One Useful Tool to Share Passwords Securely
Dan Levenson August 16, 2021
Every team needs the right software tools to do their jobs well. Today, were here to talk about what it takes to share a password securely in the all-too-often circumstances where this is necessary in the business world – with coworkers, clients, and business partners.
In an ideal world, passwords would be easy, secure, and known only to one person. In reality, we have to share passwords all the time. Sharing accounts is a normal part of both personal and business life in the modern world. At home, you choose an easy family password for movies, music, and shopping accounts so the whole family can share. At work, you may use a team login to access shared projects. Even when working with a new business partner, you may need to share passwords so that both parties can access and edit certain digital assets. This is especially true for website development and management.
Website design tends to assume one root account, one admin with all the powers so that all other admin accounts are managed below the root. Of course, the website owner and the person best qualified to be your website root account holder are often two different people. In order to develop a website, share control, or have your website managed by a hired pro, you will need to share a password – maybe more than one.
The Challenge: Sending a Password Securely
The challenge is in the sharing. How can you securely send a password over the internet without the risk of it being seen and read by anyone skimming the in-transit data? How can you send a password without the risk of it being read by someone else holding the recipient’s phone or sitting at their desk? The security risks today are everywhere, both in the digital and real world. As someone responsible for safekeeping an important password, what can you do? The complex answer is encryption. One interesting and very useful tool we’ve found is a website called SafeNote, a tool designed to send encrypted messages.
We’ll explain how SafeNote works and why it’s a handy go-to way to securely share a password along with other sensitive information that should be transmitted digitally with great care.
What Makes SafeNote Secure and Useful
SafeNote has exactly three features that make it the perfect password sharing solution. It is not specifically made for passwords, but rather, for secure message sending of any sort. This also makes SafeNote ideal if you need to send medical information, personal identification, bank account numbers, and anything else you can’t afford to fall into the hands of hackers. Here are the three features that make up SafeNote:
- SafeNote encrypts your message so that it can’t be read as data-bits while in-transit.
- The message is shared via a secure one-time link
- After the link is accessed once, the message self-destructs. It is deleted from the SafeNote servers and the link can never be used again
Let’s break that down piece by piece.
First, let’s talk about encryption. As you may already know, encryption is the act of encoding a message so that it has to be deciphered using a complex process before the message can be opened and read. The simplest form of encryption is letter-translocation. For example A=Z, B=Y, C=X, and so on. The most classic type of encryption uses a book, and only someone holding the same book can find cypher to un-encode the message.
Today’s encryption software uses randomly generated cyphers that cannot be duplicated or even stolen by hackers. A new cypher is used every time, and only someone on the other end of an encrypted message with the decrypt cypher will be able to read the message. To anyone else, all they see is hashed gibberish.
For hackers, this means that your sent password can’t be read when it travels through the internet to your business partner. Some hackers specialize in ‘skimming’ messages from wifi, from cable connections, and even from hacked devices and local networks. They read the raw data packets as they pass, stealing data as it travels. Encrypted data can’t be stolen in-transit and if a hacker steals a whole encrypted server, all they get is a server’s data worth of complete gibberish.
In other words, encryption is our favorite way to thwart hackers and it works superbly here with password sharing. Your password, along with any other secure messages, will not be stored in plain text or even salted hash. It will be stored encrypted until the moment your recipient opens the message.
Sharing the URL Link
The next feature is link-sharing. When you enter a message into SafeNote for delivery, SafeNote will give you a unique URL that you can share. Conveniently, your message also disappears from the screen so anyone who enters your office after you submit the message won’t see the password displayed in plain text.
You can then safely share the URL, which reveals nothing about the message, with the person who needs your shared password. This creates a very safe way to transmit information because even if you email the link and that person’s email is skimmed, hacked, or snooped, no one will see anything they shouldn’t. And your password isn’t stored in email history, just the nonsense URL link.
Initiating Self-Destruct Sequence
Lastly, SafeNote destroys your message the first time it is read. Yes, the first time. As soon as your recipient opens that link once, it initiates the self-destruct sequence. They have until the browser tab is closed to view your message or retrieve your password. After that, the link goes to an expired-link page on the SafeNote site. No message, and no repeat visits.
Why is this important? The self-destruct feature keeps you safe in the long-run so that your password is not floating around in a server somewhere waiting to be stolen. Not only that, but anyone who gets ahold of the link from an email or even a shared personal device won’t be able to access your password. The message shows itself once and only once.
How to Use SafeNote to Send a Secure Password
Using Safe-Note is incredibly easy. Start by heading to the SafeNote homepage. You’ll see a place to enter your message and a large handy button that says “Create Message”. Enter your password and click the button. From here, SafeNote encrypts the message and generates your one-time URL. You send that URL in an email or chat message to the recipient, who opens the link once to receive your password exactly once.
You can test SafeNote as many times as you want to see how it works for yourself. Go ahead and make a testing message and then try to visit the link twice. When you’re confident, generate your password message and send the link to your business partner. It’s as simple as that.
Building strong IT policies is also about choosing the right tools and equipping your team with a safe way to do things that are traditionally risky. SafeNote is just one of many potential tools you can use. Most effectively, it is approachable for one-time use without needing to install a program or create an account which clients often appreciate. For more useful IT techniques and the tools that make them work securely, contact us today!