New strong password and weak ones near keyboard.
Image: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe Stock

Bitwarden is one of the best password managers on the market. Not only is the product an outstanding tool, but the company truly understands the issue of security and cares about the user experience. To that end, Bitwarden is constantly tweaking its software and adding additional features to help ensure users can eke out as much security as necessary to protect the credentials and other bits they’ve saved within the password manager.

For those who have yet to adopt a password manager, the time is now. With more and more security breaches, everyone needs to realize the onus is not solely on the sites, apps and services they use. There is a measure of responsibility on the end user to not only use strong passwords but not repeat passwords and keep a check on breaches—all of which Bitwarden does very well.

Bitwarden also makes it possible for you to add an extra layer of security to your vault items.

SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords don’t mix (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Allow me to set the stage.

You’ve finally adopted a password manager. You’ve started adding entries and using the built-in random password generator to create very strong passwords. You even regularly use the tools to help you keep apprised of breaches that might affect you.

However, one day you inadvertently walk away from your desktop, leaving everything open, including Bitwarden.

Someone comes along, realizes your password manager is open and takes advantage of the situation. Next thing you know, someone is accessing your accounts and wreaking havoc on your life.

You might scoff at this, but it’s happened and will happen again and again. In fact, this sort of “hack” is far more common than you might think. You might even fall prey to social engineering, where someone pulls you away from your computer in an emergency, knowing you’ll leave Bitwarden open and your credentials exposed.

What can you do to secure your Bitwarden account?

First, you should always configure Bitwarden to automatically lock after a set time. That should be obvious. That way, should you be pulled away from your computer, you can trust your passwords will be locked away behind your master password. For this, open Bitwarden and go to File > Settings, and then, set the Vault Timeout to something like five minutes (Figure A).

Figure A

Vault Timeout menu in Bitwarden
Set the vault timeout, so your vault will automatically lock after five minutes.

Also, make sure the Vault Timeout Action is set to either Lock or Log Out.

Okay, we’re getting closer, but this isn’t the feature I’ve been going on about. Let’s get into that now.

How to add an extra layer of security to your vault items

The feature I’m talking about is the Master Password Re-Prompt. When you enable this feature for a vault item, you can view the name and username for an item immediately, but to view any hidden information, you have to re-type your master password again. It doesn’t matter if you’ve unlocked the vault and are the owner of the account, if you enable the Master Password Re-Prompt, you will have to type your Master Password a second time to view the password for that vault item.

Enabling the Master Password Re-Prompt is done on an item-by-item basis (there is no global configuration for this). Even if you don’t use this feature for every vault item, I highly recommend you use it for any highly sensitive item, such as bank account passwords.

To enable the Master Password Re-Prompt, either create a new item or open a previously created item and look for the Master Password Re-Prompt option (Figure B).

Figure B

Bitwarden Master Password Re-Prompt toggle
Enable the Master Password Re-Prompt in Bitwarden.

Click the checkbox associated with Master Password Re-Prompt, and then, save the item. At this point, you’ll be prompted for your Master Password any time you want to either view the password or edit the vault item.

If you’ve been looking for a way to add an extra layer of security to your Bitwarden vault items, this is it. Sure, it might be an inconvenience, but the added security can go a long way to protect your credentials from being stolen.

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