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How Safe Is Your PIN

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How Safe Is Your PIN

People use PIN numbers in order to secure themselves. It is used in phones, credit and bank cards and many other devices. Did you know that speaking about phones, 40% of them are totally unsecured which means without any PIN number! But, let’s say that it is created, how secure and predictable is it anyway? Although we can make a strong password, it is still very vulnerable. Did you know that as soon as PIN was first introduced to the world it was cracked in around 2 weeks? There are many ways that your bank account can get compromised and result in loosing of money. This is because many banks have weak technology. Even though this is usually out of our control, it’s still a big issue. It seems that we have full control over our PINs trying to make them really secured but actually we are not.

Most common PIN numbers

Usually, PIN numbers are shorter then classic passwords, but this rule doesn’t have to be on mobile phones. PINs for cards are consisted of 4 digits. There was study conducted where company for security had analysed closely 3 million PINs and they were able to found out some interesting information. 27% of all users are using top 20 most common numbers. Because PINs are usually 4 digits your chances for guessing it correctly for the first time are 1 in 10,000. This is being reduced to 1 in 33,333 having tried 3 times to guess. Out of almost 4 million surveyed PINs, 11% of them were just 1234, and the simplest form of PIN which is 1111 was found on 6%. The top 20 PINs are in a category of easy to remember. Those with repetition or easy pattern are the ones who are chosen most frequently. For example 2580 is not in the top 20 because this combination is down the centre of keypad on phone. One of the most frequent PIN numbers are birthday dates.

Tips for better PIN security

As you can see from these statistics, it is all very risky. So here are some tips for better security. Never write down your PIN somewhere, even in mobile phone. If you can, find safe place in your home and keep only the written hints for your password. Also, do not have the same number for all your devices. I know it can be hard if you have many cards and devices. When you go to ATM look carefully that someone is not seeing your or snooping when you are entering it, and of course, never tell it to anyone. Do not use any memorable dates or even birthdays for PIN passwords. They are really easy to discover, especially if there are people targeting you for something.

If you have a feeling your PIN is somehow being compromised, change it with lightning speed if it’s still in your control. Be random when you choose it. I think you can remember more then just 4 digits. I am also using longer pin on smartphone and so should you. Sometimes, because of the information that it holds, loosing your phone can be much worse then loosing wallet. If you think your PIN is too obvious or predictable, change it now and if possible, extend it.