You’ve probably heard that you should never share passwords. And as a general rule, that’s good advice to follow. Passwords are the keys that unlock access to everything we do online, so you want to be smart about keeping them safe and private.
But the reality is that we often need to share passwords with spouses, family, friends, coworkers, business partners, caretakers, and others. So when faced with the need to share passwords, here’s some tips on how to share them securely with the help of LastPass.
Why would you share passwords?
Weak passwords are one of the top reasons why online accounts get hacked. The next reason on the list is using the same password for multiple websites or all your accounts. LastPass is an excellent password manager but there are really good LastPass alternatives ⇣ out there. This is where password managers like LastPass come in. And in select cases, namely, when you use Dashlane or LastPass, the password manager can change a password for you with the click of a button. It only works on supported sites, but it's a huge convenience when a site is compromised—such as Facebook's security break of 50 million accounts —and you want to change all your passwords quickly.
It goes without saying that you only want to share passwords with people you trust, and to minimize any risk when you do. There are several reasons why you might need to share passwords, including:
- Shared video streaming and other entertainment accounts, like a shared family Netflix, iTunes or Hulu account
- Paying bills or the mortgage
- Managing joint bank accounts or credit cards
- Ordering through shared shopping accounts like Amazon Prime or Peapod
- Online health portals for managing family doctor’s appointments and records
- Digital storage in Google Drive or Dropbox for family photos or documents
- A WiFi password shared among a family or roommates
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And there are countless other scenarios where you might need to share passwords with others. The way we live and work nowadays means it’s likely inevitable we will all need to share a password with someone at some point.
So how can you ensure that when you do need to share a password, you can do so securely without jeopardizing your privacy or personal assets?
Sharing passwords, the secure way
There are a few important strategies to keep in mind when sharing passwords.
Make sure any password you share is a unique, strong password.
It’s pretty common for people to use a single password, or variations of a single password, for all of their online accounts. While this certainly helps with remembering your passwords, it’s very risky from a security perspective. It makes it so much easier for hackers and opportunists to break into your online accounts.
When you need to share a password, it’s smart to use a generated password that you don’t use for any other account. Why? If for some reason that person turns out be not-so-trustworthy, you won’t have given them access to all your other online accounts and need to worry about updating your password everywhere. Or what if that person has an infected computer? If some circumstance leads to the compromise of that one password, it won’t lead to the compromise of all your passwords. Using a separate, unique password for the account will minimize any damage.
Share passwords through a password manager, where they’re encrypted.
A password manager is simply a digital service that helps you lock up and encrypt your passwords, and you only remember one master password. The password manager remembers all the rest, which makes it easy to have a different strong password for each account. A password manager like LastPass also has a secure password sharing feature built in so that you can easily send passwords in an encrypted format to someone else. You don’t have to rely on insecure methods of sharing passwords, like through email, texting, or writing them down.
Sharing a password with LastPass
Sharing a password in LastPass is easy. Due to the way the secure encryption works, both you and the person you’re sharing with need to be LastPass users. We’ll help your recipient get started if they don’t yet have an account.To share a password, just go to your LastPass Vault and search for the item you want to share. When you hover over the website entry in your Vault, click the “Share” icon. Now enter the email address of your recipient, and just click share!Now you both have the same password syncing to your vault, and you both can access that account at any time. Any changes made to that shared item are synced automatically to the other person, too.In the Sharing Center, you can review any sites that you’ve shared with others, or that others have shared with you. You can revoke the share at any time if you no longer want the other person to have access to a given password. You can also share passwords from the Sharing Center at any time.
Sharing multiple passwords with LastPass
What if you have several passwords you need to share with the same person, or a group of people? That’s where the LastPass Shared Folder is handy. A feature of LastPass Premium, the Shared Folder allows you to easily sync many passwords with one or more people. In your Vault, you can right-click on a folder name to share an entire folder of logins with one or more people.Or, you can open the Sharing Center, and in the “Manage Shared Folders” view you can click the Add button to create and share a new Folder.In the vault, you can drag and drop sites or notes into a Shared Folder at any time. Any changes you make to the folder or to the items in the folder are synced automatically to everyone who was given access to the folder. Access can be revoked any time from the Sharing Center.
If you work on a team where you need lots of Shared Folders, we suggest looking into LastPass Enterprise, our password management solution for teams that has even more extensive sharing features.
Taking the pain out of password sharing
Thanks to built-in password sharing features in LastPass, password sharing doesn’t have to be a pain. The next time your spouse or roommate asks if you can remind them of the password to an account, you can just send it to them safely through LastPass. You’ll have more peace of mind knowing that your passwords are strong and encrypted, while the other person benefits from always having that shared password on hand when they need it, too.
New to LastPass? It’s free to download and get started with our secure password manager!
It’s no surprise that 95% of U.S. consumers share up to six passwords with other people when you consider that this includes WiFi passwords for home Internet connections and sharing Netflix passwords with family members, but a survey by LastPass showed that 59% also re-use the same passwords for multiple sites.
Put the two facts together and people could potentially be allowing access to rather more than they intended.
The younger you are, the more likely you are to share passwords with a friends: 40% of 18-29 year olds do so, dropping to 15% for those aged 30-44 and 6% at 45-59. Only just over a quarter bother to reset a password after they’ve shared it with someone else.
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While the company’s motivation is to promote the emergency access and password-sharing features it introduced last month, it does provide a nudge to ensure you’re not using your WiFi password for anything sensitive.
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