Ruhr-Uni-Bochum
HGI

Research result as quiz question in ARD program

With their paper "This Pin can be easily guessed," HGI researchers made it onto the ARD quiz show.

© ARD / Wer weiß denn sowas?

When research findings become common knowledge: With their paper "This Pin can be easily guessed", HGI researchers Philipp Markert, Maximilian Golla and Markus Dürmuth made it onto the ARD quiz show "Wer weiß denn sowas?". The team of researchers had found out through a study that six-digit PINs hardly provide any more security in practice than four-digit ones, because users would not exploit the potential of secure longer codes, but would mostly have preferences for certain combinations.

The quiz makers picked up on this and used it to formulate the question: "In a study of PINs for unlocking smartphones, an international team of researchers found that...?" The choices were A) that pattern locks are more secure than numerical PINs, B) six-digit PINs are no more secure in practice than four-digit PINs, and C) the digits 1,2,3 are forgotten more quickly than 4,5,6,7,8,9. Comedian Bernhard Hoëcker and singer Mathea decided on the latter after briefly wavering between answer A and B and thus chose the correct one.

The show is no longer available online, but you can finde the resolution of the question in this video. The researchers' accompanying paper mentioned can be found here.