Question from Andy: My girlfriend and I have a bet that’s riding on your answer to this question:
Is a six digit PIN really all that more secure than a four digit PIN?
It don’t seem like just two digits could make that much of a difference. She says it makes a big difference if someone ever tries to break into my phone.
So who’s right?
If you agree with me she has to take me out to dinner. If you agree with her I have to cook her a steak dinner with all the fixin’s. We both subscribe to your blog and we’ll trust your opinion.
Rick’s answer: I hate to have to tell you this Andy, but you’re gonna have to to prepare that steak dinner for your girlfriend.
A six digit PIN isn’t just slightly more secure than a four digit pin. It’s actually a LOT more secure. And that isn’t an opinion, it’s a statistical fact. Here’s why…
A four digit PIN has 10,000 possible combinations. I know that sounds pretty impressive, but it’s actually quite easy to break using various electronic methods.
However, a six digit pin has a whopping 1 million possible combinations. And that of course makes it LOT harder to break (and a lot more time consuming) using those same methods.
Bottom line: If you secure a device (or an online account for that matter) with a PIN, using a six digit PIN will provide a LOT more protection than selecting a pin with just four digits.
Of course a 6 digit PIN is more difficult to memorize, but the vast amount of extra security it provides makes it well worth the effort in my humble opinion.
Bonus tip: This post explains how to spot (and avoid) fraudulent emails.