Accessing Secure Mail from Palm Devices with Eudora 2.1

by Derrick Story

I really enjoy checking email from my Visor. Until recently, I was happily monitoring my O'Reilly account from any location with a phone jack without having to lug around my laptop. Then one fateful day, our department switched to SSL-enabled email (Secure Sockets Layer). Suddenly, along with all the black hats, I was shut out.

The MultiMail application that I had become so fond of could no longer retrieve mail from the one account that I really needed. So the search began for a solution.

Discovery: Eudora Internet Suite 2.1

With a little nosing around, I discovered Eudora Internet Suite 2.1 for the Palm OS that includes the Eudora email client, web browser, and SSL/TLS security library -- all compatible for uploading to your PDA from Linux, Macintosh, and Windows computers. Windows users get two additional goodies -- conduits for desktop mail synchronization and bookmark coordination. That's right, you can automatically synch your desktop bookmarks with those in your Eudora browser for the Palm.

There are other niceties too that I'll discuss later, but the feature of this software that I'm most interested in is the e-mail and browser support for SSL and TLS (Transport Layer Security) for server authentication and data privacy. To my knowledge, Eudora is riding ahead of the pack in this area for Palm OS email and web applications.

When you hot-synch the package to your Palm device, you add the email (308k) and browser (150k) applications, plus a sslplus library (108k) to your system. The library enables SSL and TLS capability for both Eudora applications.

The icons on the Palm screen.
The Eudora Internet Suite 2.1 features a full-featured email client and a true proxy-free web browser.

Palm screen shot.
Eudora email for Palm devices includes a security panel for SSL settings that allows you to send and retrieve secure mail.

When you set up your email account(s) in Eudora, you have the usual "basic," "receive," and "send" panels to complete with your POP and SMTP information. But thanks to the additional sslplus library, you also have a fourth panel labeled "Security." Here you are presented with authentication and security options for both incoming and outgoing mail. You can even review the security certificate available from your server by tapping on the "Server Info" button.

It only took me a few minutes to configure my accounts. I then logged on to the server and was downloading my mail as smoothly as I normally do from my laptop.

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