Security certificate

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The security certificate is a technological means of:

  • identifying the owner of a website
  • securing the exchange of information (using a security protocol such as TLS)

When a user connects to a secure site, the user's browser retrieves the site's security certificate. It carries out a number of validation operations to ensure that the certificate is compliant and has been issued for the website's address. If the certificate is not valid, the website's identity cannot be guaranteed for any of a number of reasons (for example, the site has been hacked into or a fake site is trying to pass itself off as the original site).

Most browsers now clearly show when a website's security certificate is invalid. However, the way the information is presented varies from one browser to another.

Google Chrome®

When a user connects to a site whose certificate is valid, Google Chrome displays a green padlock in the browser address bar.

If a user connects to a site whose certificate is not valid, Google Chrome displays a page mentioning the problem encountered in validating the certificate. An indication also appears in red in the address bar.

Mozilla Firefox®

When a user connects to a site whose certificate is valid, Mozilla Firefox displays a green padlock in the browser address bar.

If a user connects to a site whose certificate is not valid, Mozilla Firefox displays a page mentioning the problem encountered in validating the certificate.

Safari®

When a user connects to a site whose certificate is valid, Safari displays a padlock preceded by "https" in the browser address bar.

If a user connects to a site whose certificate is not valid, Safari displays a message mentioning the problem encountered in validating the certificate.

Internet Explorer®

When a user connects to a site whose certificate is valid, Internet Explorer displays the address with a green background.

If a user connects to a site whose certificate is not valid, Internet Explorer displays a message mentioning the problem encountered in validating the certificate.

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