Hackernoon logoUsing a Password Manager: My Review of Bitwarden by@anuanniah

Using a Password Manager: My Review of Bitwarden

A non-geek who writes about tech from a commoner's perspective! Two decades in the IT industry as a technical writer. He struggled to remember all the usernames and passwords to every darn site, account, bank, laptop, random devices, and what have you. Bitwarden is easy to search for and find what I want in record time. It is intuitively ready to show me what I need on any device. It also enables me to copy the password onto whichever site I am trying to log in to. The app is not cluttered with any other information, it is.
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@anuanniahAnu Anniah

A non-geek who writes about tech. from a commoner's perspective! Two decades in the IT industry as a technical writer.

If you are like me, you might be struggling to remember all the usernames and passwords to every darn site, account, bank, laptop, random devices, and what have you. I keep signing up to sites and apps and tracking all those usernames and passwords in my "Dory the forgetful fish" memory.

At one point, I took to meticulously writing them all down in a notebook. But the notebook didn’t go everywhere with me. That plan failed miserably.

Next, I created a text file and stored it on my laptop. Again, portability. I created multiple copies on multiple devices, forgot to update them, and you can imagine the chaos.

Then I came up with the brilliant idea of mailing the username and password to myself. Each time I created an account on an obscure site, I quickly composed an email and hit send — to myself. Must be fail-proof right? Searchable, multi-device, and so on? Except, when you are searching through 80,000 emails, pretty much every word seems to have occurred at least a thousand times. So the search was not that simple.

Around this time, Google started raising some ominous threats. It kept warning me that some passwords had been compromised. That was scary. If one password can be compromised, so can others. I have learned now that emails go around the world unencrypted and can easily be read by a kindergarten-level hacker. One learns. And one takes corrective action at once!

I was pouring out my password sorrows to a friend when he suggested Bitwarden! I have signed up for the free version and I already see so many benefits. 

Intuitive interface

It took me less than 5 minutes to figure out and start using Bitwarden. It is absolutely simple to get it up and running for the basic purpose of storing usernames and passwords.

Access anywhere

This is a very basic requirement in today’s age. But it is still worth noting that Bitwarden is pretty seamless. I keep moving between devices and Bitwarden is always ready to show me what I want on any device. The intuitive interface comes in handy because not a lot changes between devices. Predictability — I love it.

Searchable

Since the app is not cluttered with any other information, it is easy to search for and find what I want in record time. I already have about 50 passwords on it and the list promises to grow. But the search hasn’t failed me yet. Of course, I need to be mindful of how to store the information. The text I supply better be meaningful.

Password suggestions

One of my biggest problems is coming up with unique passwords. The challenge gets worse because of all the rules — more than 8 characters, no spaces, one number, one special character, one uncle’s last name, one ex-boyfriend’s pet's name, and so on. By the end of it all, I have forgotten what I typed and I can’t replicate it in the ‘repeat password’ field.

Here’s how Bitwarden helps. When I want to create a login on any site, I first open Bitwarden and make an entry. I capture the site URL, the login name, and then move to the password field. When I make an entry, Bitwarden suggests a nicely complex password. It also enables me to copy the password. So I simply paste the deliciously complex password onto whichever site I am trying to log in to. I can choose to use my own password too, but why would I bother taxing my already confused brain!

Other features

The free version has many other features. I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it offers, but I have what I need so far. Here are some cool things for the slightly geeky folks:

  • Time out - You can set the login to timeout at a short interval in case you leave your device unattended.
  • 2FA - 2-factor authentication. If you are worried about security, Bitwarden allows you to set up an extra layer of authentication.
  • Sharing passwords - Obviously something you must not do. But if you absolutely have to, Bitwarden has a nice way of doing this. You don’t have to email passwords to others. You create something called an organization and invite another user into it. In the free version, you can only add one other user.
  • Open-source - For some reason, there is comfort in open-source tools. A greater sense of trust especially in matters related to security.

There is much more to Bitwarden. But as an ordinary user, this is as much as I currently need to use. It is serving me well. The only concern is that I still have to remember one password 🤣 — the password I set for Bitwarden. I suppose it is a small price to pay in exchange for freeing up my memory of zillion other passwords.

This is my personal opinion. I am sharing this information because the tool has really helped me.

Also published behind a paywall on: https://medium.com/illumination/do-you-struggle-to-manage-a-zillion-passwords-a954e9050915

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by Anu Anniah @anuanniah. A non-geek who writes about tech. from a commoner's perspective! Two decades in the IT industry as a technical writer. Read my stories

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