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Remote Workers and Passwords

How to allow the former access without revealing the latter?

11:52 am on Jan 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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joined:Mar 9, 2003
votes: 10

I don't know if this is a well-known problem or a problem without a solution, but here goes...

I would like to take on an admin staff member who will work remotely.
As part of their job I will want them to login to the interfaces of my web-based clients (eg. Valueclick Media, CJ, Linkshare) and copy the data on sales and revenue to an .xls spreadsheet.

Now... here's the tricky bit:

Ideally I want them to be able to have access to my account on these interfaces (which obviously requires the password) but without revealing the password to them (in much the same way as auto-fill on a browser will fill in the correct password to a given site but without revealing the password explicitly)

Is the answer:

a) Don't be ridiculous, ronin, of course you have to let your remote admin staff know the passwords. You clearly have some trust issues to work on.


b) I can't believe you're even asking this dumb question, ronin - simply copy this file [INSERT FILEPATH] from your browser (which has all the autofill details already) and send it by encrypted email (or somesuch) to your remote admin staff member, ask them to decrypt it, add it to their browser and then their browser will commence auto-filling.

Okay, not bad, but how would I then de-activate the auto-fill on their browser, if I wished to?

c) There is some third-party web-based software which can handle this delicate matter securely - I'll sticky you with the details.

Excellent, please do.

d) You want to get a remote staff member to do this? Don't you realise there are macros which allow your machine to automatically download the data from the networks and update your spreadsheets, while you sleep?

Awesome! That would be the best of all possible solutions.

Basically, at the end of the day, if I set this up as a staff admin task, I want to be confident that if I then transfer this admin task from one member of staff to another in future, I don't then have to manually change fifty-odd passwords to ensure that access remains available only to one staff member and myself.

Any help much appreciated! Many thanks in advance.

5:20 pm on Jan 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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votes: 0

You could give their IP address rdc access to a PC with a browser that has the passwords saved. When they leave just remove the IP address and change the login password on the PC.

This way you can also prevent them creating files , printing or even using copy/paste locally on there own PC - everything stays on the remote PC.

d) is possible but its not a simple task, probably 1-2 days dev - you would need to write a page scraper or web service call for each app and schedule them.

5:31 pm on Jan 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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votes: 2

actually there's a product called iMacros that should be able to do this fairly easily. Of course, you would still have to write the macro for it, but if you have even a bit of programming experience, it's fairly easy.

As to having them use the autofill, via a remote login to a PC as aspdaddy suggested. That would work as long as it's done through IE. FireFox allows the user to easily view saved passwords.

Depending on the cost of the remote worker, having a script do it would probably be the best thing.

5:35 pm on Jan 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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d) is possible but its not a simple task

About 3 months ago I purchased a scraper program to try a few things such as this, and was amazed at what it could do. The set-up was complicated, but there was a tutorial that really helped me out. I'm not much of a coder, but the software gave you the option to work in javascript, SQL, or VB.

I now use it not only for logging in to online accounts and pulling down information, but I also pull the pricing off of several competitors sites (tens of thousands of products) on a monthly basis. It literally does hundreds of man-hours overnight.