Team Password Sharing

October 16, 2014 / Security, Kash, Start-up

At Kash, we use BitTorrent Sync along with the command line utility pass to share passwords among team members. We already use OpenPGP for secure emails, so everyone had their PGP key generated already.

Currently the only none coder person is Kaz, but he has this setup going as well.

Step 1: Get PGP Key

Your first step is to make sure everyone has PGP key, which you probably should do anyway so that you can send each other secure emails.

If you’re on a Mac, follow instructions here:

If you’re on Linux, follow instructions here:

Bonus: Mailvelope is a Chrome/Firefox extension that makes sending and reading encrypted emails in Gmail super easy.

Step 2: Install Synchronization Software

We currently use BitTorrent Sync, but any syncing software will do. E.g. AeroFS, Dropbox, SpiderOak, Pulse (formerly SyncThing), etc.

I personally like sync solutions that don’t involve someone else’s central server. Even if I use something that’s only p2p, I’d still only put encrypted stuff through it.

Step 3: Install pass

Install pass, which will require you to install Homebrew if you’re using a Mac.

Step 4: Trust Team Members’ PGP Key

After installing pass, you can now use it to manage passwords. Before you can encrypt passwords for other people to see, you need to make sure you have PGP public key from everyone on the team. We already have that since we use PGP for secure email.

Also you have to mark team members’ public key as trusted.

On Linux you can:

gpg --list-keys
gpg --edit-key [ID of the key]
gpg> trust
Your decision? 5
gpg> save

On Mac, the UI tool allows you to do that. Just look under info.

Step 5: Create Password and Folder

To initialize a folder to store passwords, it’s just a simple command: pass init recipient1 recipient2 .... See pass help for more details. The list of recipients are the people who’ll be able to decrypt files in order to see the passwords.

Use pass generate [something descriptive] [password length] to start populating the password folder with things you want to share.

Then to use it, pass show -c [something descriptive] to copy a password to clipboard.

Step 6: Sync Password Folder

pass creates password folder under ~/.password-store. You’ll then need to sync that folder with people on the team using whatever sync solution you settle on.

So there it is. That’s how we share team passwords securely at Kash for now. When the team gets bigger, then we’ll see if this holds up. But for now, this is all doable with free and open-source tools.