DKIM and Exim4 on Debian

I wanted to get DKIM working on an Debian box I have that runs Exim. The first thing to do is to create the keys:

$ openssl genrsa -out diamonds.key 4096
$ openssl rsa -in diamonds.key -pubout >

I was following these instructions and noticed that Exim supports ed25519 DKIM signatures. Neat! I decided I may as well create those keys, too:

$ openssl genpkey -algorithm ed25519 -out hearts.key
$ openssl pkey -outform DER -pubout -in hearts.key | tail -c +13 | base64 >

From there I stuck the public keys in DNS: 3600 IN TXT  "v=DKIM1; k=rsa; t=s; p=MIICIjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFAAOCAg8AMIICCgKCAgEAxDMS3KRFCU4PEtygOUdALBt7jmz5IIX2+KHoV4fd0CLjXRvOqA5H8rU3e+y1lNese9yjPLksPqiOh5vtx8Tysjv2MSTXB1Kgr0tl+1IlJL4ihdpUgR1veKB5X4wK3Ppkr5Oy42H7xNHf/yj6aC1E+alZ8TdssuHY3ReqO6YvGa72UqTMmL1gBl9SXBUl" "vD+FqvfFtkQFFMU9QSTtrIuzcup6NC6z3a4I4UGz4YOZSxeUARKzySGFzPd7vwmrKEZVhlA0HzmJm9eGrjq6IiLVdgTJhSZ8Ecn9h65x9EjhNYYhsufTbcPDljlZYpA4b+dkTEs35a4KjOM2wY7gUdY9ydOqOCfz2BpzJ25Mn3K8nTV8a7fInWCnKg0sm6Fuiwe0DrQjrTe7xGC3Y03CU8eziynOukyWnfsCAnpWcUGa15bp1/O0Le+ZYsKOWxA" "CL5cKlYPw1VJrqz7ZQ1i+s+twOLgEKWm8gwKMsDysgpM1WvE+IhlJkkZLkWavF9pAKeSD6akkHcbkB3QsDKgNugDC4EEm6XV/+hPcTS9Gmd2PYPswxg8nlEdUDjxLul6UbKzWwkYihzKxhMSqCEXTUkt6eHjT+KAIHXVm86elFEmOcuadUWwr+74fgnTpv1XbWIs5qqqh/zROhvUUR8EXZbjOchFEX3YjLO8NDPqHdW4zHt0CAwEAAQ==" 3600 IN TXT    "v=DKIM1; t=s; k=ed25519; p=MTGVeSXmIzviF/B+ANc/bLqP2zEWhO/rw6o8HxIl5+8="

Ed25519 is quite compact! t=s:y is found in the DKIM RFC (section 3.6.1). t is for various flags. s is for strict (I’m just guessing the mnemonic)—it means all the domain names have to match. Apparently you don’t want this if you use subdomains in your email addresses (I don’t). y means “This domain is testing DKIM”—ie, don’t worry if it fails. It seemed reasonable to set that while I was playing around.

Next, I had to set up Exim in Debian. This was kind of a pain because there’s the Exim config, then the Debian wrapper around that config. This is made more complicated by the fact that Debian has a debconf option named dc_use_split_config. You can see which way yours is set in /etc/exim4/update-exim4.conf.conf (the double .conf is not a typo!). If it’s false then when you update /etc/exim4/conf.d you first have run /usr/sbin/update-exim4.conf.template which cats everything in the conf.d dir into /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.template. Then you have to run /usr/sbin/update-exim4.conf which combines /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.localmacros and /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.template and puts the resulting final config file in /var/lib/exim4/config.autogenerated. Fwew.

The basic DKIM config is in /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.localmacros. I added these lines:

DKIM_CANON = relaxed
DKIM_SELECTOR = diamonds : hearts
DKIM_PRIVATE_KEY = /etc/exim4/dkim/$dkim_selector.key

For my setup this wasn’t enough. The DKIM_* macros are only used by the “remote_smtp” transport (found in /etc/exim4/conf.d/transport/30_exim4-config_remote_smtp). I was using a “satellite” configuration with a smarthost. This means it uses the “remote_smtp_smarthost” transport (found in /etc/exim4/conf.d/transport/30_exim4-config_remote_smtp_smarthost). You can tell what transport is being used by looking for T= in /var/log/exim4/mainlog.

I copied all the DKIM related stuff from /etc/exim4/conf.d/transport/30_exim4-config_remote_smtp into /etc/exim4/conf.d/transport/30_exim4-config_remote_smtp_smarthost, namely these lines:

# 2019-08-26: David added these:
dkim_domain = DKIM_DOMAIN
dkim_selector = DKIM_SELECTOR
dkim_private_key = DKIM_PRIVATE_KEY
dkim_canon = DKIM_CANON
dkim_strict = DKIM_STRICT
dkim_sign_headers = DKIM_SIGN_HEADERS

Then I ran update-exim4.conf.template and update-exim4.conf and finally systemctl restart exim4.

At this point I could send emails through and the DKIM headers were added.

Next I removed the y flag from the t flags in the DNS since everything appeared correct. I also added the ADSP DNS record: 3600 IN  TXT     "dkim=all"

Then I wrote this post and called it a night!

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Last Modified on: Dec 31, 2014 18:59pm