Thursday, March 08, 2007

Netcat Hack: Checking on mail status

While on vacation I've been keeping half-an-eye on my work e-mail by making use of the portable version of Thunderbird. So far, it has worked fantastically. I simply plug in my thumb drive to whatever computer I'm near, and click send and recieve and poof, I've got my e-mail.

Most of the e-mail messages I delete to get them out of the way from the stuff I actually want to read.

Then, this morning I had a terrifying thought: when I delete e-mail, it's not being put into the trash. That's kinda strange. What if it's actually deleting it off the server?! That is, I get back to the office and check to find out I've cleared out all my e-mail accidentally. Though part of me would love this, the other part didn't like this one bit.

So, what to do? Well, it occured to me, I can easily check on the status of my POP account by making use of netcat. By using netcat and skipping a mail client, I know that I'll be able to check on the exact status of my inbox, versus what a mail client wants to show me.

The next time I was near a computer, I plugged in my thumb drive, opened up a command prompt and ran the commands:

nc <pop-mail-server-name.com> 110
USER <username>
PASS <password>
LIST

Sure enough, all 500+ messages were there, just like I had hoped. Whew.

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