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Security Tip - Protecting Your Government Owned Equipment and Personally Identifiable Information

The USAccess PIN is a six (6) to eight (8) digit number known only by the cardholder and used to authenticate the cardholder to an agency enterprise IT network. Your USAccess PIV - something you have - and PIN - something you know - are key elements of the multi-factor security used to access government data and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates on your card's integrated computer chip. Your agency's logical or physical access systems may require the PIN to unlock the PIV card before you can successfully authenticate to the IT system. The PIV card and PIN is also employed if you are required to provide a digital signature.

PIN Best Practices

  • When creating your PIN it is recommended that you:
  • Select a PIN that cannot be easily guessed (i.e., do not use birth date, partial account numbers, sequential numbers like 1234, or repeated values such as 1111).
  • Null values (blanks) are not supported by USAccess, nor allowed by federal guidance.
  • Memorize your PIN. Do not write on your PIV card, a post-it note or on a piece of paper attached to your monitor or in your wallet.
  • Do not use your PIN as a password for other non-government IT services such as your personal email or bank account.

Safeguarding Your PIN

The PIN should be kept secure at all times even though it is useless to others unless they also have physical control of your card. Because of the risk to your agency, and you, it is critical that you never share your PIN with trusted co-workers, subordinated, or superiors. Doing so will expose you to fraud and identity impersonation. USAccess recommends the following:

  • Be aware of others that may be nearby when using your PIN. Observing the PIN you enter is the first step in compromising your identity.

If you believe that your credential has been tampered with, lost or stolen report it immediately to your agency's Security Officer.


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