Many people will encounter certificate errors when they surf the net. They are common, especially when a site is not valid. This can be either a mistake on the part of the people running the site or a warning of a possible threat to your computer.
A certificate error is when there is a problem with a website certificate or the use of one. The warnings are designed to help keep you more secure. A page will appear warning you of the certificate error.
What happens if I ignore the certificate error?
You can ignore it, but it will appear in the Security Status Bar. You can still go to a site that has a warning attached, but it is not recommended practice. An option will come up allowing you to continue to the website. You can’t turn off the certificate checking option.
Does a certificate error mean that there is something wrong with the Internet?
There is no problem with the Internet Explorer, just with the site you are visiting. A valid certificate indicates that the site is safe and secure. You can choose to ignore the warnings at your own risk.
What if I have visited the site before, and the certificate error didn’t come up?
If this is the case then it is possible that the address isn’t configured correctly. Try retyping the address paying attention to type it in full and correctly. For example, if you have typed in ‘https://example.com’ try typing in “https://www.example.com.
The most likely reason that you will encounter a certificate error is that site’s certificate has expired. This is the problem of the site, and needs to be corrected by them by renewing their certificate. If it is a site you have gone to many times and never had a problem with before, try contacting the website to report the problem and give them a chance to rectify it.
Why should I be wary if this warning comes up?
This warning could indicate that the identity of the web server is being misrepresented. The certificate provides identification of the web server, and validates them. Websites can steal and use expired certificates to their own ends. In this case they depend on clients continuing on even if they are warned that the certificate is expired.
Possible messages that may come up if a certificate is out-of-date:
Some of the possible warnings that may come up are as follows: ‘This website’s security certificate is out of date’. If the certificate is out of date then the Certification Authority is no longer responsible for ensuring the correct use of the certificate until it is updated.
‘This website’s security has been revoked’. If you see this error then do not visit the site. It indicates a fraudulent site. The person or business using the certificate does not have the authority to use it.
‘This website’s address does not match the address in the security certificate’. This denotes that the address on the certificate is meant for another web address. A company may make the mistake of using the same address for a different part of their company that is at a different address, but unless you re absolutely confident that it is a division of the company that you are after, then avoid this site. If it is a mistake try contacting the company and letting them know so that they can rectify the problem.
‘This website’s security certificate is not from a trusted source’ Do not visit a site that shows this error. It is likely that the certificate is fake and that it is a malicious website. Avoid any site that displays this error. “Internet explorer has found a problem with this website’s security certificate. This is the default error when Internet Explorer cannot fit the error into another category. Perhaps the certificate has been corrupted or tampered with. Whatever the case, the site is not to be trusted and should not be visited. Avoid sites that display this error.
An error in the time and date:
If the time and date on your computer is wrong this can also trigger certificate errors. If the time and date on your computer is wrong then it may read certificates as out-of-date. Try adjusting your time and date on your computer so that is correct and try again. If the time and date on your computer were correct to begin with, then the problem lies with the site itself. If you are being warned about many sites then it is highly likely that this is the cause.
Why pay attention to certificate warnings?
These warnings are for your own safety. They are there to prevent you from visiting sites that are malicious. Visiting these sites may mean that you are exposing your computer to malware and viruses. If you choose to bypass the warning then it is a good idea to run anti-malware software after you have visited the site.
There is no good reason why a business hasn’t updated their certificate. Most businesses stay on top of this, as the warning can be off-putting to customers and stop people from visiting their site. In this case it is in the best interests of the company to keep their certificate updated. If however, the certificate has been tampered with or stolen, then the people responsible for the site will not update the certificate, as they won’t be able to.
You cannot disable certificate warnings as they are there for your benefit and security. They are there to prevent you for downloading spyware and malware, which can slow down your computer, or even cause it to crash. Spyware and malware allow people to access your computer without your permission or even knowledge. They can infiltrate your hard drive and access personal information about you. If your computer is running slower than usual then it is likely that you already have spyware and malware on your computer.
These infectious programs compromise the running of your computer, which is why the certificate warnings are there for your safety. Getting rid of spyware and malware that is already on your computer can help it run at its optimum level, and avoiding sites with certificate warnings can help you prevent new spyware and malware from infiltrating your hard drive.