Often developers and clients need to exchange passwords to be able to access some services. Of course the best option would be to never use someone else's credentials to log in, and instead create a different account for every user. And of course there's always the option of using a remote-desktop application to be able to work on a client's machine without having to share any passwords. But these options are not always viable. Plus, often clients don't have enough experience with security or even computers at all, so you can't really expect them to understand cryptography, use GPG, etc., or be willing to install and learn to use other software, or follow complex rules without some irritation (like having to send pieces of passwords over different channels, or spell out long passwords on the phone, etc.). This is such a common scenario that the vast majority of professionals I've worked with keep on sending or requesting passwords in plaintext via email (and of course they don't even delete those emails afterwards). Because it's easier.
So I thought of a method that is almost as simple as sending an email, and at the same time it should provide enough security compared to other methods available in the same scenarios.
- Create an empty text document on Google Docs. Then, if you have any credentials to communicate, just write everything in this document. Otherwise leave the document empty.
- Share the document with the other party, who must have a Google account (but everybody has one today).
- The other party opens the document (they must be logged in to their Google account). If they have any credentials to communicate, they will write them in this shared document.
- When all the information has been exchanged, you (the owner of the document) just delete the shared document.
Pros: very easy even for the laziest people; all the info is encrypted during the transmission (thanks to HTTPS); the info is deleted as soon as possible; Google's security is supposed to be better than the average provider; seems more secure than email, SMS, or voice calls in general;
Cons: what are the cons? Am I missing anything? All the cons I can think of don't seem to fit the threat model. In other words, I'm afraid the weaknesses of this method cannot be mitigated in a scenario where some people aren't experienced enough or don't care enough about security. So passwords can be stolen if a machine is compromised, or if a Google account has a very weak password, or if a Google employee manages to access Google Docs data... but if we add such threats to our scenario, then we are going to have much bigger problems (and good luck finding a solution).
So the question is: does my method make sense? What are the real cons? Am I missing anything?