Guidelines on sending sensitive data
You may be asked to send me the username and password to your web site. I use this to perform installs and to trouble-shoot difficult problems. There is a risk involved in sending this information. Please follow these guidelines to minimize risk:
Please reset your password before and after sharing it with me
I cannot absolutely guarantee that my network or mail servers are secure, or that they'll remain secure. If I get hacked, I don't want you to be hacked by extension.
So, please assign a unique, strong password before contacting me. Do not send me the main password that you use for everything in the world, because then you would have to change all your systems later to protect yourself. It is better to send me a password that is only used for the one system in question.
Once I'm done using your site, assign a new unique, strong password.
Please send your password in a separate, short email message, or over the phone
My policy is to delete all email messages that contain passwords, once I'm done using them. All other email is saved indefinitely.
If you send your password as part of a larger email, then your original mail may be quoted in all subsequent exchanges. Every email will then need to be deleted. This often destroys the text record of the solution to the problem being investigated. That data loss is felt later when I need to reference the details of the solution.
So, please send your password in a single, separate email. That way, the larger discussion will be untained and preserved. I will be able to reference the solution to the problem later if you or anyone else needs it.
Please identify your password using "password:" "passwd:" "pwd:" or "pw:"
I run automated searches through my email archives, looking for "password:", "passwd:", "pwd:" and "pw:", and I delete any matching messages. This is used as a backup method to make sure I've deleted all sensitive material. If you identify your password using a different method, like "my password is foo", then I won't be able to detect it programmatically.
Here is an example:
hey zoltan, thanks for helping with the install. here's my info: hostname: ftp.foo.com username: bob password: 658uwantit my host page is http://foo.com/support/cgi.html. call me at 132-555-1212 if need anything
You don't have to share your password
If you don't want to share your password, don't. This may prevent me from being able to get the script installed or fixed. But, if you feel the risk of sharing your password is greater than the benefit of having the script, then don't share your password. I would understand. You will still be able to receive email support.
Other sensitive data
People frequently send me unsolicited business plans, trade secrets, copyrighted source code, and other intellectual property. I do not want to receive these things.
In particular, do not send me a business plan that closely relates to one of my scripts (i.e., creating a search engine that searches FTP sites instead of web sites) and then request that I partner with you and also demand that I not steal your idea if I don't partner with you. I refuse to rule out any product or feature (created by me, for my own gain) just because somebody has proposed it in an unsolicited email.
Also, do not send me source code for other products. I frequently receive emails requesting a certain feature, along with the secret source code for a competing product which has that feature. I don't want that. There are many features that my products lack, and they lack them because I haven't figured out how to implement the feature in a way that is consistent with other product features, or I have decided the code overhead is too high, or I am concerned about supportability. There is no feature that is missing just because I don't know how to write the code to implement it. And, of course, even if I didn't know how to write the code, I would prefer to license it from another vendor rather than illegally cut-n-paste.
If you do send me business plans, trade secrets, source code, or other intellectual property, please mark it with "password:delete" somewhere in the body of your message. That will tell me that the email message should be treated as secret, and deleted as soon as it has been read and responded to.
"Guidelines on sending sensitive data" http://www.xav.com/scripts/misc/1013.html