Thursday, June 13, 2024

Most common PIN numbers that you absolutely shouldn’t use but probably are

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Clear patterns can be seen – the lighter the square, the more common the usage (Picture: Information Is Beautiful)

There are 10,000 possible four-digit PINs (personal identification numbers) available, and yet thousands of people are still using the same, simple combinations – with 1234 the most popular.

Researchers analysed 3.4 millions PINs leaked online and found that particular combination made up more than 10% of those used.

Following 1234 were 1111, which made up 6%, 0000, 1212 and 7777.

The data, analysed by Information Is Beautiful, was originally compiled by the late Nick Berry, who collated every PIN revealed in online data breaches.

Alongside the most common PINs, the data also revealed a common trick people use believing to make their PIN safer – using pairs of numbers. 

As the graph below shows, doubling up on numbers, such 3535 or 8080, is a popular way of creating a memorable, if insecure, PIN.

Filling the eighth, ninth and tenth spot on the list were 4444, 2222 and 6969. Obviously.

A second pattern in the data can also be seen for PINs beginning with 19, where people are using their birth years. A new line is appearing from 20 as those born after 2000 begin to do the same.

An ‘L’ shape can also be seen in the bottom left corner of the graph, extending to 31 in each direction, suggesting people are using their birthdays in the DD/MM or MM/DD format. 



The 10 most common PINs

  • 1234
  • 1111
  • 0000
  • 1212
  • 7777
  • 1004
  • 2000
  • 4444
  • 2222
  • 6969

However, an easy to remember PIN is a bad PIN, as ESET’s global cybersecurity expert Jake Moore points out. 

‘By using simple or easy to guess passcodes it enables attackers to target people more easily,’ he said.

‘People continue to use PIN codes that are commonly used or those that are related to them and easily accessible such as dates of birth. [This is] partly due to our memories only having so much captivity, but also because they may have been using the same codes for many years when cyber awareness was not so well documented.’

Millions of PINs have been leaked online (Picture: Getty)

While most ATMs and other accounts requiring a PIN have a low limit on the number of attempts, those with simple passwords remain at risk of being hacked if using a commonly used code or a birthday, information which could also easily be accessed.

The same is also true of passwords, yet the most common passwords in the UK remain 123456, password and qwerty.

Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Moore added: ‘People put themselves at risk by having weak passwords and PIN codes, and often do not fully understand the threat until they are compromised.

‘Password managers offer all the security for when such information cannot always be remembered plus they can help generate completely random codes so you don’t rely on your birthday or anniversary.’


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