Hello there! Are you here because you received a notification about a login attempt to your account? Don't worry! Your account is still secure.
Why did I get the notification(s)?
You received a notification because someone attempted (and failed) to log in to your account. If the login attempt was on a device or browser you haven't used before, then you got a notification after the first failed attempt. If it was on a known device or browser, then the notification was set off after five attempts.
The notifications were generated by LoginNotify, a feature introduced in 2017.
What should I do?
You should have a strong and unique password for your account. If you don't think this is the case, you should change your password as soon as possible. According to one study of leaked account passwords, nearly 17% of 10 million internet user accounts have “123456” as their password.
Don't be one of them! Even if you do have a strong password, you may want to change your password anyway, if you suspect that someone else has tried to access your account.
Also, it might be a good idea to associate an email address with your account in the event you lose access to your account and want to get back in. You can set your email on the first panel of your Preferences page. You might also want to glance through this essay on how to prevent account hijacking, which has some general tips you should keep in mind when using the internet.
How does this feature work?
For known devices/IPs, we allow up to 5 login attempts before alerting the user about the login attempt, since it's fairly common to mistype or forget a password. If there are 5 or more failed attempts, the notification will say: "There have been 5 failed attempts to log in to your account since the last time you logged in. If it wasn't you, please make sure your account has a strong password." There would be another notification at 10 attempts, 15 attempts and so on.
For unknown devices/IPs, we alert on every failed attempt. The extension bundles these notifications to avoid spamming users with too many notifications. For example, if there are 3 failed attempts from an unknown device, there will be a single notification, which says: "There have been 3 failed attempts to log in to your account from a new device since the last time you logged in. If it wasn't you, please make sure your account has a strong password.".
Things to note
There are two ways for users to get these notifications – either by web Echo notifications or by email. By default, the web and email notifications are on for everyone. This is configurable in the notification preferences.
The extension allows you to get an email when a user logs in successfully to your account from an unfamiliar device and IP. This is especially helpful for admins or other functionaries who are concerned that their rights might be misused. This notification is on by default. Note that the web notifications are disabled for this feature. The email text says: "Someone (probably you) recently logged in to your account from a new device. If this was you, then you can disregard this message. If it wasn't you, then it's recommended that you change your password, and check your account activity." You can disable this in your preferences.
Have a strong password
There is a lot of advice available online about making a strong password. Here is some general advice about passwords:
- "Select strong passwords – eight or more characters long, and containing letters, digits, and punctuation". (Source: Security/Password reset on Meta). Know more about passwords and security.
- "As a rule of thumb, a password that is reasonably long, with a mixture of upper and lowercase letters and numbers, and not mostly made up of dictionary words or names or personal information (date of birth, cat's name, etc.) is likely to be reasonably strong for everyday use. Passwords that consist of just lowercase letters can also be reasonably strong, but they must be significantly longer". (Source: User account security on English Wikipedia).