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IMAP over an SSH tunnel -- how does it work?

Hi everyone,

the IMAP server at my ISP doesn't support ssh.  so I'm trying to set
up an ssh tunnel for my mail to pass through (mostly I care about my
password, not my mail, I guess that much be obvious).  

I odn't have a shell account on the mailserver so I can't just do

ssh -u <username> <mailbox.server.name>

After some hunting and some suggestions I've found this, which seems
to work:

ssh <me>@localhost -L 9143:<mailbox.server.name>:143 

then I just point getmail to 
port = 9143
server = localhost

and my mail gets picked up!  But:  I guess I don't really believe that
the mail is encrypted, since I don't understand how the connection to
<mailbox.server.name> is encrypted when I don't log in or anything.
Do other folks understand better how this works?  Or (more to the
point) whether the packets sent by the mailserver are actually
encrypted before they reach my local box?  

so anyway, thanks,


 .''`.       Matt Price 
: :'  :      Debian User
`. `'` 	     & hemi-geek
if you're an evil spambot, these addresses are for you:  aardvark@derailleur.org, zeus@derailleur.org

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