Extracting Attachments Without Launching Thunderbird

One of the precautions I have taken to avoid a snoopy ISP is not launching the Thunderbird mail client unless connected to a VPN. This helps ensure the ISP does not learn where I have mail accounts.

I received an email that included a PDF attachment. I wanted to view that attachment, but I was not connected to the VPN. I could temporarily pull the Ethernet cable to prevent Thunderbird from connecting to any email accounts or I could connect to the VPN.

I had a hunch there was another approach.

Using grep I found the respective maildir email in the Thunderbird profile directory. I browsed the contents of the mail with a text editor. I noticed the attachment was base64 encoded. I copied the base64 block of data and saved to a new text file. I used the base64 command to convert the text file to PDF:

base64 --decode attachment.txt > attachment.pdf

Having options reduces stress. To paraphrase Hannibal Smith, “I love when a plan comes together.”

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General, Thunderbird

Next: LibreOffice Writer Compatibility with MS-Word

Previous: DD-WRT Bites Me Again