Reports (and the study confirms) that the issue of simple, repetitive, and easy-to-guess PINs is so widespread that if a thief managed to steal enough cards they would be able to walk up to an ATM or go to a store and use every 18th card like cash with the correct PIN. Sure, if you lose your wallet, you can just call the bank to have your card canceled and a new one issued to you. But in an age of card skimming, where the thief doesn’t need your physical card to make a copy of it for themselves, you may not notice that your account has been compromised until it’s too late and your money’s been withdrawn.
According to www.lifehacker.com, the Cambridge University study affirms that most of us are terrible at picking passwords and PINs, especially when they are things we know we will have to remember, and when they are in the confines of a narrow system like “four digits only.” The study also pointed out that we are not terribly private about our PINs either, and close to 50 per cent of the people who participated admitted to sharing their PINs with others freely. And a third of the participants used the same PIN for all of their cards—which is about as bad as using the same password for all of the web sites you log in to. Others thought they were more secure because they used their birth date as their PIN, forgetting that if their wallet is lost, there’s likely some document also in the wallet with their birth date printed on it.
So whether it’s using the same PIN, using your birth date, writing the PIN down and keeping it in your wallet, or giving out your PIN to other people, you can see why it’s time to change it. Even if you know how to keep physical control over your wallet and your ATM and credit cards, it’s still more likely that your wallet will be lost or stolen than it is someone breaks into your computer and takes all of your passwords.