"Your Connection Is Not Private"

When loading a webpage, you may encounter the following error:

Your connection is not private.

Attackers might be trying to steal your information from [website] (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards).

NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID

Depending on your browser, there may be a checkbox for reporting the issue for analytics. This can be ignored.

There will be two options: "ADVANCED" in small text on the bottom left, and a "Back to safety button" on the far right. (Or something similarly worded if you are not on Chrome)

What Does This Mean?

This error means that something might be improper about the connection between you and the website. Though there can be a number of reasons for this, the majority of the time this error shows up when there is a problem with one of the more technical pieces of how the website connects with your computer. 

This error does not mean that your device has already been compromised by malware, nor that you are at risk when using other websites. It is not usually a problem with your own computer or network, so usually nothing can be done to "fix" it until the website's owner updates the website. 

It also does not mean that accessing the webpage will definitely harm your computer, nor does it mean that someone is actively attempting to hack into your connection. It is possible that the webpage is completely safe to use. However, unless it is truly necessary, or unless you know the website is safe, it is not advisable to bypass the warning. 

The error may also go away on its own just like it can suddenly start happening on a webpage that was fine before. 

When it does happen, it's advisable to avoid entering sensitive information into it. If a website presented this error at one point, but no longer does, then the issue has been resolved and you can resume using the website normally. 

What Do I Do When This Happens?

  1. Confirm that it is not a problem your internet browser. Make sure this does not occur on other common websites. 
  2. Try to refresh, or try again in a new tab. If this fails, check that your computer's clock is accurate. 

Otherwise, when the issue is on the website's end, you may consider bypassing the warning. However, when doing this, make absolutely certain that the website listed is the correct website and that you trust this website. If you see this warning after clicking on a link in your e-mail or on the web, you should be cautious. 

In order to access the webpage, do not press the highlighted "Back to safety" -- this will return you to the previous page, or close the tab. Instead: 

  1. Click on the "Advanced" text to the far left of the back to safety button
  2. More text should appear below it, which will briefly explain what the warning means.
  3. Click on "Proceed to [website] (unsafe)"

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