So you’ve tried to log into your bank account and are suddenly prompted to enter the 3rd, 8th, 10th and 13th characters of your password—let’s talk about that. Some institutions have come up with a rather interesting way of protecting user accounts. The method in question requires users to type only certain characters from their password. Say, for instance, your password is b!tw@ard3nr0k$. If you were to lay that out in numerical order, it would look something like this:
That's great because it would certainly be harder to crack that password if the account only asks for random characters.
Imagine you have a 13-character password and need to count out those characters in your head or on your fingers. Could you do it? I might be able to, but it's not something I want to have to worry about every single time I log into my bank account. I already use my password manager for the password and then depend on 2 Factor Authentication to access those types of accounts, so having to manually extract those random characters in my head is not something I want to have to deal with…ever.
Fortunately, with Bitwarden, there's a much easier way around this. Thanks to developer Melanie Kanavakatini, there's a handy way to view digit-specific characters in your password. With this feature, those random passwords are a quick glance away, so there's no need to count on your fingers or count through those password listings in Bitwarden, hoping your counting is spot-on.
The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that the feature is currently only available in the web browser extension, so if you need to be able to quickly count random password characters, you'll want to adopt the Bitwarden browser extension, which can be added to most major web browsers. I've tested this feature out on most of the major browsers (such as Firefox, Chrome, and Opera) and it works like a charm. And although you may only need this feature once in a while, when you have to, you'll be very glad it exists.
The feature is quite simple to use and is built into the web browser extension, so you won't have to do anything to enable it or add it—it just works.
The key to viewing these digit-specific passwords lies in viewing the password for an account in the Bitwarden web browser extension. To do this, click to open the Bitwarden browser extension and type your Master Password when prompted.
Once the Bitwarden browser extension opens, find the account you wish to view and then click the eye icon associated with the password to view it. When the password is visible (Figure 1), you'll see what looks like a numbered-list icon.
Figure 1: Viewing a test password showing the icon to access digit-specific passwords
Click the numbered list icon and you'll see a matrix that reveals the number associated with each character (Figure 2).
Figure 2: The digit-specific character list in full view
Now, when you're asked for characters 3, 8, 10, and 13, it's very simple to see them.
And that, my friends, is all there is to making use of a feature that could very well add yet another layer of security to your account authentication. The only caveat to this is few institutions are yet to deploy the feature. However, when you finally do come across a service that requires digit-specific passwords, with the help of the Bitwarden web browser extension, you'll be ready.