[lug] Thunderbird, Enigmail, and MIME encapsulation

Jed S. Baer blug at jbaer.cotse.net
Thu Dec 20 21:31:07 MST 2012

Hi Folks.

Having some trouble with encrypted e-mail. But before I spend a bunch of
time digging into it -- setting up a test environment with Thunderbird,
reading RFCs etc., I thought I'd bounce it up here for a sanity check. I
could be just way off right at the start.

I've used encrypted e-mail in the past, no problem. I use Sylpheed and
GnuPG. I recently started correspondence with someone who uses
Thunderbird and Enigmail, on a Mandriva system. Problem is, the mail I
get from her looks like:

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
> Charset: ISO-8859-1
> Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)
> Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/
> hQEOA8/jfDlMPiLoEAP/WDub4fJCHGYQ1SMdNu4f/ys0OJkj3HXWTGsowS7cxpq4

Sylpheed doesn't realize this is something to decrypt.

I'm expecting encrypted mail to look more like:

> Content-Type: multipart/encrypted; protocol="application/pgp-encrypted";

followed by the appropriate boundaries and the message block.

So, I think this is bug in Thunderbird/Enigmail, and encrypted mail
shouldn't be arriving with a text/plain content type. Or am I just all
wet? (Yes, I know, if you encrypt outside your MUA, encode it, and
paste it into the message, that's what will happen.)


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