The Bitwarden password manager is an open source tool to not only keep your passwords locked up tight from prying eyes, but it also includes several other outstanding features to ensure you're working with the most secure authentication credentials possible.
For example, with Bitwarden you can create a new login for a website and have the app generate a random password that is strong and will be far less likely to crack than the one you make up yourself. These random, strong passwords should be considered a must for every site, service, and app you use.
But random passwords aren't the only option in the toolkit. With Bitwarden, you also get a random username generator, which does exactly what the name implies - generates a random username for you to use.
Your first question might be "Why bother?" The answer to that question is quite simple. Let's consider your bank account. Say, for instance, some bad actor wanted to hack into your bank account. This should be incredibly challenging, but without proper protection, you'd be surprised by how easy it is. One reason for this is your username. Say, for instance, your name is Jane Doe and you use janedoe as the username for your account. If a hacker knows your first and last name, a couple of quick guesses (say janedoe or jdoe) and they're halfway to accessing your account.
But what if your username is Unshipped0017 or Remote4751? How would a bad actor guess that? Chances are pretty slim. Couple that randomly generated username with a randomly generated strong password, and the likelihood of you getting hacked drops considerably.
Now that you understand why random usernames are important, how do you use Bitwarden to generate one? Let's find out.
You need to understand that the random username feature is used when creating a new account. If you've already created an account on a service, chances are pretty slim you can change that username. It's not impossible, but not every service, site, or app allows you to edit your username. So, to make use of a random username, you'll want to do so before you actually create the new account for the app or service.
With that said, let's generate a new, random username.
Open your instance of Bitwarden. The random username option is available in the web vault, browser extension, mobile app, and desktop application. If you don't have the desktop app installed, get it from the official Bitwarden download page and install it on your platform of choice (from Linux, macOS, or Windows).
To generate a random username, open your Bitwarden vault and create a new login entry. In the resulting window (Figure A), you should see the Username entry with a circle and arrows icon at the right edge.
Figure A: Creating a new Item in Bitwarden on the desktop client
Click the circle associated with Username and a popup will appear (Figure B).
Figure B: The random username generator popup in Bitwarden
If you expand the OPTIONS, you'll see you can also include the email address (associated with your Bitwarden account) in the random username (Figure C).
Figure C: Available options in the random username generator
Most likely, you'll just want to go with the default Random Word generator, and click the check to accept the username presented. If you don't like the username, click the circle/arrows icon again and Bitwarden will generate another random username. Once you're happy with the username, click the check and the random name will populate the username field (Figure D).
Figure D: Our new random username has now been added to the item
Congratulations, you've just used Bitwarden to generate a random username for your new account/service/app, which means you're one step further along with keeping your logins safe.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning author and avid supporter of open source technologies. He has covered open source, Linux, security, and more for publications including TechRepublic, CNET, ZDNet, The New Stack, Tech Target and many others since the 1990s in addition to writing over 50 novels.