Last month, we talked about sharing misinformation online and how to prevent the spread of false news. This month, we’d like to talk about over-sharing the kind of information you don’t want anyone to see.
Sensitive information can be anything: usernames and passwords, social security numbers, credit card information, and pictures best kept private. Thanks to the effortlessness of the internet, it’s become easier than ever for information like this to become more public than you ever intended.
But what’s the best, most secure way to share this information?
For simple information like passwords, credit card numbers, and other single lines of text, try protecting your information by breaking it up into smaller chunks. For example, send the password through one channel (iMessage) with no context and, in an email, send the username with a message like “I’ve texted you the password for ___.” It’s not foolproof but, by separating the context from the information, you decrease the chance that those who might misuse the information will know what to do with it if it falls into their hands.
An even more secure way to share is LastPass, a great password management service and one of the most secure ways to share and/or store passwords, but you’d need your recipient to have one as well in order to share information.
If you’re looking to send full documents, like job or tax paperwork, you’ll need an external service. Dropbox is a secure, free way to share files. They encrypt everything you upload or download over a secure HTTPS connection. (Note: Dropbox’s mobile app doesn’t use an encrypted connection, so don’t use it to send or open sensitive files.)
Do you have your own smart way to share sensitive information?