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Is Your PIN Code As Easy As 1-2-3-4 To Crack?

Using an ATM card is a convenient way to get money anytime. But how easy have you made it for someone else to get your money because of your PIN number? Quite easy, according to data scientist Nick Berry, founder of Data Genetics, a Seattle technology consultancy.

Using passwords from previously released and exposed tables and security breaches, Berry narrowed the results to just those that were exactly four digits long [0-9]. The digits 0-9 can be arranged into 10,000 possible combinations to form a four-digit code. He then analyzed those combinations to find out the least and most predictable.

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 were 1234. More people use that code than the lowest 4,200 codes combined. The second most popular PIN is 1111 (6% of passwords), followed by 0000 (2%). He also found that by attempting the top 20 combinations of four-digit numbers, a whopping 26.83% of all passwords could be guessed. The top 20 combinations, in order, are: 1234; 1111; 0000; 1212; 7777; 1004; 2000; 4444; 2222; 6969; 9999; 3333; 5555; 6666; 1122; 1313; 8888; 4321; 2001 and 1010.

Although using important dates - birthdays, anniversaries, year of birth, etc - makes it easier to remember a PIN number, it also increases its predictability, Berry says. His analysis shows that every single 19 __ combination can be found in the top 20% of the dataset. Using years or date of birth is "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," says Berry. Another common passcode is 2580 (#22 on the list). It may seem random until you look at a phone or ATM keypad and see that those numbers are straight down the middle. Berry also discovered that people have even less imagination in choosing five-digit passwords - 28% use 12345.

When you receive an ATM card from First Community Bank and Trust, a randomly selected PIN code is assigned to it. If you choose to change the code to something more personal, give it careful consideration because you can be certain someone else will too, should they wind up with your card.


About First Community Bank and Trust
First Community Bank and Trust is a privately owned bank. Established in 1916 First Community Bank and Trust has been serving Beecher, IL, Peotone, IL and the surrounding communities for over 99 years. Our commitment to providing the best banking products and services is matched only by our outstanding customer service. We offer traditional community banking services, including mortgage, consumer, and commercial lending, as well as state of the art electronic banking services.

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Press Contact:
Steven D. Koehn, VP
First Community Bank and Trust
(708) 946-2246