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Security Notice
Phishing campain
UPDATE YOUR
EMAIL SECURITY
"IUEU"

Error:

Error opening ../data/default_pref

Could not create initial preference file!

../data should be writable by user apache

Please contact your system administrator and report this error

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure you have specified (using the configuration tool) your data directory.
  • If you have your data directory outside of your htdocs tree (not in the SquirrelMail directory, which is advisable), make sure NOT to use relative paths when specifying it in conf.pl; please use the full absolute path; and if editing the file manually, make sure "SM_PATH ." is removed for absolute paths.
  • Make sure both your data directory AND its contents are readable and writeable by the user that your web server runs as (unless you run PHP in safe mode - see below). That means checking TWO things: ownership and permissions.
  • Sample permissions are as follows:

The data directory is:

drwxrwxr-x  3  apache  apache  8192  Apr  18  22:57  data/

the default prefs file inside of it is:

-rw-rw-r--  1  apache  apache  82  Sep  18  2002  default_pref
  • If you're running *nix, you can typically find out what user your web server is running as by doing this:
% ps -ef | grep httpd
apache   11812  7296  0 Nov11 ?        00:08:31 /usr/sbin/httpd -DSSL

In this example, the user we want is called "apache". So, make sure apache has ownership over the data directory and its contents:

chown -R apache data/
  • If you have PHP's safe mode enabled, change ownership to be the same user that owns your PHP scripts instead of the web server user.
  • Make sure that you are using the default php.ini file without any other modification. Securing php as shown at the following link http://www.security-focus.com/infocus/1706 can cause the Error Opening message if open_basedir and/or safe_mode are not properly configured.
  • If you have done all of the above, and it still doesn't work, and you are running a linux like Fedora Core 4, that has SELinux, there here is what to do:

My data and attachment directories are outside of the html space, as recommended for security, and hence also outside of the space that squirrelmail, run by httpd, is allowed to access.

Running:

# chcon -t httpd_squirrelmail_t /usr/share/squirrelmail/attachments

# chcon -t httpd_squirrelmail_t /usr/share/squirrelmail/data

fixed the problem!


  • For IIS make sure to add
IUSR_MachineName

to the Permission for the ..\Data\ directory.

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