aNewDomain.net — Your four-digit PIN is a lot less safe than you probably think. According to a DataGenetics.org study of 3.4 million four-digit PINs, criminals could figure out about 27 percent of combinations in about 20 tries. And it’s not just the popular, easy-to-guess codes that are at risk — ‘1234’ and ‘8888’ accounted for only 10 percent of exposed personal information number codes in the study.
After all, there are only 10,000 possible combinations of four digits. That’s not a lot of guesswork for hackers. So why do companies even let you have four-digit PINs? Usability. James Goodfellow — arguably the inventor of personal identification number (PIN) and automatic teller machine (ATM) technology — initially envisioned a six-digit PIN. But — get this — his wife thought four numbers would be easier to remember. So the four-digit PIN was born. And security died with it — in more ways than one. Or four.
To protect yourself, check out the tips in the following infographic. Make sure you’re not using one of the 20 most-popular PINs. Use different ones for each card and account. Never write them down — and change them often. Really often. And don’t select a code because you think it will be easy to remember. If it’s a no-brainer for you, it’s a no-brainer for everyone else. Double click on the graphic twice to explode it.
Infographic credit: BackgroundCheck.org