What does "Confirm Security Exception" mean, and what do I do about it?

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I have Mozilla Thunderbird for my email and suddenly a box keeps opening with a Security Alert that goes like this:

Add Security Exception
You are about to override how Thunderbird identifies this site…………

Certificate Status
This site attempts to identify itself with invalid information

Wrong Site
The certificate belongs to a different site which could mean someone is trying to impersonate this site

At the bottom there is a check box CHECKED in front of “Permanently store this exception” To the right of this are two choices:

[ Confirm Security Exception ] or [ Cancel ]

I cannot ignore this box so I have unchecked Permanently store this exception and clicked cancel but it keeps coming back.
What do I do?

  • Art Perrone asked 1 year ago
  • last edited 1 year ago
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I’ve seen this on my ISP provided mail (contrast to say, gmail or my own mail servers [both of which I use encryption for but haven’t had problems with gmail and obviously don’t have problems on my own mail servers]) and I’ve yet to figure out why it happens sometimes (at a non-technical level). But I presume that:

The mail server in question supports encryption and you so happen to be using it. Knowing what ports you connect to (both for sending and receiving) might help here (although it should be noted port alone is never a 100% guarantee) to confirm this as true or false.

As for why this has happened: The certificate could have expired or changed in some way (whether they updated the certificate and you just need to accept it, I don’t know – you would have to look at the certificate and/or contact the provider to ask them about it). To see if it has indeed expired or extended in time (and these don’t necessarily – but although there are … exceptions – mean there is reason for alarm but you’re right to question the legitimacy of this) you could look at the certificate information. It might be labelled ‘View Certificate’ and to get there you might have to click on something like ‘More Information’ (I see this in Firefox as that’s what I’m writing with).

If it seems legit then you could confirm the exception (I would say that whether this is acceptable or not will probably depend on why it changed in the first place).

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