Expiring Security

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Question: Sometimes when I got to visit a website, it tells me that the "security certificate" is expired. What does this mean, and should I be concerned?

The IT Guy says:
One way of protecting Internet users from fraudulent websites is the use of "security certificates." This is a bit of software built into the browser that checks the name of the website against a database of records that verify that the address matches that of the company it claims to be.

These records have to be renewed on a regular basis. Occasionally, a company will let theirs lapse. When this happens, you will see the warning that the certificate has expired, and the browser will give you the option of continuing to the website or canceling the connection. If you are already familiar with the website (such as Amazon or your own district web page), go ahead and connect. If you are following a link you don't recognize, choose the cancel option and don't connect. However, in all the years I've been visiting web sites (and that's been a lot of sites!) I have only once seen that warning and chosen the cancel option. The vast majority of the time it has been a reputable site with the expired certificate. That doesn't mean to ignore them, though – just don't panic when you see them!

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