SSL certificate errors

I’ve just been along to the PruHealth website. Unfortunately, it turns out that their SSL certificate expired last night, so I get a big warning message when I try to access the site. I’ve reported the problem to them, and they should be able to fix it fairly easily, i.e. renew the certificate. However, I’ve now seen how different web browsers handle this problem, and I think Internet Explorer does a better job than Firefox overall.

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Digital certificates

I’ve been taking an interest in computer security recently, and as part of that I’ve been investigating digital certificates, primarily in the context of code signing (e.g. applications/macros/plugins).

There seem to be two main misconceptions here (at opposite ends of the scale), which are worth addressing:

1. “If something has been signed then it’s safe.”

2. “Just because something’s been signed, that’s no guarantee of safety, therefore signing is pointless, and it’s just a way for Microsoft to extort money from people while spreading FUD.” (FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.)

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