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Counting how often an email alias is used

Bill Horne wrote:
> One of the nicest things about having my own server is that it gives me
> an inexhaustible supply of throwaway email addresses. However, my
> /etc/aliases file has grown to the point that it's no longer convenient
> to manage....

1. Use address extensions, not system-wide aliases.
2. Use a database.

I have an experimental MySQL stored procedure that gets used by both 
Postfix and Dovecot Deliver to qualify mailboxes and map them to a file. 
It handles multiple levels of extensions, and searches for a match from 
specific to generic. So for example, an address like user-ads-amazon 
will first try and see if there is a mailbox matching the full string, 
then user-ads, then user. (I believe qmail implemented the same thing 
eons ago.)

Still needed is some UI to list and manage the extension-to-mailbox 
mapping, and the ability to invalidate an extension (send it to 
/dev/null) if it gets abused. I'd like to add a comment field to the 
record as well, so the user can record a reminder of what the alias was 
created for.

Currently you can make up addresses on the spot, which is convenient, 
but a fairly simple change could be made so that every extension has to 
be pre-declared, thus preventing spamming to user-<random> from ending 
up in the general inbox.

> ...and I'd like to count when each alias is used.

You mean count each time an email is received for a given address? Post 
processing MySQL logs, or having the stored procedure update a counter 
would do it. You can also grep your archives, if your MTA preserves the 
original recipient in the Delivered header.

I have an anti-spam SMTP proxy that counts address use, but only for 
addresses that are invalid (as it is looking for common spam client 
behavior of sending mail to bogus addresses).


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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