CLI Authentication Challenges

Category: Miscellaneous
On this page:

    The August 2021 release of Bitwarden (2021-09-21) introduced Captcha requirements to increase security against bot traffic. On the CLI, Captcha challenges are substituted with authentication challenges that can validated using your account’s Personal API Key client_secret.

    Get your Personal API Key

    To get your Personal API Key:

    1. Log in to the Web Vault and select the Settings tab.
    2. From the My Account screen, scroll down to the API Key section.
    3. Select the View API Key button and enter your Master Password to validate access.
    4. From the API Key dialog box, copy the client_secret: value, which is a random string like efrbgT9C6BogEfXi5pZc48XyJjfpR.

    Answering Challenges

    Depending on your preferences, you can save an environment variable to automatically pass authentication challenges or manually enter your client_secret whenever a challenge is made:

    Tip

    Aside from using environment variable, any possible challenge is automatically bypassed when using the bw login --apikey method. Learn more.

    Answer Challenges with an Environment Variable

    Authentication challenges will look for a non-empty environment variables BW_CLIENTSECRET before prompting you to enter one manually. Saving this variable with the retrieved client_secret value will allow you to automatically pass authentication challenges. To save this environment variable:

    Bash

    export BW_CLIENTSECRET="client_secret"
    

    PowerShell

    env:BW_CLIENTSECRET="client_secret"
    
    Warning

    If your client_secret is incorrect, you will receive an error. In most cases, this is because you have rotated your API Key since saving the variable. Use the above steps to retrieve the correct value.

    Answer Challenges Manually

    When an authentication challenge is made and no BW_CLIENTSECRET value is found, you will be prompted to manually enter your client_secret value:

    Login Prompt with Auth Challenge
    Login Prompt with Auth Challenge
    Warning

    If your client_secret is incorrect, you will receive an error. In most cases, this is because you have rotated your API Key since saving the variable. Use the above steps to retrieve the correct value.