When connecting to a website you might see the message “Your connection is insecure” or “your connection is not private” or “SSL certificate expired” accompanied by a not very helpful panicky message.
What causes this?
There are security safeguards to prevent you from being diverted to a fake website (see Compromised Computer below) which might trick you into giving up password or other information. They also encrypt data so that an eavesdropper on your network cannot read sensitive data. In practice this latter situation, though, is very unlikely.
So, what are the main causes and remedies of “insecure” messages.
Wrong date and time
If the date and time on your computer are not roughly accurate then this can cause the error, something which is easy to check. Older computers are more prone to this.
Slow internet connection
This can produce symptoms of an Insecure error. Temporary website fault
Sometimes there is a configuration error on the website which you trying to access.
Maintenance problem on website
Secure access is validated by something called an SSL Certificate on the website. You don’t need to know the Science Bit but the certificate needs to be renewed from time to time. Sometimes this is overlooked by the website owner.
This is the least likely but it works as follows.
A trojan or virus created by a hacker finds its way into your computer.
It then interferes with the network settings such that when you go to certain websites it actually diverts you to a fake one.
On the fake site, you haplessly enter your username and password. This information is captured and the hacker can then log into the real website.
WHAT TO DO
Check the date and time on your computer.
Try accessing the website again after a few minutes. This won’t harm anything. If the problem persists then leave it for an hour or so before trying again.
Still problems? See if you can try the website from another computer. If it works fine then try again one last time from your own computer. If you still get the error then consult A222 and we’ll take a look.
In 2015 Windows 10 appeared and users of Windows 7 and 8 were offered free automatic updates.
Sometimes this went smoothly. At other times there were all sorts of problems: wifi no longer working, printer connections lost, programs no longer working.
Also in some cases when the update was successful, some computers almost ground to a halt because, whilst powerful enough to run Windows they could not cope with Windows 10 which was much more demanding of resource.
At the moment updates from 10 to Windows 11 are being offered. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are no problems save for users needing to get familiar with a new system.
Things could, however, go wrong so please heed the following recommendations:-
Backup all data before allowing the update. Ensure that you have access to the installation files for the programs which you use (in case they need to be re-instated). Do the update at a quiet time so that any problems can be addressed before the computer is needed again.
You have people receiving odd emails from you and assume you’ve been hacked. What has happened?
This is unlikely and one of the situations below is more likely. If you have other symptoms or are worried then I am happy to check your system, please get in touch.
Phished or email hacked?
Email hacking is not as easy as one might think, more likely you’ve been ‘phished’ – tricked into logging in to a fake site and your details have been compromised. Change your password and all should be well.
Depending on your email setup, it may not be difficult for a spammer to send out email as if it is from you. This usually happens when a group email including yours has fallen into the wrong hands – and this may be nothing to do with you directly at all.
This can be hard to tell from Phished per above. Change your password anyway.
Best practice is to use different passwords for different sites – at the very least have a unique one for your email.
If somebody has acquired your email address and password then they may try to log into other sites of which you have membership.
So, if you use other websites with the same email address and password as your email one then log in soonest and change the passwords on those sites.
You’ve got that vital Zoom meeting and your usual broadband or wifi is playing up. Sometimes so bad that you can’t continue the meeting. What’s to do?
There’s a short term solution to this and it uses your phone. A technique called tethering. It works if you are using a tablet, laptop or wifi enabled desktop PC.
Here are instructions. These are for a Motorola G series Android but will give you the idea. With other platforms you may need to delve a bit for what you need.
Make sure your phone is charged up first.
Go to Settings then the Wireless & Networks section.
Choose More then Tethering & Mobile Hotspot.
then Set Up Wifi Hotspot.
You’ll be asked to enter Network name. You can use what is offered or choose your own. Like ‘Fred’ or somesuch.
Enter a password. You can use the default one offered but it will be something like b0b5azaq44 which is impossible to remember. You may choose an alternative which is memorable to you but not guessable by anybody else.
Accept default values for Security and Band and hit Save.
Flip the Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot option to ON.
What has happened?
You’ve just created a Wifi Router.
On your laptop (or whatever) go to your wifi list, select the name you entered at 4 above and the password at 5.
You are now connected to mobile broadband via your phone!
It may not be as quick as your usual connection (though it might be) and I can’t guarantee that it will be more reliable (though in a good 3g/4g reception area it should be OK).
You’ll also accumulate data charges from your mobile provider if you exceed any free monthly allowance.
Good news is that you are back on the net and back into your meeting.
You can use your phone at the same time, by the way.
When you’ve finished….
Turn off the hotspot (see 7 above) to save on battery and also for security purposes.
For most items which I sell on your behalf, I will take a commission of the final sale price per below. I look after packaging and dispatching as well. When I’ve made the sale and been paid then I’ll remit the net proceeds to you. If there’s a subsequent problem or dispute with the buyer then I deal with that – I won’t come to you for a refund. In other words, once the money is yours then it is yours.