The 20 most common phone PINs: Is your device vulnerable?


(Cybertech) – Is your phone PIN “1234”? No? What about “0000”? Believe it or not, these are two of the most popular phone passcodes people use.

Tarah Wheeler, a cybersecurity expert, revealed the 20 most common PINs used by mobile phone users to secure their devices. The data was compiled in 2019 by an InfoSec expert via the SANS Institute. If you want more recent data, a German-American team of IT security researchers investigated the most common four-digit and six-digit PINS and presented the results at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in 2020.

Here’s a look at all their findings, plus how to change your PIN on iOS and Android devices.

Most popular mobile phone PINs

Tara Wheeler and the SANS Insititute’s findings

According to Wheeler, 26 per cent of all phones are cracked with these 20 four-digit passcodes:

  • 1234
  • 1111
  • 0000
  • 1212
  • 7777
  • 1004
  • 2000
  • 4444
  • 2222
  • 6969
  • 9999
  • 3333
  • 5555
  • 6666
  • 1122
  • 1313
  • 8888
  • 4321
  • 2001
  • 1010

IT security researchers’ findings

Philipp Markert, Daniel Bailey, and Professor Markus Durmuth from the Horst Gortz Institute for IT Security at Ruhr-Universität Bochum conducted a study jointly with Dr. Maximilian Golla from the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy in Bochum and Professor Adam Aviv from the George Washington University. They found the 10-most popular four-digit pins as well as the 10-most popular six-digit pins.

Common four-digit PINs

  • 1234
  • 0000
  • 2580
  • 1111
  • 5555
  • 5683
  • 0852
  • 2222
  • 1212
  • 1998

Common six-digit PINs

  • 123456
  • 654321
  • 111111
  • 000000
  • 123123
  • 666666
  • 121212
  • 112233
  • 789456
  • 159753

While many of these make sense, some of them are real head-scratchers, such as the “1004” one toward the top of the list. Why that sequence?  
It’s certainly an enlightening look into people and their PIN choices – and if your passcode is on the list, we suggest changing it now.

UnsplashThese are the 20 most common phone PINs Is your device vulnerable image 2

How to change your mobile phone PIN

If your PIN is on the above list, you should be concerned about the vulnerability of your device. You should immediately change your passcode.

iOS device

  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone, then do the following:
    • On an iPhone with Face ID: Tap Face ID and Passcode.
    • On an iPhone with a Home button: Tap Touch ID and Passcode.
  2. Tap Turn Passcode On or Change Passcode.
  3. You can enter a four or six-digit number. 
    • But there are other passcode options, like a custom alphanumeric code.
  4. Enter your passcode again to confirm it and activate it.

For more instructions, see Apple’s help guides here and here.

Android device

  1. Open your device’s Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & location (or tap Security).
  3. To pick a kind of screen lock, tap Screen lock.
    • If you’ve already set a lock, you’ll need to enter your PIN, pattern, or password.
  4. Tap the screen lock option you’d like to use. In this case, it’s PIN.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.
    • You can enter four or more numbers. Longer PINs tend to be more secure.

For more instructions, see Google’s help guide here.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on .


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