How to securely send someone a password

You’re sitting at an airport waiting for a flight when your significant other calls to ask for the password to an online account. There are people all around you and no place you can go to prevent others from overhearing your conversation. It’s a pressing matter, and it can’t wait until you arrive at a more secure destination. How do you convey the information without an unscrupulous individual gaining access to it?

Passwords are becoming more complex as hackers find creative ways to guess or penetrate them with advanced software. As passwords gain more letters, numbers, symbols, and varying upper/lowercase combinations to defeat hackers, they might also become more difficult to remember. Unless a password is recorded in a secure place for a spouse or other loved one to access a certain account when needed, conveying that information could be problematic.

Someone might overhear a conversation that includes a password and use that information for unscrupulous actions, but there are other ways for thieves to get this information. If you choose to text the information, a pickpocket can swipe your phone after watching you enter your security code to access it. If the information is emailed from a phone or laptop, that email could be intercepted by a hacker who penetrated the server of the email company you use. With so many ways for a thief to gain access to the password, how do you send it securely to your significant other?

A good way to send a password to someone and reduce the risk of it falling into the wrong hands is to break up the password into components and transmit them individually through different channels.

As an example, you might provide the first few characters in the password by voice over the phone, the next few characters by text, and the remaining portion by email. You can also use a secure messaging app, such as Secure Conversations by Facebook or Snapchat, in combination with another means including a video chat app such as Skype or a video game app that allows in-game conversations. Choose the combination of tools that works best for you.

Why not just use a secure messaging app you might ask? Hackers frequently penetrate the defenses of corporate servers, and even though some secure apps may promise to delete a conversation after a time, you have no control over whether or not that’s true, even it appears deleted on your phone. Always error on the side of caution to prevent your passwords from falling into the wrong hands.