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Pending SSL Browser Incompatibilities

The Problem:

 In order to recognize the authorities that sign SSL certificates (Verisign and Thawte, most notably), web browser come with an embedded "root certificate" for each authority. In versions of Netscape Communicator older than 4.06, and in Internet Explorer 4.01 for the Macintosh, the root certificate is set to expire at the end of 1999.

 How will this affect users?

 After the end of the year, people using affected browsers who try to access sites that are using Verisign certificates (which include all of our shared SSL certificates) will receive a warning box similar to the following:

Message Box

 If the user clicks the "Continue" button, the transaction can proceed normally and will be fully protected by encryption. However, such a warning is likely to confuse some users, possibly even leading them to believe that there is a security problem.

 According to research done by Verisign, less than 4% of Internet users should experience these problems. However, as they state, this figure may vary widely according to the demographics of your visitors.

 How many sites are affected by the problem?

 Globally, there are hundreds of thousands of sites worldwide using Verisign secure certificates, all of which will be affected.

 How can the problem be solved?

 Unfortunately, the only true solution is for the user to upgrade their browser. New browsers contain a root certificate for Verisign that will not expire until the year 2020, ensuring this problem will not recur for a long time.

 More information:

 Verisign maintains a page of information on this problem at: 

http://www.verisign.com/server/cus/rootcert/webmaster.html
This page contains much information on helping your users upgrade, as well as background information on the problem.

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