Thank you for your question. When you password protect a directory, it just adds a rule to your .htaccess file. It is most likely possible to pass this to phpbb, or have phpbb add the .htaccess rule; but this would have to be custom coded.
I recommend posting a question in the Official phpBB forums, since it is frequented by phpBB users who are familiar with the coding structure; or consulting a developer for a custom solution.
If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.
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