How to add an extra layer of protection in Bitwarden vault items

Jack Wallen shows you how to increase the security of Bitwarden Vault items with a simple configuration.

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

Bitwarden is one of the best password managers out there. Not only is the product an excellent tool, but the company really understands security and cares about the user experience. To that end, Bitwarden is constantly optimizing its software and adding additional features to ensure users can achieve as much security as needed to protect the credentials and other bits they have stored in the password manager.

For those who haven’t adopted a password manager yet, now is the time. With security breaches on the rise, everyone needs to realize that the responsibility doesn’t just lie with the websites, apps, and services they use. The end user has a certain level of responsibility not only to use strong passwords, but not to repeat passwords and check for violations – all of which Bitwarden does very well.

Bitwarden also allows 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.

They’ve finally introduced a password manager. You’ve started adding entries and using the built-in random password generator to create very strong passwords. They even use the tools regularly to keep up to date with violations that may affect you.

However, one day you accidentally leave your desktop and leave everything open, including Bitwarden.

Someone walks by, realizes your password manager is open, and takes advantage of the situation. The next thing you know, someone is accessing your accounts and wreaking havoc in your life.

You may poke fun at it, but it has happened and will continue to happen. In fact, this type of “hack” is far more common than you might think. You could even become a victim of social engineering, where someone pulls you away from your computer in an emergency, knowing that you are leaving Bitwarden open and your credentials will be exposed.

What can you do to secure your Bitwarden account?

First of all, you should always configure Bitwarden to automatically lock after a set time. That should be clear. This way you can be confident that your passwords will be locked behind your Master Password should you be hacked away from your computer. To do this, open Bitwarden and go to File > Settings and then set the vault timeout to around five minutes (Figure A).

Figure A

Vault timeout menu in Bitwarden
Set the vault timeout to automatically lock your vault after five minutes.

Also ensure that the Vault Timeout Action is set to either Lock or Logout.

Okay, we’re getting closer, but that’s not the feature I was talking 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. If you enable this feature on a vault item, you can view the name and username for an item immediately, but to view hidden information, you must re-enter your Master Password. It doesn’t matter if you’ve unlocked the vault and are the account owner, if you enable Master Password reprompt, you’ll need to enter your Master Password a second time to see the password for that vault item.

Enabling Master Password reprompt is done on an item-by-item basis (there is no global configuration for it). While you won’t use this feature for all vault items, I highly recommend using it for all highly sensitive items like bank account passwords.

To enable master password reprompt, either create a new item or open a previously created item and look for the Master Password Reprompt option (Figure B).

Figure B

Bitwarden Master Password Re-Prompt toggle
Activate the re-prompt for the master password in Bitwarden.

Check the box to ask for my master password again and save the item. At this point, you will be prompted for your Master Password each time you choose 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, then this is it. Sure, it might be an inconvenience, but the added security can go a long way in protecting your credentials from theft.

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