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You’re probably aware of the importance of selecting a strong password, but you might not realize that you need to exercise similar care when choosing your PIN number. A new analysis shows that many people choose extremely simple PIN numbers for their ATM cards, potentially putting their savings and checking accounts at serious risk.
Nick Berry, the president of Data Genetics, recently posted an alarming look at a selection of 3.4 million PIN numbers. Berry reports that 10.713 percent of ATM users in his analysis chose “1234,” while 6.016 percent of users chose the similarly basic “1111.”Obviously, these numbers are predictable and easy for thieves to guess. The other top PIN numbers were either in a line on an ATM pad or similar for another reason; top picks included 0000, 1212, 7777, 1004 (which is considered lucky by many Korean users) and 2000. Many of the top choices consisted of a single numeral, e.g. 8888 and 9999, and a few of the entries like 6969 have an obvious alternative significance.
Many ATM users don’t seem to realize that predictable PIN numbers can increase an account’s susceptibility to theft. Berry points out that almost 50 percent of the 3.4 million ATM cards used one of the 426 most popular codes. A thief would only need to work through the list of numbers to gain access to most accounts.The top result is the most alarming for security experts. Thieves have a 1-in-10 chance of accessing an account by entering 1234.If the president of a security organization knows the popularity of simple choices like 1234 and 1111, thieves are also aware of the phenomenon.“People are notoriously bad at generating random passwords,” Berry wrote in a subsequent blog post. “I hope this article will scare you into being a little more careful in how you select your next PIN number.”Here are the 20 most common ATM PINs: