The attachment mess, was w32/bagle

Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:

> pass. I will be the first to admit that using mail as a file transfer protocol
> isn't the way to go, but getting people to realize that (and forcing them to
> change) is next to impossible.

Until there's an easy way of getting a file to your friend down the
street that's as easy as sending an email, we're stuck with this.


I've pipedreamed a scheme that would do this:

  Sending Luser drops file on to Attached File line in the MUA
  {say, Eudora} and Sends.

  MUA opens https to its own MTA/server, encrypts & uploads
  file and designates file name. It puts the unique
  URL/key into the pseudo-Attachment line of the mailer.
  [Attachment's encrypted so that if the mail itself is,
  the file would not be lesser-protected. Real security would
  require the MUA, not the MTA to do encryption, I guess]

  Receiving Luser (RL) gets message with Attachment link. {S}he
  clicks on it, not really knowing/caring it is a https link.
  Decrypted "attachment" is dumped on RL's desktop.

Behind the scenes, the Sending MTA notes the file was grabbed. It
has a set of expiration rules, whatever its local policy is --
X days if not yet grabbed one, Y days after the first, -- &
a history file al-la Usenet spool. SMTA expires old messages.

The advantage to the MTA operators is no longer will people try
to cram 35 MB Powerpoint files down mail pipes. Yes, they are
stuck storing the files for a few days, and moving later; but
?some? will never be moved at all, saving BW. {The old "what's
cheaper, disk or pipe?" issue arises here.} Further, "Attachment"
transfer BW could be QOS'ed downscale.

Variations might be the file is not stored by the SendingMTA but
pushed to the ReceivingMTA/MX. Or when the RL "opens" mail,
it's moved from SMTA to RMTA/MX, and then to the RL.

I'd have thunk someone already thought of all this, but I've not
seen such discussed.

Even a clueless guy like me can see there are multiple reasons
It Won't Fly, some perhaps solvable.

Gripe: Attached Files would expire. Someone Would Complain.

Response: BFD. Tell the sender to "mail that file again.."

G: Mail Systems operators are stuck storing files & must run
    expiration scripts.

R: And this is worse than the terrabytes now being queued? Plus,
    space could be limited and maybe chargeable.

G: Critical Mass needed before it can be usable at
    all. You'll never ever get there unless Billy
    puts it into LookOut^H^H^HOutlook.

R: Yea.

In order to crack c); I guess it would take not just a solid
RFC and running code; but a 900# Gorilla demanding such, maybe
Earthlink or AOL.

Flaming session is now open. I'm not awake yet, so I plead
the Hypnos Defense.