How Secure Is My Information?

This Site takes precautions to help maintain the privacy and security of your information. For example, you're required to enter a valid user ID, password, Personal Identification Number (PIN), or other identifier before any personal or financial information can be displayed. This site encrypts the information transmitted between our server and your browser. Also, if there's no activity on a page for an extended period of time, the site automatically logs you off. When that happens, you need to log on again using your user ID, password, PIN, or other identifier.

Why Are Cookies Important?

To identify one page request from another, this site uses a common technique called "HTTP-header cookies." These cookies don't contain any personal information. They just indicate that a page request is from someone who's already logged on. Your browser may be set up to warn you whenever a site sends your browser a cookie. If a pop-up message asks you to accept or reject the use of cookies, you should accept it. This site will not work without them.

What Is Encryption?

Encryption is a mathematical process that transforms a message to conceal its meaning. Encryption is used to protect messages from eavesdropping, tampering, or forgery over the Internet. This site uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt personal information transmitted between our server and your browser.

What is SSL and How Can I Tell That It's in Effect?

SSL uses public-key encryption using keys of various sizes, 40-, 56-, 128-bit, etc. The larger the key length and number of possible keys, the more difficult it is for unauthorized persons to decrypt or read the message. For example, messages encrypted with a 128-bit key are much more secure than a message encrypted with a 40-bit key.

The size of the key is tied to a specific browser installation. This secure site only accepts browsers with a minimum encryption strength of 128-bit. When you use this site at work, only the browsers provided or authorized by your employer should be used.

When you use this site at home, you can download the latest version of a browser with 128-bit encryption or higher at no cost other than connection time. The encryption technology in these browsers is subject to U.S. export regulations and U.S. laws and generally may not be exported to certain countries. For more information, visit the browser manufacturer's Web site.

If the URL of a secure document begins with "https://," the additional "s" indicates a secure channel to the server. Also, when security (SSL) is present, your browser will display a padlock icon, which is closed once a secure channel is established.

Why Do I Need to Use a Particular Browser?

To maximize the privacy of your information and provide a consistent visual presentation, a relatively current and capable browser is required. For example, the browser must support JavaScript™, cookies, and SSL. For enhanced security, a browser version that uses 128-bit SSL encryption or higher is recommended.