Car 'Hack' Helps End Worries Over Remembering PINs

Craymer Grid


A UK motoring journalist has come up with what he claims is the best answer yet to the "PIN nightmare" plaguing bank and credit card users the world over - and getting worse by the day.

The credit card-sized Craymer Grid (UK Patent pending) enables card users to write down and carry PIN numbers with them - safe in the knowledge that thieves won’t be able to misuse the information. It does away with the embarrassing scenario of flustered individuals getting to the checkout or cash-machine (ATM) and forgetting or mixing up digits in PINs.

The device uses no electronics, is simple to operate and employs a combination of encryption techniques and simple ‘burying’ of the real PIN (or PINs) amongst a host of dummy figures.

The Craymer Grid is the brainchild of Jonathan Craymer, a UK motoring writer, who first created the system some 20 years ago for his own use, but didn’t realise until recently just how useful it might be for the world at large. He says: "It was the increasing use of ‘Chip ‘n’ PIN’ cards, and the sight of many people - including pensioners - struggling to remember PIN numbers in places like post offices, which made me see the Craymer Grid’s potential usefulness to others."

The Craymer Grid costs just £4.25 + VAT, which Jonathan says is a small price to pay to help protect an individual’s ‘electronic life’. He says: "It can take an estimated 300 hours to get everything put right after a thief has ‘stolen’ your identity. One of the greatest risks is allowing thieves to find out what your PIN(s) are, and this device is far safer than any other method I’ve come across. It’s also very easy to use discreetly at a check-out for instance, to avoid embarrassment.

"Some people are lucky enough to remember their PINs, but many can’t and resort to writing them down on bits of paper, or worse on the card itself, which poses a terrible security risk. Some also store them in mobile phones, or just have one PIN for several cards - both of which pose their own risks.

"Personally I have a pretty good memory for figures and remember most PINs without difficulty, but I have one card with a PIN which for some reason I have a mental block against. It’s also easy to mix up figures like 1191 with 1911, especially if they’re ones you don’t use very often. Writing them down on a Craymer Grid for many could be the answer."

One Craymer Grid can hold several PINs. It can also store ‘nonsense’ (letters) or alpha-numeric (letters & numbers) passwords.

At the moment it’s available on its own ‘official’ website - - and the device is about to be stocked by selected shops dotted across the UK. "I’m in discussion with a company which supplies major supermarkets, as well as a household name stationery and books chain. I’m sure everyone could do with one of these in their pocket," says Mr. Craymer.

How secure is it? "If users fill a Craymer Grid out properly, I’d say their information will be 100% safe. It’s easier for a thief to simply guess a PIN number - as he/she has a 1 in 10,000 chance of doing so. Whereas the security factor of the Craymer Grid is many times higher. A colleague reckons you’d be more likely to win the Lottery, than ‘crack’ someone’s code written on a Craymer Grid."

27 October 2005 Staff

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