128 Bit SSL Encryption
Before the end of 2003, the Internet Banking site will require 128 bit SSL encryption on the end user's web browser. Currently, the site supports 40 bit, 56 bit, and 128 bit SSL encryption.
When speaking of encryption, the key length of an encrypted web session determines how hard it is to break. A 40 bit SSL encryption key represents about a trillion possibilities to break. Each additional bit in the key length doubles the number of possibilites that are required to break the encryption. By only allowing 128 bit SSL encryption, the Internet Banking site is making it exponentially harder for someone to snoop on your Internet Banking session.
Most currently available web browsers support 128 bit SSL encryption and can be readily downloaded from the Internet.
The following browsers are available for download and support the 128 bit SSL encryption that will be required to access the Internet Banking site. Other browsers are available to download and use, and may work as long as they support 128 bit SSL encryption.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 (includes AOL 8 & 9)
- Netscape 7.2
- Mozilla Firefox 1.0
- Safari 1.2
Other browsers may work fine, but have not been certified that all features and functionality will work as designed.
Frequently Asked Questions
- This communication states this will occur in the near future. What is the targeted date?
At this time, we do not have a targeted date. This change will not take effect during the 1st or 2nd quarter. We want to give you as much time as possible to prepare for this upgrade.
- How is this different from the change that was done in October that required an upgrade of some web browsers?
Browsers are equipped with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to ensure the security and privacy of information being passed between the end user's computer and the Internet Banking site. The change that was done in October was an upgrade from Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 2 to SSL 3. The upgrade to SSL 3 was made because it addressed bugs in SSL 2. This upgrade prompted end users to ensure that they had SSL 3 enabled as most browsers supported it. Both SSL 2 and 3 allow 40, 56, and 128 bit encryptions.
The Internet Banking site currently allows browsers that use 40 or 56 bit SSL to connect and perform financial transactions. Over the past two years, the amount of computational power available has increased dramatically. As a result, access to computing resources that could comprimise 40 or 56 bit SSL encryption is more readily available. In addition, many people have computers that are connected to cable and wireless networks, making their transactions less secure. The result of these developments is that encryption utilizing 40 or 56 bit encryption may no longer be sufficient for sensitive financial transactions over the Internet.
The change we are making now is to no longer allow 40 or 56 bit SSL encryption connections and enforce 128 bit SSL encryption connections, which will ensure the security and privacy of the information being passed. This may require some end users to upgrade their browser if the browser they are using does not support 128-bit encryption.
- How many end users will need to make this change?
We estimate that approximately 18% of end users will be affected.
- How do I know if my browser supports 128 bit SSL Encryption?
To determine if your browser supports 128 bit SSL Encryption, click on the "Help" menu on your browser's menu bar, and select "About."
- For Internet Explorer Users:
A pop up box will display some information.
Next to "Cipher Strength" you should see "128-bit".
- For Netscape Users:
A pop up box will display some information, including the following text: "This version supports high-grade (128-bit) security with RSA Public Key Cryptography."
- If your browser does not support 128 bit encryption, you will need to upgrade to a browser that does in order to continue to access secure pages of the Internet Banking site. Recommended browsers include Netscape 4.75 or better, Netscape 6.0 or better, Internet Explorer 5.0 or better, Internet Explorer 6.0 or better, and AOL 6, 7, 8, or better, but other browsers that support 128 bit SSL3 encryption may also work.
- For Internet Explorer Users:
- How do I know if the website will work if I upgrade my browser?
Certain browser versions have been certified to work with our Internet Banking site. While other versions may work just fine, they have not been certified meaning that not all features/functionality is ensured to work as designed. The current list of browsers can be found here.
- If I haven't upgraded to 128-bit encryption, what messages will I see?
When support for 40 and 56 bit encryption is discontinued and you are not using a browser that supports 128 bit encryption, you will receive the following message:
The page you are attempting to access requires 128-bit encryption. To determine if your browser supports 128-bit encryption, click on "Help" in the toolbar of you Internet browser and click on "About [browser name]". A pop-up box or window will display. For Internet Explorer - Next to "Cipher Strength" you should see "128-bit". For Netscape - the following text should appear: "This version supports high-grade (128-bit) security with RSA Public Key Cryptography."
If your browser does not support 128-bit encryption, you will need to upgrade to a browser that does in order to continue to access secure pages of the website. Recommended browsers include: Netscape Navigator 4.75, Internet Explorer 5.0 or 6.0, and AOL 6, 7, or 8, but other browsers that support 128-bit encryption may also work.
- Can I upgrade the encryption level of my browser without updating the browser version?
That depends upon the browser and version you are currently using.
- Netscape browser versions earlier than 6 do not have a 128-bit encryption only upgrade. You must perform a full upgrade to a version of Netscape that supports 128-bit encryption and then specifically request it.
- While our Internet Banking site is not certified to work with Netscape 6 and 7, these browser versions may work and allow you to download the SmartUpdate Plugin, which will update the browser to 128-bit encryption without upgrading to a new browser version.
- If you are using Internet Explorer 3 or earlier, you must perform an upgrade to Internet Explorer 5 with 128-bit encryption.
- If you are using Internet Explorer 4 or later, you may perform a partial 128-bit encryption only upgrade by folloing the instructions to upgrade below.
- AOL uses the Internet Explorer browser and is subject to the same conditions as Internet Explorer.
- What do I need to do to upgrade?
In Internet Explorer, click on Help and select About Internet Explorer. The window that pops up should say "Cipher Strength: 128-bit". If it does not, clicking on "Update Information" will take you to the link below, which contains instructions for upgrading Internet Explorer.
The upgrade is simple and fairly quick. You will be required to restart your computer.
Netscape (version 4.78 and below)
Netscape is no longer making web browsers. The recommended replacement browser is Firefox.