What are the security features in FAFSA on the Web?

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Your FAFSA data is protected by encryption. Encryption uses a mathematical formula to scramble your data into a format that is unreadable by anyone who might intercept it. If your browser is configured correctly, encryption is done automatically when you connect to FAFSA on the Web. Encryption strength is measured by the length of its "key,” which is expressed in bits. The larger the key, the greater the strength of the encryption. For example, we say throughout the introduction screens of the FAFSA that "international" versions of Internet Explorer use 40-bit keys to encrypt data, while "domestic" versions of the same browser use 56-bit or 128-bit keys. Consequently, the domestic versions of Internet Explorer will offer your data stronger protection. In fact, data encrypted with a 128-bit key is approximately 309,485,009,821,345,068,724,781,056 times stronger than data encrypted with a 40-bit key. We recommend that you use the domestic version of your preferred browser.

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