We know people default to bad passwords, whether for their computers or banking PINs. But, we have to stress this here, people are really bad at picking passwords. This infographic visualizes that idea by taking all of the possible combinations and mapping them based on frequency of use.
A data set of 3.4 million pins was used. The first two digits are on the horizontal end; the second two on the vertical end. That perfectly diagonal yellow line streaking across it shows the frequency of 1111, 2222, etc. Data Genetics crunched the numbers (based on “released/exposed/discovered password tables and security breaches”) used in the graphic, and came up with some fascinating finds:
- You can crack more than 10 percent of random PINs by dialing in 1234. Expanding a bit, 1234, 0000, and 1111, make up about 20 percent.
- 26.83 percent of passwords can be cracked using the top 20 combinations. That would be 0.2 percent of the passwords if they were randomly distributed.
- For the data set used, 8068 is the “safest” password, used just 25 times out of 3.4 million.
- Birthday years are big. The 1900 PINS–1986, 1960, 1991, and so on–are extremely popular, with PINs from later in the century used the most.
- A full 17.8 percent of PINs are couplets, such as 7878, 8181.
- 2580 seems random, but comes it at No. 22 most-used on the list. Why? Because it’s straight down the middle row on a telephone keypad.
There are better ways to pick a password.