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Facebook is testing a new tool to lock down user logins

Facebook is testing a new tool to lock down user logins

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As services go mobile, logins have gotten a lot stickier and a lot harder to track. Once you've logged in on a phone or tablet, that login will usually stick around until you actively turn it off, a particular problem if that phone ends up lost, stolen, or just re-sold.

There are tools to protect against that, but you may not have checked them out in a while. Login alerts will send you an email any time there's a new login, while device management can show you every device that's accessed your account. You can find versions of those tools from Google, Facebook, PayPal, or half a dozen other services, but most users skip past them, if they even know they're there.

Today, Facebook is releasing a new feature that will give those tools a higher profile. It's called Security Checkup, and should be popping up into select users' News Feeds starting today. The Checkup will pop-up over top of the site, prompting users to explore "a couple options you have to increase your security." From there, Facebook will walk users through password security options and show the computers logged into different Facebook services. If anything's fishy, it should be obvious from there. Those tools were already available to Facebook users, but thanks to Security Checkup, they'll be a lot harder to miss.

It's a minor update, but an interesting one. For years, the conventional wisdom has been that security should be invisible, interfering as little as possible with user experience. Security Checkup is the opposite, forcing itself into view and encouraging users to grapple with options they probably didn't know existed. Beyond Facebook, it's a sign that after a year full of bad security news, a more conspicuous approach to security may be coming back into style.