Tips for Securely Sharing Passwords

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?

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

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.hover_optionsTo 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!share_a_siteNow 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.Shared_with_Others-highlight_pendingIn 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.Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.09.04 AM (3)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.Sharing-CenterIn 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!

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6 Comments

  • john says:

    A nice feature when removing a shared password or folder would be to generate a new password. Why – just in case the person you shared it with saved the password when they had it.

  • Dale says:

    We love LastPass but its sad when you have an Enterprise level password platform, but no capability to share folders with groups outside of your organisation. Both companies are using LastPass Enterprise and utilise Groups but we can’t share anything.

  • Jonathan R says:

    I love this feature of LastPass and use it all the time for both personal and work passwords.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the “Allow Recipient to View Password” is basically useless. It’s extremely trivial to view any password shared with you, thanks to browser developer tools (right-click on password input and choose “Inspect Element”, then change the input type from “password” to “text”, voila). So definitely only share passwords with people you trust.

    • Amber Gott says:

      Glad to hear that, Jonathan! It is true that at the browser level, after LastPass has handed off the password, the password isn’t encrypted so can be intercepted by looking at “Inspect Element” or by capturing it with another password manager. Definitely only want to share with people you trust, and regardless make sure it’s a unique, strong, generated password.

    • Brett Hansen says:

      Jonathan, Its actually a lot easier than that. All you have to do is copy the password from the auto-filled PW field and past it into any other field or text editor.