Browsers And Unsigned Certificates

 
 
By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2008-08-20
 
 
 

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates

by Larry Seltzer

Read Larry Seltzer's article on The Untrustworthiness of Self-Signed Certificates.

Slide 1

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Suspicious of SSL

Slide 2

Making the Web "safe by default," browsers are suspicious of SSL Web sites (those with a https:// prefix) that use certificates not signed by a trusted authority - VeriSign, GlobalSign, GoDaddy or Thawte. Firefox 3 in particular makes you jump through hoops just to view such a page. The hoopla has some are asking if SSL certifications are even necessary.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Suspicious of SSL

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Dire Warning

Slide 3

Browse an https Web page with Firefox 3 and you get a dire warning in the browser window and a dialog box with essentially the same warning. First, you have to get the dialog box out of the way.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Dire Warning

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Add an Exception

Slide 4

If you want to ignore the warnings you can click the Add an Exception link in the page and press the redundant Add Exception button. An exception is a browser rule that allows a page to get around the rule against self-signed certificates.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Add an Exception

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Are You Sure You Want to Do That?

Slide 5

At this point Firefox makes you click yet another button in order to add an exception, but not until you get to read another dire warning about what a bad idea it is to do this.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Are You Sure You Want to Do That?

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Confirm Your Exception

Slide 6

Almost done. Now that you've created the rule you have to confirm it. Note that Firefox takes the time to bad-mouth the page for you again and remind you that it's not trustworthy. Press the Confirm Security Exception button.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Confirm Your Exception

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Through the Checkpoint

Slide 7

Finally, you're past the Firefox security guards and can view your dangerous Web site. At this point, the warnings are over, and everything looks normal.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Firefox 3: Through the Checkpoint

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Internet Explorer 7: Verbose Warning

Slide 8

Internet Explorer 7 has one verbose warning page for SSL pages with self-signed certificates. It tells you there may be a problem, that this may be an attempt to trick you, and then asks you how you want to proceed.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Internet Explorer 7: Verbose Warning

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Internet Explorer 7: Red Signal

Slide 9

Choose to continue on to the Web page and there you are, although IE makes the address bar red and shows a certificate error.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Internet Explorer 7: Red Signal

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Opera 9.5: Warning Message

Slide 10

Opera 9.51 also issues a conspicuous warning and, like IE, immediately allows you to proceed or abort.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Opera 9.5: Warning Message

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Opera 9.5: A Little Technical Detail

Slide 11

Opera makes the circumstances clear with a little technical detail and a terse description of the problem in the security tab of the warning dialog box.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Opera 9.5: A Little Technical Detail

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Opera 9.5: On to the Web Page

Slide 12

Move on to the Web page and Opera, like Firefox, shows the page with no warnings or errors.


Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - Opera 9.5: On to the Web Page

Browsers And Unsigned Certificates - See More Slideshows Like This One

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