Post-mortem passwords access


As you may know, some of us at GMV manage to fit in a quick run during our midday break. The other day Antonio and I were talking about HomeKit and Homebridge, our household automatic devices for carrying out certain activities like turning on the lights, triggering alarms or switching on the boiler (my personal blog has a post dealing with all these things) and it occurred to us that if one of us were to drop dead (not an unlikely possibility at that time of flat-out effort), anyone else would be hard put to gain access to all these automatic household devices. So we concluded that arrangements had to be made for giving access to my passwords in the event of my death.

No one really likes talking about death. Personally, I’ve got all my passwords in a password manager that only I have access to, with a fiendishly difficult password and double authentication factor. Even if my wife, brother or other trusted acquaintance should be aware of the password, he or she would not be able to access the service to recover others like those my bank, my Apple ID for running HomeKit and automatic devices or the Endesa password to change the name of the electricity bill.

Of course my death would be bad enough for my family without the added hassle of not being able to change the boiler-triggering temperature or selling off the 0,000001 Bitcoins I keep in my personal wallet. And without even mentioning the problem of closing down my Strava account for removing the impression that I’ve dropped out rather than retiring in the summit… but these are bagatelles that would be dealt with little by little.

Thank god (or the inventor responsible) there is now a solution for this, though we all too often don’t see the need until too late.

I now use LastPass as personal password manager, and I use Sesamo for corporate passwords (though also including some personal ones).

LastPass has an ‘Emergency Access’ that can be set up for this purpose, with the assignee’s consent, of course. This assigned emergency contact cannot access your passwords unless something happens to you; it’s not a matter of just giving this person outright access to your passwords. Should this person request access to your passwords, LastPass would contact you by all enabled means: email and cell phone, by text messages and calls. If LastPass doesn’t manage to contact you within a set time (which I’ve set as 21 days) it will understand that this is because you are not able to reply (RIP), whereupon LastPass will then give the designated emergency-contact person access to your account.

It goes without saying that the Emergency Access can hardly be set lightly, otherwise it might be triggered while we’re on holiday in the Bahamas without cell-phone access and then my PayPal account is disenabled, the password of which I keep in LastPass.

Neither is it a good idea to choose the spouse as designated contact. After all (god forbid), you might both suffer a mishap together… in which case you, your emergency contact and your passwords all go up in smoke without any possible access for anyone living or dead. Banks, of course, make allowance for this possibility, and if your heirs have a notary-attested, judge-authorized death certificate, they can then gain access to your bank account, but this will not be a walk in the park… and of course forget all about the €19 that are still invested in Bitcoin after the recent plummet.

In my case I have designated two friends, one from Valencia and the other a work colleague (no, not Antonio, so don’t bother trying to coerce him for making off with my Bitcoins after I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil). Both of them are sufficiently computer-savvy for all the necessary “paperwork” and I trust them both implicitly for accessing my passwords and making all this easier for my wife, who will have enough on her plate without all this additional crap.

Sesamo access is much more complex. You’d have to convince Mariano J. Benito that you need access to my passwords … and all the abovementioned notary-attested stuff would seem to be child’s play in comparison!

What about you? Have you given any thought to this possibility and ensuring your spouse would have easy access to your passwords? Or are you one of those that think they’ll never ever die?

Author: Carlos Sahuquillo

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV

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