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Cracking Your PIN Code Easy For Most People

If you lost your ATM card on the street, how easy would it be for someone to correctly guess your PIN and proceed to clean out your savings account? Not long, according to data scientist, Nick Berry, founder of Data Genetics, a Seattle technology consultancy.

Berry analyzed passwords previously from released and exposed password tables and security breaches and filtered the results to just those that were exactly four digits long [0-9]. There are 10,000 possible combinations that the digits 0-9 can be arranged to form a four-digit code.

What he found, he says, was a “staggering lack of imagination” when it comes to selecting passwords. Nearly 11% of the 3.4 million four-digit passwords he analyzed are 1234. The second most popular PIN in is 1111 (6% of passwords), followed by 0000 (2%).

Many of the commonly used passwords are, of course, dates: birthdays, anniversaries, the year you were born, etc. Indeed, using a year, starting with 19__ helps people remember their code, but it also increases its predictability, Berry says. His analysis shows that every single 19__ combination be found in the top 20% of the dataset.

He did add naming your pin number after a refreshing chocolate drink can be more challenging to crack.

 

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