Decoding PIN Codes Is Easier Than You Think It Is, Says Report

Decoding ATM PIN codes might be easier than you think. According to data scientist Nick Berry, an estimated 26.83 percent of all PIN codes could be guessed by using 20 combinations of four-digit numbers. Berry, the founder of the Seattle-based technology consultancy firm Data Genetics, analyzed passwords from security breaches and discovered that there are 10,000 possible combinations that the digits 0 to 9 can have in order to form a four-digit code. Berry also found out that roughly 11 percent of the 3.4 million passwords he analyzed were 1234, while 6 percent of them were 1111.

The code 0000, according to the data, took the 2 percent of the pie. “It’s amazing how predictable people are. We don’t like hard-to-remember numbers and no one thinks their wallet will get stolen,” Berry says. Additionally, the data shows that many of the passwords are mostly dates, particularly birthdays, anniversaries, and year of birth. “People use years, date of birth – it’s a monumentally stupid thing to do because, if you lose your wallet, your driver’s license is in there. If someone finds it, they’ve got the date of birth on there,” he adds. Berry also found out that the PIN number 8068 is the least used with just 25 occurrences. The lesson here? Use a better PIN code. And don’t bother using 8068. The hackers already know it.

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