Banking and E-Commerce on the Web: Can you trust your own web browser?

Sometimes, when you request a "secure" or encrypted connection with your bank or some e-commerce site out on the world-wide web, your web browser displays error messages indicating some kind of problem with the site's "certificate".

What is really going on here? Those messages can be hard to interpret! Computers frequently display meaningless, unimportant, or false alarms, and most of us become complacent about these things from time to time. Indeed, there are times when it's perfectly OK to ignore these messages, or to instruct our browsers to make an "Exception" to normal security policy in order to access something that we need. But sometimes that could be a very, very serious mistake! Nobody wants to become the victim of identity theft, or to access an imposter banking site run by criminals.

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