Screenshot of the SquirrelMail message view
|Original author(s)||Nathan and Luke Ehresman|
|Developer(s)||The SquirrelMail Project Team|
|Initial release||14 December 1999|
|Stable release||1.4.22 (July 12, 2011[±])|
|Preview release||1.5.2 / 17 August 2012|
|Available in||More than 50 languages|
|License||GNU General Public License v2|
The webmail portion of the project was started by Nathan and Luke Ehresman in 1999 and is written in the PHP scripting language. It can be installed on almost all web servers as long as PHP is present and the web server has access to an IMAP and SMTP server.
SquirrelMail webmail outputs valid HTML 4.0 for its presentation, making it compatible with a majority of current web browsers. SquirrelMail webmail uses a plugin architecture to accommodate additional features around the core application, and over 200 plugins are available on the SquirrelMail website
The SquirrelMail IMAP proxy server product was created in 2002 by Dave McMurtrie while at the University of Pittsburgh (where it was named "up-imapproxy", although it has become more commonly known as "imapproxy") and adopted by the SquirrelMail team in 2010. It is written in C and is primarily made to provide stateful connections for stateless webmail client software to an IMAP server, thus avoiding new IMAP logins for every client action and in some cases significantly improving webmail performance.
Licensed under the GNU General Public License, both SquirrelMail products are free software. The webmail product is currently available in over 50 languages. SquirrelMail webmail is included in the repositories of many major GNU/Linux distributions and is independently downloaded by tens of thousands of people every month.
SquirrelMail IMAP Proxy compiles on most flavors of Unix, and can generally be used on the same platforms as the webmail product can be with the exception of Microsoft Windows, unless used in a Cygwin or similar environment.
New releases of the stable SquirrelMail product are made as needed to address any bugs or security issues which may be discovered. Development of new features and enhancements is concentrated on the development product, which, in time, will itself become the stable product. The SquirrelMail 1.5 Roadmap outlines some of the features slated for the next developmental release, including:
- A templating system
- A RPC interface for use by other applications as well as AJAX-enabled SquirrelMail template sets (skins)
- A new initialization system
- Faster login times due to improved message header caching
- Security enhancements, such as HTTPOnly cookies
- Improved usability/accessibility
The SquirrelMail webmail client itself is a complete webmail system, but extra features are available in the form of plugins. A plugin allows non-standard features to be added to SquirrelMail, often without the need to modify the source code. There are over 200 third-party plugins available for download from the SquirrelMail website, and SquirrelMail ships with several "standard" or "core" plugins, allowing an administrator to add:
- Spell checking (squirrelspell)
- Mail filters (filters)
- Web-based administration of SquirrelMail (administrator)
- A calendar (calendar)
- An interface to submit bug reports semi-automatically (bug_report)
Examples of functionalities added by various third-party plugins include:
- Address book/contact grouping and other address book expansions
- Monitoring and security tools to track usage, fight attackers and improve security
- Password change
- Single sign-on support, one-time passwords, login aliases and several other credential manipulations and lookups
- Quota reporting
- Rich text (HTML) email composition and display
- User-configurable front-ends for autoresponders, spam filtering systems such as SpamAssassin and server-side mail filters
- Weather reporting
- User account control panel
SquirrelMail webmail has been translated into over 50 languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish.
HEC Montréal deployed SquirrelMail as part of a comprehensive webmail solution, to support thousands of users.
Squirrelmail is the web mail application of the Chennai Mathematical Institute, University of Bristol, Keele University, the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, Management Development Institute Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, (particularly the CSE department), Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, National Institute of Science Education and Research, Carnegie Mellon University, Dokuz Eylül University, Sharif University of Technology, University of California, Berkeley, as well as other universities.
There are several mailing lists available. Several of the developers are available for live chat on IRC. A bug tracking system is available for reporting bugs or submitting patches. For administrators or companies official and third party commercial support is available.
Skipped 1.4.14 version
On 27 May 2008 the SquirrelMail Team announced that, while the latest released version of their software was 1.4.13, a spammer was sending unsolicited email messages to various recipients about a 1.4.14-rc1 release candidate version which didn't really exist. The messages (usually titled "Internet Users Email Upgrade (IUEU)") urged recipients to upgrade immediately (because of supposed security issues) and contained a web link for users to do so. However, that web link pointed to a page where the spammer was collecting email addresses and passwords. Beside the fact that end users are not responsible for upgrading such software, that the "upgrade" page was merely a mock SquirrelMail login page made it clear that this was a Phishing attack. The "upgrade" page has been hosted on various compromised systems across the Internet and the attack has continued at least through July 2009 (sample).
As a result, the SquirrelMail team skipped version 1.4.14 and its next release after 1.4.13 was 1.4.15.
This versioning tactic was of limited effectiveness, as later phish runs referenced 1.4.15 instead of 1.4.14.
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