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Configure the protonmail bridge linux client on CentOS server and Fedora

Protonmail on CentOS server

#protonmail #centos #fedora #linux

Before you start

Currently protonmail bridge for linux is distributed as part of an open beta program, but soon it will be made public (https://protonmail.com/bridge/install).

Consider that the bridge linux client requires a paid protonmail account to work.

Get the protonmail bridge linux installer

Download the latest package into your computer.

wget https://protonmail.com/download/beta/protonmail-bridge-1.1.3-1.x86_64.rpm

The link above is working at the time of writing this article, but as the bridge team pointed out, they will expire all the previous links once they release a new version to encourage the installation of the latest version.

To get the latest version try replacing/increasing the version numbers on the link provided or write an email to bridge@protonmail.ch (https://protonmail.com/support/knowledge-base/bridge-for-linux/)

Install protonmail bridge

We will need root access for the setup

su root

Import the protonmail bridge public key

nano bridge_pubkey.gpg
(copy the content of the file and save)
rpm --import bridge_pubkey.gpg

Check the rpm package is correctly signed

rpm --checksig protonmail-bridge-1.1.1-1.x86_64.rpm

Install the protonmail bridge client

yum install protonmail-bridge-1.1.1-1.x86_64.rpm

Install additional tools required for the setup

Install the "pass" password manager that protonmail bridge will use to store the passwords

yum install pass

Install the "screen" utility to daemonize the protonmail bridge client

yum install screen

Create a new user

We will create a new user mainly to isolate the access to the passwords of other users.

Notice that the new user will be locked to disable access to this user from outside.

useradd protonmail
usermod -L protonmail

Setup "pass" password manager

Login as the new isolated user

su protonmail
cd ~

Run a script session to avoid the PGP key passphrase prompt to fail (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=659512).

This is required if we are not using a graphical interface due to the way our isolated user runs the shell commands

script /dev/null

Generate PGP key pair for the new user with an empty passphrase.

The empty passphrase is required to run the protonmail bridge on the background on system startup without being prompted for the password and hence causing the process to fail.

gpg --gen-key
>>>> Choose 1                (1) RSA and RSA (default)
>>>> Choose 2048             (default)
>>>> Choose 0                0 = key does not expire
>>>> Type your name          e.g. Proty McProtonFace
>>>> Type your email         e.g. a@a.com
>>>> Leave empty comment
>>>> Leave empty passphrase

List the keys to ensure they were created correctly

gpg --list-keys

Init the password manager for the chosen email address in the PGP keys step

pass init a@a.com

Setup the protonmail bridge client

At this point we already set up the password manager that will allow the protonmail bridge to store the passwords so we will now setup your protonmail account.

protonmail-bridge --cli
>>>> add    (add your protonmail account to bridge)
>>>> (enter your protonmail account email address)
>>>> (enter your protonmail account password)
>>>> list   (list configured accounts)
>>>> info   (list SMTP credentials for configuring any local SMTP compatible service)
>>>> help   (get familiarized with the bridge options)
>>>> exit   (exit the bridge console which stops the local SMTP server created)

Exit the scripted mode of the isolated user if you previously ran "script /dev/null"

exit

Daemonize the protonmail bridge client

In order to start automatically the bridge client on system startup we will create a script to run it in the background.

Notice that we will use the "screen" utility since there is no way to run the protonmail linux client in the background currently without a graphical interface.

For this we will need root access again.

exit

Create a basic script that will be able to launch the protonmail bridge client in the background and kill it.

mkdir /var/lib/protonmail
nano /var/lib/protonmail/protonmail.sh
(copy the content of the file and save)
chmod +x /var/lib/protonmail/protonmail.sh

Create a systemd service

nano /etc/systemd/system/protonmail.service
(copy the content of the file and save)

Enable the script so that it can run on system startup

systemctl enable protonmail

Test the protonmail service

systemctl start protonmail
netstat -tulpn | grep 1025

Reboot you system and check if protonmail bridge is bound to the default ports

reboot
netstat -tulpn | grep 1025

Protonmail on Fedora

All the instructions above should work in Fedora. You can replace "yum" commands with "dnf"

Configure SMTP services

Now that you have the protonmail bridge running in the background you can configure SMTP emails on local instances of Jenkins, Jira, Bitbucket, Thunderbird or any service of your choice.

Remember that required credentials and configuration details can be found by executing:

protonmail-bridge --cli
>>>> info
>>>> exit
[Unit]
Description=Service to run the Protonmail bridge client
After=network.target
[Service]
Type=oneshot
User=protonmail
ExecStart=/var/lib/protonmail/protonmail.sh start
ExecStop=/var/lib/protonmail/protonmail.sh stop
RemainAfterExit=yes
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
#!/bin/bash
case "$1" in
start)
# will create an screen in detached mode (background) with name "protonmail"
screen -S protonmail -dm protonmail-bridge --cli
echo "Service started."
;;
status)
# ignore this block unless you understand how screen works and that only lists the current user's screens
result=$(screen -list | grep protonmail)
if [ $? == 0 ]; then
echo "Protonmail bridge service is ON."
else
echo "Protonmail bridge service is OFF."
fi
;;
stop)
# Will quit a screen called "protonmail" and therefore terminate the running protonmail-bridge process
screen -S protonmail -X quit
echo "Service stopped."
;;
*)
echo "Unknown command: $1"
exit 1
;;
esac
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