Thousands or tens of thousands of SSL/TLS certificates are needed in large or medium-sized businesses to adequately secure internet and private websites. However, when these organizations lack a centralized certificate management program, the responsibilities to manage these certificates are divided among different groups. This division makes it difficult for centralized security teams to oversee and adequately manage error-free certificates.
SSL Certificate General Protocol Errors
When customers visit a banking, healthcare, or e-commerce website, they may get an error message before accessing the website. These error messages are red flags for customers attempting to access a no longer secure website. When the website is no longer secure, customers think twice about advancing to the login page and entering their credentials. And usually, when customers see these error messages, they don’t return.
The error messages can look different depending on the browser the customer uses and the type of SSL/TLS certificate errors occurring on the site. For example, Google may present an error message for a generic SSL protocol error that says, “This site can’t provide a secure connection,” followed by an error code, ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR. Generic protocol errors can occur if security certificates are:
- Improperly formatted
- Not installed in the correct location
- Contain an unverified, faulty, or missing digital signature
- Use an outdated encryption algorithm
Internet Explorer may present an error message that states, “The security certificate presented by this website was not issued by a trusted certificate authority and was issued for a different website’s address.” Then, it may allow customers to close or continue to the website, which is not recommended.
Other Types of SSL Certificate Errors
In addition to general protocol errors, certificates with invalid names, Certificate Authorities (CA), or dates and revoked or expired certificates are other issues contributing to certificate error codes. Some other error codes include the following:
- SSL/TLS certificate not trusted error: NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID
- Name mismatch error: NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID
- Mixed content error: This page contains both secure and nonsecure items
- Expired SSL certificate error: NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID
- SSL certificate revoked error: NET::ERR_CERT_REVOKED
When any SSL certificate or general protocol errors are present on a network or system, website and application outages, cyberattacks, encryption threats, and server impersonations can occur. These server and system weaknesses can happen when the replacement of certificates and private keys is delayed, SSL certificate authorities are compromised, or vulnerabilities are discovered in cryptographic algorithms or libraries.
Certificate Manager Platforms and How They Prevent Error Messages
A certificate manager platform like a Sectigo certificate manager can avoid these errors. Certificate manager platforms consolidate the certificates into one place so that monitoring is manageable and the security team can instantly take action when alerted to expired or revoked certificates. When implementing a certificate manager, you can trust that issued certificates will always be valid and properly formatted to your server or system.
Because you have been responsible for maintaining these certificates and consolidating them into one certificate management platform, security teams can request and install new certificates and keys immediately when notified of compromised certificates. This consolidation minimizes human error and maximizes the certificate lifecycle’s efficiency.