Is Your Banking PIN Secure?

ATM MachineIf your banking PIN or personal identification number is easily guessed or otherwise obtained by a criminal, you may be vulnerable to theft and fraud. A recent study by a British group found that 1 in 5 of those surveyed used their birthday as their PIN. What’s wrong with that…why not use some personal item as your 4 digit code? It’s easy to remember when you’re at the ATM, and besides, no one will know you use your birth date or last 4 of your social security number, or your house number…right? Wrong. Cyber thieves can easily, within minutes, find out enough personal information about you to discover your PIN. They do this by searching the Internet for your personal information , usually starting with social networking sites where most folks who use them enter their birthday and a lot of other information that enables the thief to piece together a personal picture of you, then take guesses at which of that information you used for your PIN.

Just as a strong password is important when using computers, a strong PIN is important in using your banking automated teller machine (ATM). Creating strong passwords involves using numbers, letters (upper case and lower case), and special characters to make them more difficult to guess. Personal identification numbers are usually required to be 4 numerical digits, which requires some thought to make them strong and memorable, but using some of the techniques in creating a strong password can be used with PINs.

A pass phrase could be created with a word that then would be made into four numbers by using the number of the alphabet of each letter, or some combination of such to make up the PIN. For example, using the word “bat” would be coded to be 2 (b), 1 (a), and 20 (t); or 2120. Please do not use this example for your PIN! The word you choose to use should not be your name, a family member’s name, your pet’s name, part of your address or any personal information about you. It should be a word that you can remember, but that has no connection to you. Use your imagination to come up with other ways to “code” a PIN that’s secure.

Ref: One in five use birthday as PIN number,

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Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,




Filed under How-To Corner, In the News, security

2 responses to “Is Your Banking PIN Secure?

  1. Pingback: Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#84) « What's On My PC

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