace with

auth_mechanisms = gssapi
auth_gssapi_hostname = mail01.example.com
auth_krb5_keytab = /etc/dovecot/krb5.keytab
auth_realms = example.com
auth_default_realm = example.com

 

Create new IPA group for mailbox access

From your IPA server, create a new group for your users to store their mailbox

[root@ds01 ~]# ipa group-add
 Group name: mailusers
 Description: Mail User Group
 --------------------
 Added group "mailusers"
 --------------------
 Group name: mailusers
 Description: Mail User Group
 GID: 1427200003
[root@ds01 ~]#

Add users to “mailusers” group

Add your users to the new group

[root@ds01 ~]# ipa group-add-member mailusers
[member user]: user1
[member group]: 
  Group name: mailusers
  Description: Mail User Group
  GID: 1427200003
  Member users: user1
-------------------------
Number of members added 1
-------------------------
[root@ds01 ~]#

Create new directory for user mailboxes

Create a new directory to be used as your mail store for the server. Also remember to change the group membership to allow your “mailusers” to be able to write to the folder.

mkdir /mail
chmod 770 /mail
chgrp mailusers /mail
chcon -t user_home_t /mail

Note: If you wish to use file system quotas or add high availability to your solution, having this folder on a shared file system would be very beneficial.

 

Edit /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-mail.conf to configure the mailbox location

Find

#mail_location =

and replace with

mail_location = mbox:/mail/%u/:INBOX=/var/mail/%u

 

Generate a kerberos keytab for Dovecot IMAP access

On the IPA server run:

# kinit admin
Password for admin@EXAMPLE.COM:
# ipa service-add imap/mail01.example.com

If successful, you will see the below output

----------------------------------------------------
Added service "imap/mail01.example.com@EXAMPLE.COM"
----------------------------------------------------
  Principal: imap/mail01.example.com@EXAMPLE.COM
  Managed by: mail01.example.com

On the Dovecot server run:

# ipa-getkeytab -s ds01.example.com -p imap/mail01.example.com -k /etc/dovecot/krb5.keytab

if successful, you will see the below output:

Keytab successfully retrieved and stored in: /etc/dovecot/krb5.keytab

 

Change the permissions of the keytab to allow Dovecot to read the file (Note, this should be kept secure, so only grant enough privileges as absolutely necessary.)

# chown root:dovecot /etc/dovecot/krb5.keytab
# chmod 640 /etc/dovecot/krb5.keytab

 

Restart Dovecot

# service dovecot restart
Stopping Dovecot IMAP: ................                           [  OK  ]
Starting Dovecot IMAP: .                                          [  OK  ]

 

Send a test email to your user

From your Dovecot server, run the following command:

# echo Hello | mail -s Hello user1@example.com

 

Configure Thunderbird to connect to IMAP Server

  1. Open Thunderbird
  2. Click the Edit Menu and select Account Settings
  3. Under Account Actions (Bottom left), select “Add Mail Account”
  4. Enter Name (user1), Email Address(user1@example.com) and leave password blank, then click continue
  5. Verify the username is user1 (not user1@example.com, Set the imcoming server to mail01.example.com, select IMAP, Set port to 993, and select SSL/TLS. Then click Manual Setup
  6. Select Server Settings under your new mail account
  7. Select Kerberos/GSSAPI as the Authentication Method, then click OK
  8. Click Get Mail and you will be presented to accept an SSL Certificate.
  9. Once you have accepted the SSL Certificate, you will see your test email you sent in the previous step.

Verify your authentication on the Dovecot server

# tail /var/log/maillog
Feb 10 13:31:22 mail01 dovecot: imap-login: Login: user=<user1@example.com>, method=GSSAPI, rip=192.168.122.51, lip=192.168.122.63, mpid=1835, TLS

If everything has worked successfully, you will see in your logs that your user has connected using the method GSSAPI and has validated their session over TLS.

4 comments on “Configuring Dovecot to authenticate FreeIPA users using Kerberos (with Single Sign On)

  1. Vijay June 28, 2013 17:57

    Hi,

    Really good article. I have my ipa server running on Redhat Linux . This server is also behaving as relay host to other mail server. Can I configure ipa to send emails to user? Here domain for ipa and domain for mail server are different.

    Regards,
    Vijay

    • Dale Macartney August 23, 2013 21:20

      Hi Vijay

      I have set up both IMAP/POP access for incoming mailboxes as well as Postfix outbound mail servers with IPA.

      Which aspect is not working for you?

      Dale

      PS. Apologies for the late reply.

  2. Tom May 11, 2015 15:56

    Is combination of postfix and this article would give you full working solution?

  3. shpokas May 15, 2015 17:10

    what is the purpose of kerberos ticket creation?
    can I skip those steps if I set dovecot on Linux with IPA client?

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