[cryptography] Newbie Question

Jon Callas jon at callas.org
Fri Dec 2 00:29:40 EST 2011


On Dec 1, 2011, at 8:43 PM, Randall Webmail wrote:

> From: "ianG" <iang at iang.org>
> 
> >It does store certs.  It just takes above & beyond to get at them.  
> Unknown whether it stores certs that you reject.
> 
> I spend a lot of time in hotels, and it is VERY common for me to get one of those popups complaining about certificates when I connect to the hotel WiFi.
> 
> I am an almost-complete greenie WRT crypto, which is why I'm here to learn.
> 
> What is the proper thing to do when one of those things pops up?   (It is NOT a rare event).
> 
> I use the "https everywhere" firefox extension on my OSX laptop.   I do not access my bank accounts on public WiFi, but I really don't have a choice but to access webmail and gmail.    What should I do when I get one of those cert warnings?

Click "Cancel" and then try again.

The usual reason for the message is that some network client has bumped up against the captive portal and gotten either a network error or something that is an HTTP response and thus a completely protocol illegal answer. They then interpret it as an SSL error when it's really nothing but the captive portal.

But you want to click cancel, because if there's someone who wants to hack you, that's how they'd do it.

	Jon


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