Most common PINs revealed

Many people use 4-digit PIN codes for their bank cards, security systems or mobile phones. 4 numbers are easy to remember, quick to input and with 10,000 possible combinations, a brute force attack in the physical world will take a fair amount of time.

However, if a hacker only has three chances to input a PIN, his chance of getting it right is over 18%.  This may not make mathematical sense (the chance is 3/10,000), but human nature means that not all PIN combinations are equal.

New research from Data Genetics, which analyzed 3.4 million four digit passwords, showed that the three most popular PINs accounted for 18.6% of all PINs.

Data Genetics showed that the most popular PIN was 1234 – used by 10.7% of all people.  The second most popular 4 digit password was 1111 (used by 6% of people) with 0000 third at 1.9%.

“A staggering 26.83% of all passwords could be guessed by attempting these 20 combinations,” Data Genetics highlighted.

The following table provides an overview of the most popular 4 digit PIN combinations.

Most popular PINs
Popularity rank PIN Frequency
#1 1234 10.713%
#2 1111 6.016%
#3 0000 1.881%
#4 1212 1.197%
#5 7777 0.745%
#6 1004 0.616%
#7 2000 0.613%
#8 4444 0.526%
#9 2222 0.516%
#10 6969 0.512%
#11 9999 0.451%
#12 3333 0.419%
#13 5555 0.395%
#14 6666 0.391%
#15 1122 0.366%
#16 1313 0.304%
#17 8888 0.303%
#18 4321 0.293%
#19 2001 0.290%
#20 1010 0.285%

Data Genetics also published the least popular PIN combinations.  The least used combination was 8068, followed by 8093 and 9629.

Least popular PINs
Popularity rank PIN Frequency
#9980 8557 0.001191%
#9981 9047 0.001161%
#9982 8438 0.001161%
#9983 0439 0.001161%
#9984 9539 0.001161%
#9985 8196 0.001131%
#9986 7063 0.001131%
#9987 6093 0.001131%
#9988 6827 0.001101%
#9989 7394 0.001101%
#9990 0859 0.001072%
#9991 8957 0.001042%
#9992 9480 0.001042%
#9993 6793 0.001012%
#9994 8398 0.000982%
#9995 0738 0.000982%
#9996 7637 0.000953%
#9997 6835 0.000953%
#9998 9629 0.000953%
#9999 8093 0.000893%
#10000 8068 0.000744%

“Many of the high frequency PINs can be interpreted as years, e.g.  1967, 1956, 1937. It appears that many people use a year of birth (or possibly an anniversary) as their PIN. This will certainly help them remember their code, but it greatly increases its predictability,” Data Genetics said.

Data Genetics urged consumers who used some of the most common PIN combinations to “apply common sense and immediately change them to something a little less predictable”.

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Most common PINs revealed