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Security and Privacy

Security and privacy of your confidential information is important to you and to us at Northwestern Mutual. Know that we will never ask for your password, Social Security number, product or account numbers, or other personal information through text message or unsecured email. This information may be requested during a phone call with a Northwestern Mutual customer service representative or upon registering for online account access.

Northwestern Mutual is committed to safeguarding your personal and confidential information. We have provided some best practices that will help to enhance your security. Together we can work to protect what is most valuable to you.

Protect Your Account

Registering for Online Account Access

Passwords

A strong password is important to protect your online accounts. When you are selecting a password, keep the following tips in mind:

Do Do Not
  • Choose a long password of at least 8 characters. Longer passwords are more secure.
  • Include upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This makes your password more difficult for someone to guess.
  • Change passwords frequently – consider quarterly updates.
  • Consider using a password manager.
  • Keep your password private.
  • Do not use real names or your login name or any variation of it.
  • Do not use Social Security numbers, words or numbers associated with easily attainable personal information, like birthdays, anniversaries, license plates, telephone numbers, or addresses.
  • Do not use words from the dictionary.
  • Do not use the same pattern for your passwords, such as smart1, smart2, etc.
  • Do not write down your password or share your password with anyone else.
  • Do not reuse passwords. Make sure you use different and unique passwords for all of your online accounts. Reusing a single password for multiple websites is never a good idea. If a cybercriminal obtains your password, they may try to use it on other websites.

Consider a Password Manager

Password management software, a virtual space that allows you to safely store your account usernames and passwords, can help simplify choosing and maintaining passwords for your online accounts. Make sure to keep your passwords updated within your password manager. Several password management applications are available for a variety of devices and operating systems. Check with a trusted technology expert to help you choose the appropriate password


Stay Safe Online

Email Hacking Fraud

Email hacking occurs when a cybercriminal illegally gains access to an individual's email account. This allows the fraudster to read email messages and view the address book on the email account. Using this information, the cybercriminal (appearing to be the individual), contacts the individual's financial institutions via an email message and tries to obtain funds. Learn about how to protect yourself at Email Hacking Fraud.

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains another person's confidential information and uses that information, often for financial gain.

Victims of identity theft can spend months or years correcting the situation. Victims may also lose job opportunities or be refused loans for education, housing, or cars.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides advice to minimize your risk of identity theft and offers assistance for victims of identity theft at FTC.gov/idtheft.

Credit Monitoring to Fight Identify Theft

Fight identity theft by monitoring and reviewing your credit reports regularly. AnnualCreditReport.com provides helpful information on where to obtain your credit reports.

Phishing

One of the most common ways cybercriminals trick their victims is through phishing. This occurs when a cybercriminal tries to either get the victim to reveal confidential information or installs malicious software (malware) on the victim's computer. A phishing attack can take many forms, although the most common is an email message.

Identifying Phishing Messages

Common phishing message characteristics and red flags include:

Phishing Resources

To learn more about phishing and handling phishing messages, see OnGuardOnline.gov/phishing.

Spam

Spam is defined as unwanted, commercial email.

What can you do to reduce spam emails?

If the volume of spam email is low, the easiest thing to do is simply delete the spam messages. Consider following these steps to prevent or reduce spam:

For additional information, refer to the FTC website.

Social Media Safety

Social media includes websites and mobile applications that allow you to stay connected with friends and family – but be careful what you share. Cybercriminals could use the confidential details that you share publicly to conduct identity theft. A few tips will help you stay secure on these sites:

More information about social media safety is available at StaySafeOnline.org.

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Talking with your children about being smart and safe online is one of the best ways you can protect them from harm. Begin by talking early and often about what is acceptable online activity, learning from your children by having them show you what they do online, and staying calm and listening carefully if there is something online that makes them uncomfortable.

If you don't know where to start, you're not alone. Visit NetSmartz.org for more tips and discussion starters.

If you are wondering whether your child is being exposed to age-inappropriate materials, CommonSenseMedia.org provides ratings for a variety of items.

Children may become victims of cyber-bullying. Depending on the severity of the issue, contact the social media site, school officials, or law enforcement to report the incident. You may want to monitor your child's social media activity and review their friends list to ensure they are communicating responsibly.

Have your kids follow these tips to stay safe online. Instruct them:

Parental Controls

Parental controls are available on most Internet-enabled devices, like computers, smartphones, tablets, and gaming systems. When enabling parental controls, use age-appropriate settings to filter, monitor and block your child's activities. Work with a trusted technology expert if you have questions.


Secure Your Devices

Antivirus/Anti-malware

Protect your computer from malicious software (malware) by installing and running up-to-date malware protection. A variety of options are available online or at local retail stores. Work with a trusted technology expert if you have questions.

Operating Systems

To remain secure online, update your operating system (the system that manages the hardware and software on your computer and mobile devices) frequently. Consider activating automated updates if available. Apple, Google, Microsoft and other operating system vendors frequently update their operating systems. These updates may add functionality, increase security, and fix problems in existing software.

If you don't have a notification but want to check for software updates, search online for your device manufacturer and model number (example: AT&T Samsung "model" software update).

Apps

Be cautious when downloading applications (known as apps). Make sure that the updates or downloads come from the company that originally released the software.

Some apps may contain malware designed to steal your personal and financial information. Review permissions at the time of installation or update to decide if you are comfortable granting access requested by that application.

Other applications such as Adobe Reader, iTunes and security software products also typically offer automatic update options. Turning on auto updates will ensure you always have the latest software version available. It's important to make sure you keep your applications updated to protect from vulnerabilities and increase functionality of services provided.

Using GPS on Your Mobile Device

Your device's built-in global positioning system (GPS) locates and publishes information about your whereabouts. For example, applications like Facebook and Yelp allow you to "check in" at places using your mobile device, and then share your location on social networks.

Here are some tips to use GPS location services safely:

For more information visit StaySafeOnline.org.

Physical Security of Mobile Devices

Mobile devices include smartphones, tablets, laptops, cell phones, and other portable devices. They offer added convenience and flexibility. However, they do require additional protection. Treat your mobile devices as you would your wallet.

Consider the following best practices to keep your mobile devices secure:

Web Browsers

It is important to keep your web browsers up to date to correct any bugs or vulnerabilities that older versions may have. Download the latest version of your web browser. The following are examples of common web browsers:

If your web browser supports automatic updating, consider turning on that feature to ensure you always have the latest version.

Wi-Fi Security

Wi-Fi allows you to wirelessly connect your mobile devices to the Internet. The following tips can help you remain safe when you use Wi-Fi networks:


Managing Your Records and Information

Managing your records and information appropriately will help keep you organized and in control of your confidential information. Properly disposing of your records when you no longer need them will help protect your confidential information from falling into the wrong hands.

Records and Information Management

Government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission offer guidance on managing family and household records. Review the appropriate government agency's information to determine how long you should keep important documents. You should be securely disposing of confidential information on a regular basis.

Secure Disposal

Properly disposing of your records will help prevent criminals sorting through your trash to locate your confidential information. Here are some tips for you to consider:


Northwestern Mutual Information Security and Privacy Safeguards

The security and privacy of clients' confidential information are important to Northwestern Mutual. The company takes its responsibility to protect this information seriously and uses technical, administrative, and physical controls to safeguard its data. The following are just some of the ways the company works to keep client information safe.

Technical

Northwestern Mutual uses layers of technical controls to protect its clients' information:

Administrative

Northwestern Mutual supplements its technical controls with processes, procedures, and policies to further protect its clients' information:

Physical

Northwestern Mutual also protects its clients' information from physical harm and theft:


Sending Securely

Northwestern Mutual uses a secure system in order to protect confidential information that the company shares with clients via email. Replying to or forwarding messages that Northwestern Mutual sends securely to your account may result in unsecure communications.

View the Secure Email Recipient Guide for additional details. Check with a trusted technology expert to discuss options for secure email for your own personal use.

Secure Share

Our client website has a feature known as Secure Share which is a convenient and secure way to share documents between financial representatives and customers. If you are an existing client, click here to register or log in for online access.

Northwestern Mutual Box

Our financial representatives may also use an NM Box account to facilitate secure sharing of documents with their customers or prospective clients.

ADDITIONAL LEGAL INFORMATION