Never share your passwords with anyone.
What is the one thing almost every online security expert will tell you? Never share your passwords. To do otherwise, is considered the equivalent of posting the nuclear launch codes on Craig’s list. It’s not something smart people do. And it may be illegal.
However, when it comes to digital asset planning, sharing your passwords with someone is probably one of the most important things you can do. But not always, and maybe not at all…
A conundrum if there ever was one.
Of course, don’t be lackadaisical with your online security. Keep your passwords to yourself, and make them strong. Strong passwords are harder to hack, and they are easy to create as long as you follow some good guidelines. Online security isn’t that complicated. It just requires a little common sense.
Use your head. Think about what you’re doing.
Don’t store your credit card information online. You shouldn’t save your username or password information in your web browser. Nor should you log in to anything important over an unsecure or public network. It’s madness to write your usernames and passwords on a sheet of paper which you stick to your computer screen. You are being completely negligent if you sit in an airport lounge and ask your wife for your password to…whatever. Brush your teeth. Look both ways. Tie your shoes.
Be smart. Use technology to create strong passwords.
Unless you’re creative enough to constantly come up with dozens of hack-proof passwords, and you have the memory of elephant, then a password manager is definitely for you. A password manager will store all of your passwords in a secure, encrypted vault, it will autofill your information whenever you log in to your accounts, and it will help you create unique, strong passwords which you can change as often as like.
Password managers will also routinely audit your list to make sure you aren’t duplicating any passwords either. That’s a nice check and balance against the danger of laziness. And you can choose what to share and with whom, but there’s one significant caveat to sharing your passwords…doing so may violate the Terms of Service of your accounts, and use of that access information by a third party may be deemed a State or Federal crime. So it definitley pays to be familair with the Terms of Service for all of your online accounts before chosing to share the love.
Dashlane and LastPass are just two of the popular password locker services out there that are worth considering. Both offer free accounts, and paid versions offer the ability to synch your password information across all of your devices. It’s becoming common for people to have 100 + online accounts or applications, and there’s no better way than a password manager to handle it all.
The only major drawback to a password manager is that a single master password provides access to everything in your vault, so if someone gets a hold of your master-key, or if you don’t chose your master password wisely, you are actually putting yourself at greater risk. But you now know how to make a strong password, and you aren’t going to make the mistake of picking something stupid like “password123”. Right? As long as you make a smart choice for your master password, the benefits of using a password locker far outweigh the alternative of not using one at all.
Think differently. Sharing can be good.
If keeping your passwords unique and secure is the mantra of online security, why ignore that when it comes to Digital Asset Planning? You aren’t actually ignoring your security by sharing your passwords, as along as you think about what you’re doing a little counter-intuitively.
Imagine asking your children to walk your dog for you while you are away on vacation, but you don’t provide them with your address, your keys, or the code to your security system.
What do you think will greet you when you return home from your vacation? And what do you think will greet your children if you never return? Asking your children to walk your dog for you isn’t going to save you, or them, from the mess. But what if you gave them the address, the keys, and alarm code when they needed it? Can you picture the difference? That’s what sharing your passwords will do for you. A password manager like Dashlane or LastPass will help ensure that whoever you have chosen to share your list with will get the most up to date, accurate list of everything you’ve got. But don’t forget about the limitations you may have with sharing your info.
Up next, I’ll cover how entrenched most people are in the online universe without even realizing it, and why sharing makes sense. I’ll also discuss why sharing your passwords still presents some significant issues (more on why it may be illegal), and what you can do to minimize the mess left by the dog, or avoid it altogether. Stay tuned…