Seems like everything we do online, and even offline, has some sort of password to it.  One of the first (and most valuable) passwords we all deal with is our bank card's PIN.  Many times this is only a 4-digit number, and while usually supplied by your bank or credit union, many of us will change it to something we remember.  This can make things easy for someone trying to hack into your account, as things that are memorable tend to be more obvious.  A website called DataGenetics, was able to get ahold of 3.4 MILLION PIN's that were stolen and put on the internet, and after analyzing all of the numbers, found some amazing things.


The Top 20

The first thing that struck me, and should concern you, is that out of the 10,000 possible combinations of PIN's (0000 to 9999), the top 20 most used PIN's account for nearly 27% of ALL the PIN's chosen. Here are the top 20:


Do you see your PIN on there?  I hope you don't use 1234, like one out of 10 people in the study. 1111 isn't much better.  Do you see the pattern?  Lots of easy to remember PIN's with 4 of the same number like 4444, or repeating numbers like 1212.  The study goes much further to find many people start their PIN's with the number 19, to make it a year.  1972 came up a lot.  Or dates. Codes that start with a 0 or 1, and end in a number below 31 are more popular because they are dates. 2580 is popular because it's the middle row of keys on the keypad.

What this list shows it that by only guessing 20 times, a criminal can crack 27% of PIN's.  Those are pretty good odds. For them.

Protect Yourself

Just recently, two people were caught locally by the Secret Service putting 'skimmers' on ATM machines.  Don't make it easy for criminals like this to access your account once they get your card number.  Don't pick a PIN that has any of the qualities mentioned above.  If you already have, change it as soon as you can.