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Employer asking for GitHub password. How to handle this?

This question was originally anonymously posted on Hashnode

Today, I was asked by my employer for my GitHub password. This is something I’m not willing to give out, especially since I work on other projects (outside of work) and am not willing to compromise anyone’s data.

Does anyone have any advice on how to respond to this request?

This may be more of a rant here:

I ask this because the manager in question demands passwords from everyone for every bit of software and every single device their subordinates use. That data is kept on a spreadsheet right on their desktop!!! They also remote in to work devices using insecure software and I’m basically waiting for the next data hack.

UPDATE 1

  • This has progressed a little more than I thought it would.
  • I let me employer know that I am responsible for more data than just their company’s and I am not willing to compromise anyone’s data. As it would be a security issue for me to disclose my password, I am unable to provide my login credentials to them.
  • Within 5 minutes of that, two managers have now scheduled to have a meeting with me regarding this.
  • This seems awfully strange. I’ll keep updating as new events unfold.

UPDATE 2

  • Wow! Thank you everyone for responding! Ended up getting an engineering team together to educate the management on the risks of their current system.
  • It sounds like management is going to take this advice to change their password control situation. Sounds like they were not used to hearing “no” (more or less) from an employee.

The answer which received the most appreciations was written by Terence Eden.

I’m going to respectfully disagree with the other answers. Jobs are hard to come by, and sometimes we have to stay in abusive relationships in order to put food on the table.

Your long term plan should be to leave this company, or get them to change their policies.

Your short term plan is this:

  1. Set up 2FA on GitHub. Use a token rather than SMS if possible.
  2. Change your GitHub password to a random string of letters, numbers, and symbols. Make sure it is different from every other password you use for other services.
  3. If your employer threatens you into handing it over, you can do so in relative safety.

Your employer will not be able to log in without your 2FA code, and you’ll be able to check for failed login attempts.

To be clear — this is not a long term practical solution. If you work in a large company, you should contact their information security team. If you work in a regulated environment, you should discuss this with your regulators.

If you are being threatened or bullied, talk to your Trade Union to see how they can help.

And, of course, start looking for a new job.

Ultimately, no, you shouldn’t have to hand over your password. But 2FA will give you some protection and some breathing room until you can find a better solution.

Read the rest of the answers on Hashnode and let us know what would you do in this situation.

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