‘Never give your passwords to anyone!’ security experts always advise to internet users. However, when it comes to an account that is shared with someone else there is little choice but to give away those login credentials. This can be done in many ways, and some are better than others; they can be sent via the most primitive method of literally telling the other person verbally or by writing them down on a piece of paper to sending the necessary data in an email or message.
The problem is sharing without thinking – or without the use of a solution that properly encrypts this data – might easily result in your credentials getting stolen. Thankfully there are plenty of ways with which you can share your password while keeping them safe.
The Absolute Don’ts
Although sending the username and password via digital text is the most common method of sharing passwords, it is best to avoid channels where your message could get intercepted. This is why the most obvious communication channel, email, is out of question: email messages are never encrypted, plus it is virtually impossible to turn your password into an encrypted sequence as they might appear on websites when accessing your account. The same goes for email attachments: granted, the password is safer if it appears in an attachment and certain PDFs and documents can be password protected, but if the email is intercepted then nothing can stop hackers from opening the attachments as well.
Sharing passwords via Skype may also seem convenient but, like email, this channel is not encrypted at all, meaning that message interception is unfortunately possible. And as for SMS messages, not only are they keen targets for hackers, but they can also be intercepted by government agencies.
To reduce the chances of getting hacked, choose a service to share your credentials where it is guaranteed that your files containing passwords will be securely sent. Such a method could be a shared folder in cloud storage like Dropbox, since not only are files encrypted locally before entering the cloud, but they are only accessible to those who have permission to view the shared folder as well. Similarly, online project management tools can be used, too: these programs typically have file sharing features, allowing users with the necessary permissions to access confidential information in a safe environment.
However, if you really want to achieve full-on safety…
The Best Option: Password Managers
Password managers are considered to be the safest programs for very good reasons. Since they are designed to keep your most sensitive and private data secure, they possess a military-grade encryption system with which none of your passwords and other credentials can be obtained by unwanted parties or the software’s developer. Therefore, if you want to share passwords or any other account details with someone else, the best way to do so is to send them through a password manager.
Keep in mind, however, that not all password managers support password sharing and if they do, their methods may be different from one another.
Dashlane, for instance, only allows the sharing of one password at the time for individual users, but can give full access of all credentials to a trusted party in case of an emergency. The software’s business counterpart is more advanced and, depending on a user’s role in the system (admin or user), team members can add, modify, share, and delete an unlimited number of passwords from any device that is trusted by the system.
LastPass also has plenty of sharing options – including the option to share access in emergency situations – but it provides a different approach. Users can simply share individual or multiple items by sending out an email message to the other party who can then view those shared login credentials – and, upon the sender’s permission, the passwords – in their own LastPass account.
Premium users, however, can also create the so-called shared folders in which they can send the necessary login information to up to five people at the same time. Regardless of the method, there is always the option to provide limited access to the selected parties, which means that the password can remain hidden from them if you so choose. Additionally, the same features are all available for LastPass Teams – the business version of the software – except with one big difference: users can create an unlimited amount of shared folders.
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