Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the site password Requirements?
    To use this site, you are required to enter a valid user ID and password before any personal or financial information can be displayed. As an added security feature, we have chosen to enforce strict password rules. Your password has been communicated to you already. If you do not have it, please call the service center.
  • How Secure Is My Information?
    This site takes precautions to maintain the privacy and security of your information. For example, you are required to enter a valid user ID and password before any personal or financial information can be displayed. This site also encrypts all of the information exchanged between its server and your browser. Also, if there is no activity on a page for an extended period of time, the site automatically logs you off. When that happens, you need to log in again with your user ID and password.
  • Why Are Cookies Important?
    This site uses a common technique called "HTTP-header cookies" to identify one page request from another. The cookies this site creates do not contain any personal information. They inform the site if a page request comes from someone who has already logged on. Your browser may be set up to warn you whenever a site sends your browser a cookie. If an edit message pops up asking 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.
  • How Is Encryption Used By This Site?
    This site is designed to encrypt the transmission of all personal or financial information transmitted between our server and your browser. The security standard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is used to implement this policy. SSL is the leading standard for securing World Wide Web transmissions. It is also supported by the leading browsers.
  • How Can I Tell That SSL Is in Effect?
    If the URL of a secure document begins with "https://", the additional "S" on the end of the familiar HTTP indicates a secure channel to the server. In Internet Explorer and most other browsers, the security icon is a padlock at the top or bottom of the window.

    Note: The padlock will be closed once a secure channel is established.

  • How Secure Is SSL?
    SSL uses public-key encryption. This technology can use keys of various sizes. The larger the key length and the greater the number of possible keys, the more difficult it is to decrypt the message--making it more secure. Browsers generally have one of 3 key sizes: 40-bit, 56-bit, or 128-bit. Messages encrypted with a 128-bit key are 3 x 1026 (3 followed by 26 zeros) times harder to break than a message encrypted with a 40-bit key.

    This site provides the maximum level of encryption supported by your browser. When you use the site at work, only the browsers provided or authorized by your employer should be used.

    When you use the site at home, you can maximize the security of your Web activities by obtaining a browser with 128-bit encryption. These browsers are available for downloading at home from either Netscape or Microsoft at no cost.

  • 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 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). For enhanced security, we recommend using a browser version that uses 128-bit SSL encryption.