Bitwarden Review

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Introduction

I have started to be more conscious about privacy over the Internet, and one of the most important aspects to take care of when talking about privacy and security is where to store your passwords, as important as what passwords you use.

Most people (including me until some weeks ago) use the same password everywhere to easily remember it later.

Another common practice is to use iOS, Google or Firefox password tools, the problem with that is that you are forced into their ecosystem, and one should always think about who let in charge of your keys

Password manager tools

It is impossible to keep a lot of passwords in our memory, and writing them down is not a good idea either. I started to keep them in a text file encrypted with a password, but it was not the best solution.

So I started to use Chrome password manager, but I did not want to install it on the iPad, even on the PC, I started using Firefox on the laptop too.

So I started to look for an independent password manager tool, but almost all of them required a paid account. And I wanted to have full control over my passwords. So, I decided to use Bitwarden, because there is a self-hosted option

Bitwarden

Bitwarden is an Open Source password manager tool, you can host in your server with Docker, this is maybe the most secure way to manage your passwords because you are in full control of them. Of course, they are on a server open to the Internet so they will never be completely secure.

Main features

Different type of containers

Bitwarden is not only useful to manage your passwords, but it can also be used for:

Password Generator

Of course, you can generate the password with the tool, and adjust the type of password you want.

You can generate passwords of different sizes, from 5 to 128 characters, and if the password will contain: Upper case, lower case, numbers, and special characters. You can also set the minimum quantity of numbers and special characters.

Export and Import

You can export and import the data, this must be done carefully, because it is exported a plain text document, and that document should be deleted once it is not needed anymore.

Reports

Bitwarden offers different reports that help you a lot to keep your credentials secure

Exposed Password Report

This is one of the best features it has, it shows you all the passwords you use that has been exposed on the web because someplace you used them has been hacked.

Be sure the change all passwords that appear on this report.

Reused Password Report

This is one is pretty self-explanatory, this report shows all sites where you have used the same password, try to change all of them to random passwords, if one site is compromised the hackers will not gain access to other sites where you use the same login and password.

Weak Password Report

Here you can review all accounts that have weak passwords, usually the same where you have reused passwords. Keep all passwords randomly generated, and with long strings, no less than 14 characters.

Unsecured Sites Report

Here you will have listed all sites where you have an account that does not use SSL, in other words, the signing url is http and not https, on this sites you should of course use unique passwords, as it is easier to lose that password, and the hacker should not be able to use it in any other site.

Inactive two-factor authentication

In this report, it will be listed all sites where 2FA is available, but you do not have it enabled, be sure to use 2FA on every site that has available. This way even if your password gets compromised, nobody will be able to access your info on that site.

Data Breach Report

You can check here if your user name or email has been compromised in any data breach.

The report will show you what info has been made public together with your email address or login, the only thing you can do, is to change the passwords you used on those sites.

Two-Step Login

Your Bitwarden account can also be secured by enabling 2FA, you have these options to set it up:

Self Hosted Options

Official Apps

You have good documentation on the site to host it on your server with Docker:

You will need to install at least the server which you can use with your browser extension and your mobile app.

But there is another option for your personal use.

Bitwarden_rs

This one is the option for persona use, it is small and also have all features the official one.

You can find the installation instructions here

But, here I will let you how I installed on my server.

version: '3.3'
services:
  server:
    restart: always
    container_name: bitwarden
    volumes:
      - 'bw-data:/data/'
    ports:
      - '8888:80'
    image: 'bitwardenrs/server:latest'
    labels:
      - "docker-volume-backup.stop-during-backup=true"
  backup:
    image: futurice/docker-volume-backup:2.0.0
    environment:
      AWS_S3_BUCKET_NAME: XXXXXXX      # S3 bucket which you own, and already exists
      AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID: YYYYYYYYYYY # Read AWS secrets from environment (or a .env file)
      AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
    volumes:
      - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro # Allow use of the "stop-during-backup" feature
      - bw-data:/backup/bitwareden-backup:ro

volumes:
  bw-data:

With this configuration, you will have two containers, one with Bitwarden, and the second one that will take care to back up your database to AWS S3 or any compatible option. Remember that your vault is encrypted.

You will now only need Nginx or Caddy in front of it, I am using Caddy 2, with this configuration:

bw.mysite.com {
    reverse_proxy localhost:8888
}

If you want to use Nginx, you will need something like this:

 location /{
  proxy_pass https://your_local_host:8888;
  proxy_redirect off;
  proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
  proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
  proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
  proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
  proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Protocol $scheme;
  proxy_set_header X-Url-Scheme $scheme;
 }

Among with other server configurations.

Conclusion

Consider using a Password Manager tool, I recommend you Bitwarden, but you can use anyone you trust, I know that NextCloud comes with an add-on for it too, I think that is also a great option, what you should not do, is to re-use passwords, or use weak passwords.

Security on the Internet is as important as security in the real world, and you do not let your home or car keys anywhere, you keep them secure and with you.