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Online Banking Security

What is Phishing?
How can I protect myself from Identity Theft?
Security Information
Links to Other Websites
Disclosing Information to Financial Aggregators
How to Protect Yourself


Internet privacy and security is a concern for many consumers. We understand these concerns and want to do what we can to alleviate them, or at least explain some of the privacy or security features to our website and why we are using them. This section is provided expressly for the visitors of our website and for the users of our Internet banking product, Hills Bank OnlineTM to help you become a more confident and informed Internet consumer.

Our Privacy Policy goes over in detail the procedures we have in place to keep your personal information confidential as well as what we do with that information in the course of our normal business procedures, and we encourage you to read that policy carefully. This section is designed to explain some simple security steps that you can take to safeguard yourself while using the Internet and to define some common terms so you are familiar with them.




What is Phishing?

Phishing is an Internet scam done by an illegitimate person(s) who falsely claims to be a familiar business. The purpose is to direct the user ó you ó to a website under the guise of updating your personal information. The website may look legitimate but it is actually a duplication of the real website. For tips on avoiding phishing, read on.

  • If you receive an email saying your account will be discontinued unless you confirm personal information, do not reply or click any links in the email body.
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive regardless of who sent them.
  • If you unknowingly supplied personal or financial information, contact your bank and credit card company immediately.
  • For more detailed information on phishing, visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's (FDIC) website at www.fdic/gov/consumers/consumer/alerts/index.html.




How can I protect myself against Identity Theft?

Awareness is an effective tool against many forms of Identity Theft. Simply be aware of how information is stolen, be cautious to protect your personal information, monitor your information to spot any problems quickly and know what steps to take if you suspect your identity has been stolen.

Watch this interactive educational video and become more aware of how to protect yourself against identity theft.




Security Information

As technology develops, count on us to look for sophisticated ways to keep our website and its products and services safe and secure. Hills Bank and Trust Company uses several layers of security technology to enforce the confidentiality of your visit to our website, and to Hills Bank Online. The first layer is browser encryption. Hills Bank and Trust Company strongly recommends using the latest version of whichever browser you use. The latest versions often incorporate the most secure connection, 128-bit encryption. Downloading a newer version of your browser is quite simple and often can be done at no charge to you.

Secure browsers utilize secure socket layer, or SSL, technology to communicate with servers. When sending information to us at the bank, SSL technology scrambles, or encrypts, your information so that it is virtually impossible for anyone other than us to read it.

SSL works in three ways:

  1. It creates a secure communication channel by encrypting all communication between the user and the server.
  2. SSL verifies that the server you are connected to is the same server it claims to be. That way you are assured that you are really communicating with the bank, and not someone trying to intercept your message or transaction.
  3. A cryptographic word count is conducted to ensure integrity of the data between the server and the user. This word count gives a count of the number of bytes in a document and ensures the correct number of bytes are both transmitted and received. By using SSL, even the word count is scrambled so no one can make changes to it. If a message is not received in full, the message is rejected. Another copy of the message is sent automatically.

For these reasons, SSL encryption is the leading encryption method available today. Depending on your browser, when you are on a secure page, a padlock will appear on your screen (often in the lower right hand corner). This is a quick way of knowing your information is being encrypted and you should see this whenever you are entering your personal information. When using Hills Bank Online, you will see a padlock from the time you click Login until you exit Hills Bank Online. All the pages of this service are secure.

The second layer of security rests within the features of Hills Bank Online. When you sign up for the service, you are assigned a computer generated ID number. You have the ability to change that to whatever you want. Your original 12-digit number will always work for you but you are in control of your ID. The PIN that is used to get into Hills Bank Online is initially the last four digits of your social security number. When you first sign on, you will be forced to change that PIN to a 6-8 digit alphanumeric PIN. Hills Bank Online requires you to change your PIN at least once every three months. You have the ability to change your PIN more often if you feel the need.

We donít display any of your personal information on Hills Bank Online other than your name. Since we use Pseudo Account Names, your account numbers do not appear online. Your social security number will never appear in Hills Bank Online, nor will your address, or your date of birth. This is another way that we are committed to making your online visit as safe and secure as possible.





Cookies are small pieces of data that are sent to your browser from a web site. Each time you go back to that web site, your browser will remember the information. The cookie is returned ONLY to the web site that sent it originally and no one else can view it.

Many websites use cookies to remember information about you and what you have done previously on that web site, setting preferences or going to favorite links within their site. Cookies do not carry any personal information about you nor can they carry a virus very easily. Since they are small text files, their function depends on how your browser handles them; it is virtually impossible for a cookie to carry a virus.

Hills Bank Online requires the use of cookies to keep track of how long you have been in a Hills Bank Online session. When a Hills Bank Online session is idle for 5-8 minutes, the session closes and you need to sign in again; this is due to the cookie file. When you log in to Hills Bank Online, three cookies are sent to your computer. The first two simply have a reference number attached to them, and the third is a random string of numbers that lets us verify that someone isnít trying to impersonate a legitimate customer.

Enabling your computer to accept cookies varies by browser. Click to read the instructions for the following browsers:

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Safari




Links to Other Websites

While visiting www.hillsbank.com, you may use links we have posted on our site. These links will take you out of our site. While we believe these to be reputable sites, we are not responsible for the content on those sites or for anything that occurs after leaving www.hillsbank.com. The quality and dependability of these third party sites may vary as they are updated or altered. Any site linked to and from Hills Bank and Trust Companyís site is independent from us and because of this, Hills Bank and Trust Company has no control over the products, services, materials, or any other information contained in or available through these third party web sites. Access to these sites are at the userís own risk.




Disclosing Information to Financial Aggregators

There are many e-businesses that offer to consolidate all of your financial information to just one web site and while that sounds convenient, you should take precautions with this service. Many financial organizations suggest using personal financial software such as Quicken® or Microsoft Money® instead of the online account aggregators. Prior to enrolling in aggregation services, you should carefully read the terms and conditions statement the aggregator provides you. Make sure you understand these before giving any of your login information to a third party. This is especially important because we at the Bank may not be able to monitor intrusion to your accounts if the password (e.g. Hills Bank Online ID and PIN) is given to others.




How to Protect Yourself

Download this identity theft brochure and watch this interactive presentation of information and resources to help educate and protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.

Below are other helpful tips to keep in mind regarding Online Security.

  1. Do not give your Hills Bank Online ID and PIN and/or your PowerPayô ID and PIN, to anyone. Donít write these numbers down where anyone can find this information.
  2. We encourage you not to use commonly guessed names or numbers (birthdays, names, address, etc.) for your PIN.
  3. Remember to exit Hills Bank Online when you are done banking. This will properly end your session and require you to reenter your ID and PIN to bank again. When you simply hit the Back button of your browser, the Hills Bank Online session does not end.
  4. When naming your accounts, donít use the account number. Give the account a name like Checking, Household Savings, Jeep Loan, Johnís CD, etc. This keeps your account numbers confidential and the system even more secure.
  5. When you email Hills Bank Online Customer Support with a question, do not send your account number or social security number in the message. While you are trying to save us time, email isnít secure and in the event someone intercepts your message to us, you donít want those people to have that confidential information.

We are your online banking partner and want to make your online experience as secure as possible. For more information, please contact Hills Bank Online Customer Support via email or by calling 1-800-HILLSBK.

We contract with R. Kinney Williams & Associates to conduct periodic audits of our site. For more information about this company, and the seal below, click here.

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