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The most effective strategy for achieving password strength

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While coming up with a strong and unique password may sound straightforward enough, it can be a challenge when creating passwords for tens and in some cases, hundreds, of accounts and applications. According to the 2023 Bitwarden World Password Day Survey, 52% of respondents use easily identifiable information in their passwords, such as company/brand names, well-known song lyrics, pet names, and names of loved ones - a finding that is perhaps unsurprising when considering that a majority (68%) of respondents manage passwords for 10+ sites or apps and yet 84% of respondents reuse passwords on at least one site. 

Fortunately, there are solutions available for the security-conscious to gauge the strength of their passwords. One of the tools available in the Bitwarden arsenal is the Bitwarden Password Strength Testing Tool. Upon entering in an existing password, the user will be given an assessment of that password (very weak, weak, average, strong, very strong, etc) and the estimated time it would take to crack it. 

A user could feasibly test each and every one of their passwords to ensure they are meeting the requirements for “strong” or “very strong”. Or, they could use the Bitwarden Strong Password Generator in conjunction with the Bitwarden Password Strength Testing Tool.

Password Strength Test Chart - Save the Password Strength Test Chart to guide your next password decisions. Bitwarden uses the zxcvbn tool for reliable password strength calculations.

There’s also a third option, one that is more all-encompassing and that saves an enormous amount of time in the long run: instead of taking an ad-hoc approach, simply use a password manager

Password managers and strength testing tools

Password managers are ideal because they make it easy to protect personal information and online data. Users can create, store, and manage strong and unique passwords while only having to remember one master password (the one that unlocks the user’s password manager account). Utilizing a password manager makes ensuring a strong password a much more automatic process, especially when leveraging an autofill capability. Bitwarden, for example, offers an autofill feature in both the web browser extension and the mobile app. While users can certainly take the approach of logging into their password manager, copying the requisite password, and pasting it into the field - a process that is markedly more secure than simply relying on memory for ‘managing’ passwords or using an Excel spreadsheet - autofill speeds up the process by enabling the system to recognize sites. This also protects against phishing attacks because the password manager will not autofill credentials into a lookalike site. 

From a big-picture standpoint, password managers reduce cybersecurity risk by ensuring a first line of defense - strong passwords - against cybercriminals. This is no small feat. In the 2023 Bitwarden Password Decisions Survey, 60% of respondents reported their organization experienced a cyberattack within the past year. Password managers enable users to stay safe, save time, take control, and stay alert. 

Do you worry about whether or not you have reused the same password on multiple accounts? There is an easy answer. Use a password manager. 

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