Written on 26 Aug 2023

Dear Bitwarden: WTF is this?

My password manager won't stop asking me for my computer's password and it is weirding me out.

I like Bitwarden - it works very well most of the time. It makes it easy-ish to share passwords with my partner and to have access across all of my devices. I feel more secure when I use it.

But it keeps asking me for permission to install some "helper" but no description of what that new bit of code does or why it needs my password, an admin password for my machine.

A prompt asking for the current username and password that is titled "Bitwarden" followed by "An update is ready to install. Bitwarden is trying to add a new helper tool. Enter your password to allow this.
A screenshot of the password prompt by BitWarden

It reminds me of something that has long sucked on the web: permission requests. Most of the time web users see a website request some permission it's some shady "news" website asking for the ability to send notifications or get the user's location. With absolutely no explanation why.

Why were these prompt requests designed without additional context? Honestly, it's freakin' rude. Even one sentence would go a long way towards empowering users to decide if they want to provide access.

Bitwarden, I trust you. You've got all my passwords after all. But this kind of shoddy app experience bothers the heck out of me.