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I'm going to build an experimental mail server with Postfix + Dovecot and Mysql for user accounts. The server will offer SMTP + POP3 + IMAP.

Is there a way to force users to change their mail account passwords every six months?

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Note that mandatory frequent password changes are not a panacea, they often hurt security, Mail-only passwords are one of the few cases where they can be a good idea, but note that this is only really viable if the users have this password entered in a file on their client, not if you expect them to memorize it. Recommended reading: How does changing your password every 90 days increase security? – Gilles Aug 31 '12 at 1:07
Thank you Gilles for the advice! – PsyStyle Aug 31 '12 at 7:08
up vote 2 down vote accepted

grep'ing through dovecot 2.1 source code it appears that they have a constant IMAP_RESP_CODE_EXPIRED used for the RFC 5530 "EXPIRED" code, which would be used to tell the client the password has expired. I see code to that notices expired accounts, and returns PASSDB_RESULT_PASS_EXPIRED from various different methods (but not the db-sql method).

Further, I don't see anywhere where the server sends that response.

This holds true in 2.2 as well, where a few more authentication methods gain PASSDB_RESULT_PASS_EXPIRED (but still not db-sql). And still nowhere I see the server sending it.

So, I'd guess that Dovecot currently doesn't support this, but they're (slowly?) working towards it.

I'm not even sure the IMAP protocol provides a way to change a password. I couldn't come up with one despite serious Google attempts.

(You could email people warning them their password is about to expire, and set up a web page for them to change it, but, well, I bet I have several of those in my spam box right now! Oddly enough, not actually sent by mail server's admin. In case the sarcasm doesn't carry, this is a relatively common phishing scheme.)

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Thank you derobert! I will investigate your answer! – PsyStyle Aug 31 '12 at 7:08

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