Help:Login notifications

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Hi 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)?[edit]

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 triggered after five attempts.

The notifications were generated by LoginNotify, a feature introduced in 2017.


What should I do?[edit]

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.[1] Don't be one of them! Even if you do have a strong password, you may want to change passwords 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?[edit]

Failed login attempt notification on Echo
Login attempt notification as seen on a different wiki

The extension keeps track of known browsers by placing a HTTP cookie in the browser. This cookie automatically expires in 180 days. If a failed login attempt happens from a new browser, it generates an Echo notification alerting the user about the login attempt. The other way that we identify known devices is by checking the current IP address subnet against the IP addresses that have been used recently (as stored in a temporary server cache). None of the information is stored in a database and at no point is any private information revealed publicly, including the attacker’s IP address/location. The WMF Legal and Security teams have reviewed the implementation for both compliances with our Privacy Policy and security considerations.

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." On further attempts, that notification would update to say "4 failed attempts", "5 failed attempts", and so on.

Things to note[edit]

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.

Successful logins[edit]

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.

References[edit]