Site Security

Here's an overview of the security measures we have taken in offering our online service.

Keeping your personal information secure

  • Personal information is kept on a secure server inside the Accord network to protect your confidentiality.
  • All forms and online account pages use secure 256-bit encryption, one of the strongest levels of encryption currently available to the public. Encryption makes your information unreadable to anyone who might intercept it.
  • A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is used to connect your browser to our secure servers.

Up-to-date browsers (including latest versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari) support secure 256-bit encryption. Older browser versions usually support lower levels of encryption (40-bit or 56-bit) and still remain secure, but the best advice would be to keep your browser software up-to-date.

You should note that ordinary e-mail is not secure. Please do not send us any confidential information via email. Similarly, we will not use e-mail to send confidential information to you.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

  • A "Secure Sockets Layer" is a commonly used method of managing the security of messages transmitted across the Internet and is used by us whenever we ask you to enter any personal information, including passwords.
  • You can tell that SSL is in use because a small padlock icon will appear on your browser status bar.

If you have problems getting to secure mode, install one of the latest browsers and try the site again. Check our technical questions section for more details.

Using passwords

  • In addition to the use of SSL and secure 256-bit encryption, you will need to provide security passwords to access the secure parts of the site.
  • You choose your own passwords when you register with us.
  • Remember that your password is the key to your access to Accord's online services. Make sure that you look after your password and keep it secret.

Regular security checks

  • Our website is constantly monitored for security problems. We also regularly review our security arrangements in line with the latest developments in the technology available.

Improving security yourself

General advice

  • Ensure that the equipment you are using to access our online services cannot be overlooked by another person (much as you would do whilst entering your PIN into an ATM).
  • Make sure that any anti-virus software on the equipment is up-to-date and running.
  • When you have completed your transaction or wish to take a break, log-off from the service and close down your Internet browser.
  • It is best not to use a public computer to access your online accounts because you cannot be certain that the public computer is secure - it may be infected with a virus that will try and collect your password or other personal information.
  • Using an email account that is not shared with other people will help keep your communications confidential.

Passwords

  • Do not pick a password that will be easily guessed, for example: a name, your telephone number or a family member's birthday. We have certain rules in place that make sure the password you choose is reasonably strong.
  • Do not tell anybody your login information. Your password should be secret and known only to you. If you suspect somebody else knows your password, change it immediately.

Anti-virus

  • Viruses can be a huge problem. You should use anti-virus software to protect your computer and minimise the risk that your personal details or information might be compromised by a virus. Make sure you set up your anti-virus software so that it regularly updates itself.

Firewalls

  • A firewall is a device or piece of software that is designed to control the traffic passing between your computer and the internet.
  • Firewalls are a very effective security measure and limit how your computer can be accessed from the internet, which makes it harder for a hacker to attack it. Whenever you use the internet, you should have a firewall in place.

Spyware

  • Spyware or Ad-ware is a growing problem. Spyware is a term used to describe a type of program that tries to collect information about you and your browsing habits, often without your knowledge or consent. People are normally tricked into installing spyware programs.
  • There are a number of anti-spyware programs available, many of which are free. It is a good idea to use an anti-spyware program to make sure your computer is clean.

More advice

There are many sources of security advice available. The following links might be useful, but Accord doesn't specifically endorse any of the advice offered, or products offered or sold on these sites:

Clearing temporary Internet files from your PC

If you are using Internet Explorer, open the browser and click on Tools on the main menu bar at the top of the screen, and then click on Internet Options. Make sure the General tab is selected in the box that appears. In the middle, you will see an area called Temporary files in which there are two buttons. Click on the one called Delete. Another box will appear asking if you want to delete these files. Click on OK.

Other web browsers have a similar option in their menus.

It is also worth clicking on the Clear History button in the History area immediately below the Temporary Internet files area, and then clicking on OK. This will ensure no one else can use the history file to revisit sites you have been to.