ncrypted password managers are becoming increasingly popular. Bitwarden is one of these password managers. This blog will look at the different features of Bitwarden, the do's and don'ts of using Bitwarden and how you can use Bitwarden to improve security.
If you don't have a password manager yet and you are seriously considering one OR you've heard about Bitwarden but don't know how to use it, how to install it on different operating system and your browsers. Most importantly, how to organize these passwords and how to do the settings in and out. This post is dedicated to you!
What Is a Password Manager?
A password manager is a software application that automates password creation and management. It can manage passwords for various programs, websites and online accounts.
A password manager is useful for people with a large number of passwords to remember and helps to avoid password overload. It may also help to create strong passwords, improve security and provide other advantages over manual password management.
Modern password managers come with a wide range of capabilities, such as the ability to sync passwords across all clients, support for strong authentication and one-time passwords, and the ability to fill webforms with personal data.
Have Your Email & Password Been Compromised?
The statistics on data breaches reveal that hackers are highly motivated by the monetary gain to acquire data and that personal information is one of the most valuable types of data to compromise.
Most people aren't aware of the scale or frequency of data breaches, which are rampant today. Have you wondered why you receive so many spam emails? That might be caused by companies facing data breaches and your email or password got leaked out.
Fortunately, there's a way to check if your existing email or your password has been compromised:
- PWNED Email Check
- PWNED Password Check
Simply put your email or your password from the links above and it'll tell you if it's been compromised.
What are the Benefits of a Password Manager?
- Helps to generate random, secure password
- Stores unlimited passwords
- You only need to remember one master password (fast access)
- Works across all your devices
- Sharing password made easy
- Increases Productivity
- Less Risk
Bitwarden is a free and open-source password management service that stores sensitive information such as website credentials in an encrypted vault.
I've been using Bitwarden as my password manager for the last two years for the following reasons:
- Open Source Software (Code is hosted on Github; free for developers to audit the code)
- Audited by reputable third party security firms and independent researchers
- Bitwarden does not store the passwords. Sensitive information is encrypted locally on personal device
- Strong Encryption
- Paid plan is only $10 per year
- Support pretty much all operating systems
Bitwarden offers a pretty generous free plan. Matter of fact, I've been using their free plan for 2 years without paying a single penny. Here are some main features Bitwarden offers:
- Unlimited Passwords
- Unlimited Devices
- Always Free
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
- Password Breach Report/Monitor
- Cloud or Self Hosting Options
- Import & Export All Passwords
- Autofill Passwords
- Free Password Generator
Free vs Premium Plan
The difference between the free and premium plans are mainly Advanced 2FA and Security Reports. If these features are not important to you, you can simply go with the FREE plan. As mentioned above, I've been on the Bitwarden Free Plan for almost 2 years, didn't pay a penny! It's totally worth it.
Here is a comparison between Free and Premium plans:
What Is The Encryption Used On Bitwarden?
When it comes to choosing the right password manager, it's important to see how the company encrypts your data (emails & passwords).
Bitwarden uses AES-CBC 256-bit encryption for your Vault data, and PBKDF2 SHA-256 to derive your encryption key. Bitwarden always encrypts and/or hashes your data on your local device before anything is sent to cloud servers for storage. Bitwarden servers are only used for storing encrypted data.
Vault data can only be decrypted using the key derived from your master password. Bitwarden is a zero knowledge encryption solution, meaning you are the only party with access to your key and the ability to decrypt your Vault data.
How to make the most out of a Bitwarden?
Here are some practical tips to get the most out of Bitwarden:
Enable Two Step Verification (2FA)
Two step verification (2FA) is one of the most important methods to keep your personal and private data safe. It is an additional layer of security that can be used alongside your password and username to grant access to your account. The process of adding this extra layer of security to your Bitwarden account is easy, but please make sure that you have your recovery key readily available. Recovery keys are used to regain access to your account if you lose access to your email account. This can happen if your phone is stolen, or someone gains access to your email account.
Set up Emergency Access
Emergency access is a feature in Bitwarden that allows you to give trusted family members or friends temporary access to your vault in case of an emergency. They will be able to see your vault's contents and make changes to your items, but they will not be able to make changes to your account settings or export or download your data. This feature is only available in the free version of Bitwarden and not available on mobile apps. The emergency access feature is available to all paid plans.
Integrate Yubikey for Maximum Security
Obviously, a master password itself is not enough to protect your vault. That’s why you need more security measures. The most effective way is to use a hardware token (like a Yubikey) that requires a physical presence when using the vault. This way, the token ensures that a hacker won’t be able to gain access to your most important files and accounts even if he somehow steals or guesses your master password.
Check out my step by step guide on how to setup and use Yubikey:
When I discovered Bitwarden, the first thing I did was that I share it among my friends and my family and I taught them how to use it. Everyone said it's a game changer. Especially our parents or older generations, they're really not tech savvy and not good at the computer, and they tend to use single password on all different platforms. So maybe this article can help you and your friends and family to have a better online security mechanism, such as using a password manager. And so you can stay safe browsing on the internet.