5/2/13
5:16 am

Forum Question: What Is the “certificate?”

Some of my trusted web sites have a warning that comes down that says something like does not have a “certificate”, do you want to continue. An option is to show certificate. What is this certificate?? Is it important….thanks…read you site daily…love it
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Comments: 2 Responses to “What Is the “certificate?””

    5/2/13 @ 5:26 am

    This is a tough one to explain. And I’m not an expert on the subject, but I’ll take a shot. Maybe others can chime in with more information.
    A certificate is a way to validate that you are communicating with the web site you think you are. See < a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_key_certificate#Certificates_and_web_site_security">Wikipedia.
    When you establish a secure connection to a site (SSL) the web site sends your browser information about its certificate and the third-party security company that issued it. The browser has a list of third-party companies that it trusts, and if it is on that list then all is OK. If not, then you get a warning. Or if the certificate has been created by the web site itself, and not a third-party company, then you get a warning.
    Now what to do with those warnings is the question. To answer it, you have to look at two things: do you trust the site you are on, and do you believe you are on the right site? Maybe a third thing is: does it matter?
    A web site may do its own certificates because it wants to save money, or because it doesn’t matter. For instance, a company setting up a secure web site for internal use only by its own employees may not care since the public shouldn’t be accessing those web pages anyway.
    But a major ecommerce company, like an online store, should be using a third-party certificate and you shouldn’t have any warnings.
    When you get a warning, it still means that you have a secure connection to the web site, but there is just no verification that the web site is trustworthy. However, if you trust the site, and you are sure you are at the right site (no funny business with a URL that looks correct, but is really wrong, for instance) then you can proceed if you wish.
    The “does it matter” factor is about how serious it would be if the site isn’t trustworthy. A site where you give your banking information or submit your credit card info would matter. But an online game where you are just having fun and they are not asking for any person info probably doesn’t matter.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    5/6/13 @ 9:43 am

    I have had that certificate shown quite a few times,but this computer did not recognize my home page,and asked to show certificate.
    To me you can`t tell if it`s genuine or not. I looked at it when it came down,and you can`t see any info thats relevant to a bogus site,and it`s my home page Virgin Media.com.
    I have received warnings saying that this site could damage my computer,again it`s a well known site.

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