Facebook wants to improve your security - by getting your mobile number

With last week's raft of online password hacks still at the back of honest netizen's mind, Facebook is launching a new security initiative - and it wants you to hand over your mobile phone number as part of it.

Users of the popular social network are reporting having received a message when they log on encouraging them them to "Stay in control... by following these simple security tips," with the link redirecting to a main security hub.

There, in addition to advice on how to spot scams and hints on picking passwords that are difficult to crack, Facebookers are now invited to input their mobile phone number (photo, bottom) to assist with account recovery.

This new feature looks to be designed with serious breaches in mind - new passwords sent using SMS avoid the need for emails, which could themselves be compromised in the case of a deep-penetrating security break.

Inevitably, skeptics are far from pleased with the move, suggesting that the Menlo Park web giant is taking advantage of the recent high profile password steals to prise yet more personal data out of their users under a benevolent guise. Admittedly, it's unlikely to be something that appeals to the Internet's more paranoid surfers, assuming they even use Facebook to begin with.

Rather than being a reactionary measure, however, Facebook say that the new security feature has been in the pipeline for some time now, and well before the recent breaches. It should be noted that participation in the mobile phone-related recovery method is completely voluntary.

Concern about your password strength? Check out ITProPortal's detailed guide to picking secure digital passcodes and stay tuned for all the latest security news and analysis.