Posts Tagged ‘sender’

How to check the IP address of Skype (user / Contacts) on GNU / Linux with netstat and whois

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Reading Time: 4minutes

netstat check skype contact IP info with netstat Linux xterm Debian Linux

Before I explain how netstat and whois commands can be used to check information about a remote skype user – e.g. (skype msg is send or receved) in Skype. I will say in a a few words ( abstract level ), how skype P2P protocol is designed.
Many hard core hackers, certainly know how skype operates, so if this is the case just skip the boring few lines of explanation on how skype proto works.

In short skype transfers its message data as most people know in Peer-to-Peer "mode" (P2P)  – p2p is unique with this that it doesn't require a a server to transfer data from one peer to another. Most classical use of p2p networks in the free software realm are the bittorrents.

Skype way of connecting to peer client to other peer client is done via a so called "transport points". To make a P-to-P connection skype wents through a number of middle point destinations. This transport points (peers) are actually other users logged in Skype and the data between point A and point B is transferred via this other logged users in encrypted form. If a skype messages has to be transferred  from Peer A (point A) to Peer B (Point B) or (the other way around), the data flows in a way similar to:

 A -> D -> F -> B


B -> F -> D -> A

(where D and F are simply other people running skype on their PCs).
The communication from a person A to person B chat in Skype hence, always passes by at least few other IP addresses which are owned by some skype users who happen to be located in the middle geographically between the real geographic location of A (the skype peer sender) and B (The skype peer receiver)..

The exact way skypes communicate is way more complex, this basics however should be enough to grasp the basic skype proto concept for most ppl …

In order to find the IP address to a certain skype contact – one needs to check all ESTABLISHED connections of type skype protocol with netsat within the kernel network stack (connection) queue.

netstat displays few IPs, when skype proto established connections are grepped:

noah:~# netstat -tupan|grep -i skype | grep -i established| grep -v ''
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype

Now, as few IPs are displayed, one needs to find out which exactly from the list of the ESTABLISHED IPs is the the Skype Contact from whom are received or to whom are sent the messages in question.

The blue colored IP address:port is the local IP address of my host running the Skype client. The red one is the IP address of the remote skype host (Skype Name) to which messages are transferred (in the the exact time the netstat command was ran.

The easiest way to find exactly which, from all the listed IP is the IP address of the remote person is to send multiple messages in a low time interval (let's say 10 secs / 10 messages to the remote Skype contact).

It is a hard task to write 10 msgs for 10 seconds and run 10 times a netstat in separate terminal (simultaneously). Therefore it is a good practice instead of trying your reflex, to run a tiny loop to delay 1 sec its execution and run the prior netstat cmd.

To do so open a new terminal window and type:

noah:~# for i in $(seq 1 10); do \
sleep 1; echo '-------'; \
netstat -tupan|grep -i skype | grep -i established| grep -v ''; \

tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype

You see on the first netstat (sequence) exec, there is only 1 IP address to which a skype connection is established, once I sent some new messages to my remote skype friend, another IP immediatelly appeared. This other IP is actually the IP of the person to whom, I'm sending the "probe" skype messages.
Hence, its most likely the skype chat at hand is with a person who has an IP address of the newly appeared

Later to get exact information on who owns and administrative contact info as well as address of the ISP or person owning the IP, do a RIPE  whois

noah:~# whois
% This is the RIPE Database query service.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See

% Note: this output has been filtered.
% To receive output for a database update, use the "-B" flag.
% Information related to ' -'
inetnum: -
descr: BTC Broadband Service
country: BG
admin-c: LG700-RIPE
tech-c: LG700-RIPE
tech-c: SS4127-RIPE
mnt-by: BT95-ADM
mnt-domains: BT95-ADM
mnt-lower: BT95-ADM
source: RIPE # Filteredperson: Lyubomir Georgiev

Note that this method of finding out the remote Skype Name IP to whom a skype chat is running is not always precise.

If for instance you tend to chat to many people simultaneously in skype, finding the exact IPs of each of the multiple Skype contacts will be a very hard not to say impossible task.
Often also by using netstat to capture a Skype Name you're in chat with, there might be plenty of "false positive" IPs..
For instance, Skype might show a remote Skype contact IP correct but still this might not be the IP from which the remote skype user is chatting, as the remote skype side might not have a unique assigned internet IP address but might use his NET connection over a NAT or DMZ.

The remote skype user might be hard or impossible to track also if skype client is run over skype tor proxy for the sake of anonymity
Though it can't be taken as granted that the IP address obtained would be 100% correct with the netstat + whois method, in most cases it is enough to give (at least approximate) info on a Country and City origin of the person you're skyping with.

How to change users quota to NO QUOTA on Qmail with Vpopmail Mail server install / Qmail mail over quota issue

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes


Qmail Vpopmail quota exceeded Dolphin Logo

Already on a couple of mail boxes located on one of the qmail powered mail servers I adminiter, there is an over QUOTA reached problem encountered.

Filling up the mailbox quota is not nice as mails starts get bounced back to the sender with a message QUOTA FULL or EXCEEDED MESSAGE, if this is a crucial mail waiting for some important data etc. the data is never received.
Below is a copy of the mail quota waarning notification message:

Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:40:36 +0000
X-Comment: Rename/Copy this file to ~vpopmail/domains/.quotawarn.msg, and make appropriate changes
X-Comment: See README.quotas for more information
From: Mail Delivery System <>
To: Valued Customer:;
Subject: Mail quota warning
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Your mailbox on the server is now more than 90% full. So that you can continue
to receive mail you need to remove some messages from your mailbox.

As you can read from the copy of the mail message above, the message content sent to the mail owner whose quota is getting full is red from /var/vpopmail/domains/.quotawarn.msg

The mail reaching quota problem is very likely to appear in cases like low mailbox quota set, but sometimes also occurs due to bugs in vpopmail quota handling.

Various interesting configuration settings for mail quotas etc. are in /home/vpopmail/etc/vlimits.default file, (assuming vpopmail is installed in /home).

In my specific case, the default vpopmail mailbox quota size was set to only 40 Megabytes.
40MB is too low if compared to todays mailbox size standards which in Gmail and Yahoo  mail services are already a couple of gigabytes.
Hence to get around the quota troubles, I  removed the quota for the mail.
To remove the quota size in vpopmail set for address ( used cmd:

qmail-server:~# vmoduser -q NOQUOTA

To save myself from future quota issues, I decided to apply a permanent fix to all those over quota size VPOPMAIL mailbox problems by removing completely quota restriction for all mailboxes in my vpopmail existent mail domain.

To do so, I wrote a quick simple bash loop one-liner script:

qmail-server:~# cd /home/vpopmail/domains
qmail-server:~/vpopmail/domains# cd
qmail-server:~/vpopmail/domains/ for i in *; do \
vmoduser -q NOQUOTA $(echo $i|grep -v vpasswd); \

This works only on vpopmail installations which are configured to store the mail messages directly on the filesystem. Therefore this approach will not work for people who during vpopmail install had configured it to store mailboxes in MySQL or in other kind of SQL db engine.

Anyways for Vpopmail installed to use SQL backend, the script can be changed to read directly a list with all the mailboxes obtained from databasae (SQL query) and then, loop over each of the mail addresses apply the vmoduser -q NOQUOTA

I've written also a few lines shell script (, it accepts one argument which is a vpopmail domain to which the admin would like to reset all applied mailbox quotas. The script is useful, if you have to often remove all quotas for vpopmail domainsor have to do quota wipe out simultaneously for multiple email domain names  located on different servers.

Fix 503 AUTH first (#5.5.1) mail receive errors in Qmail

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Reading Time: < 1minute
I have one qmail rocks install based on Thibbs Qmalrocks tutorial

I had to do some changes, to:
/etc/service/qmail-smtpd/run and /etc/service/qmail-smtpdssl/run init scripts.

After a qmail restart suddenly qmail stopped receiving any mail messages and my sent messages was returned with an error:

Connected to but sender was rejected.
Remote host said: 503 AUTH first (#5.5.1)

After investigating the issue I finally found, that one value I’ve changed in /etc/service/qmail-smtpd/run and /etc/service/qmail-smtpdssl was causing the whole mess:

The problematic variable was:


To solve the issue I had to disable the value which it seems, I have enabled by mistake.

Below is a quote from which explains what REQUIRE_AUTH shell variable does:

Setting REQUIRE_AUTH=1 will make the service not accept ANY mail unless the client has sent a valid AUTH command. This also prevents incoming mail from being accepted for your own domains, so do not use this setting if the service is accepting “normal” mail from the outside world.
Restarting via qmailctl restart and qmail started receiving messages normal 😉

Fix to mail forwarding error “Received-SPF: none ( domain at maildomain does not designate permitted sender hosts)

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Reading Time: < 1minute
I’m Configuring a new Exim server to relay / forward mail via a remote Qmail SMTP server
Even though I configured properly the exim to forward via my relaying mail server with host, still the mail forwarding from the Exim -> Qmail failed to work out with an error:

Fix to mail forwarding error "Received-SPF: none ( domain at maildomain does not designate permitted sender hosts)

I pondered for a while on what might be causing this “mysterous” error just to realize I forgot to add the IP address of my Exim mail server in the Qmail relay server

To solve the error I had to add in /etc/tcp.smtp on my Qmail server a record for my Exim server IP address xx.xx.xx.xx, like so:

debian-server:~# echo 'xx.xx.xx.xx:allow,RELAYCLIENT="",QS_SPAMASSASSIN="0"' >> /etc/tcp.smtp

The QS_SPAMASSASSIN=”0″ as you might have guessed instructs Qmail not to check the received mails originating from IP xx.xx.xx.xx with spamassassin.

Finally on the Qmail server to load up the new tcp.smtp settings I had to rebuild /etc/tcp.smtp.cdb and restart qmail :

– reload qmail cdb

linux-server:/var/qmail# qmailctl cdb
Reloaded /etc/tcp.smtp.
- restart qmail

linux-server:/var/qmail# qmailctl restart
Restarting qmail:
* Stopping qmail-smtpdssl.
* Stopping qmail-smtpd.
* Sending qmail-send SIGTERM and restarting.
* Restarting qmail-smtpd.
* Restarting qmail-smtpdssl.

This solved the issue and now mails are forwarded without problems via the Qmail SMTPD.