Sometimes when you try to visit a website, you’ll receive a website security certificate error. These errors can happen in any browser and you should take notice. Sometimes these warnings are innocent and sometimes they’re a sign of malicious intent.
Identifying a Website Security Certificate Error
The first step is to understand what a website security certificate error is and why they occur. You’ll receive an error when there is a conflict between your browser and the security certificate a website is using.
Your browser tries to warn you that something isn’t exactly right in order to keep you safer online. For instance, if a malicious site is trying to redirect you from a legitimate website, you may see a warning that the certificate doesn’t match the destination website.
Any time your browser doesn’t trust the SSL certificate presented, you’ll see a warning message.
Related Read: Protect Your PC From Cyber Threats
Scenarios When You’ll See an Error
Website security certificate errors don’t occur for just a single reason. Some of the most common scenarios where you might see an error include:
- The certificate has expired and the site hasn’t renewed it yet
- A time discrepancy between the certificate and your computer
- Malicious redirection from a compromised website
- A certificate wasn’t installed correctly
If you view the certificate by clicking the icon next to the website URL in your address bar, you’ll see more information on the certificate and better understand why you’re seeing the error.
Getting Rid of a Website Security Certificate Error
In the event of a malicious error, especially on a site you visit often, the best thing to do is to close the page and try again later. The site owner will have to fix the problem.
There are a few things you can do to fix some website security certificate errors yourself:
- First, check the time on your computer. If it’s not correct, your browser sees the certificate as expired. Reset the time on your computer by right-clicking on the clock/time in your notification tray. Adjust your computer to the correct date and time.
- If you trust the site and are able to contact the website administrator, let them know about the security certificate error. If you can’t send them a message on their website, try to message them on social media.
- Finally, if you don’t feel safe visiting the website, try an alternate website. SimilarSiteSearch and AlternativeTo are good places to start.
You can also try an alternate browser to see if it’s just a problem with a single browser. Most sites fix their errors quickly to avoid losing visitors.
Because you can’t always tell if a website security certificate error is harmful or not, make sure you have an antivirus program, like Digital Care, running on your system at all times.