Personal identification number (pin) security tips gas efficient cars 2015

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Some systems default to a four-digit PIN, but you can choose to use a longer one (on iPhones, for example). Stronger PINs are better because most security systems lock your account (at least temporarily) after three or so unsuccessful attempts. This gives you and your bank a chance to figure out what’s going on, and it keeps progress painfully slow for anybody trying to guess your PIN. Keep it Secret, but Accessible

Because the PIN authorizes you (or whoever knows it) to access sensitive information, it’s essential to keep the number secret. Protect it, and never write it on your ATM or debit card—thieves know to look for four-digit codes written on the back of stolen cards.

Easy vs. secure: PINs can be hard to remember—especially if you have multiple cards. This creates a challenging situation: Strong security measures are harder to use. As a result, you may be tempted to take shortcuts like re-using the same PIN or using numbers from your birthday. Fortunately, several tricks make it easy to store PINs safely (while making them easy to access or remember).

Password managers: Especially if you have multiple PINs, it may be helpful to have a record of each PIN and account. Password managers are useful tools for doing this (much better than a sticky note on your monitor or in your wallet). Develop and remember a strong password for the password manager, and you can look up your PINs whenever needed.

A disadvantage of word PINs is that automated hacking programs can use words from the dictionary in a brute force attack. However, most banking systems will lock them out after just a few unsuccessful attempts. You could also use an acronym—a series of letters that means something but isn’t a word found in any dictionary. Strategy #2: The Date Method

Another way to create and remember a good PIN is to build it from significant dates. For example, if your birthday is November 15th, 1946, you can create a PIN derived from your birthday. You might use 1115 (for the eleventh month and fifteenth day). You might also try 1546.

The disadvantage of this method is that somebody who knows you may be able to guess your PIN with their knowledge of your personal life. Plus, thieves can easily find your date of birth and other personal information online—through social media, free databases, and stolen data for sale online. For best results, mix up the numbers: Use part of a date with part of a different number (your address or shoe size, for example). Strategy #3: The Cell Phone Friend Method

Add a new fake contact, and hide your PIN within that contact’s phone number. For example, if your PIN is 1212, you can add the phone number 555-123-1212 (but use a local-looking phone number—not the fictitious 555 area code). This is the concept of “hiding in plain sight.”

Another way to randomize your PIN is to add numbers to a number that you know well. For example, you might add one to each number of the base PIN. If you start with "1234," you add one to each position and end up with "2345." Of course, this is an oversimplified example, and you’ll have to get more creative for any meaningful security. What If You Don’t Know Your PIN?

If you don’t know your PIN, you might need to request one from your financial institution. In some cases, you do not get to choose your initial PIN—your service provider mails a PIN to you separately from any cards (in case your card gets stolen from the mail). You typically have the option to change your PIN, and you might be required to do so.