I Keep Getting Security Warnings While I Browse the Web

Introduction

Security warnings while browsing can be frustrating. In many cases, they are caused by a website that's not configured properly, but there are a few computer and browser settings we can check to ensure the problem isn't happening because of a mistaken setting.

This guide will take you through the basic settings to ensure your computer and your web browser aren't the cause of these security errors. We will check:

  • Computer date and time
  • Browser cache and cookies
  • Browser security settings

Edge Security Warning.

Chrome security warning.

Firefox security warning.

1 OS Choice

There are 2 main Operating Systems for personal computers currently available, Windows and macOS.

Windows
Windows runs on computers produced by multiple companies, such as Lenovo, Asus, Dell, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Acer, and Sony.Windows 10
macOS
Apple is the only company that makes macOS computers.macOS Mojave

? What Operating System are you using?

  1. Windows
  2. macOS

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Security warnings while browsing can be frustrating. In many cases, they are caused by a website that's not configured properly, but there are a few computer and browser settings we can check to ensure the problem isn't happening because of a mistaken setting.

This guide will take you through the basic settings to ensure your computer and your web browser aren't the cause of these security errors. We will check:

  • Computer date and time
  • Browser cache and cookies
  • Browser security settings

Edge Security Warning.

Chrome security warning.

Firefox security warning.

There are 2 main Operating Systems for personal computers currently available, Windows and macOS.

Windows
Windows runs on computers produced by multiple companies, such as Lenovo, Asus, Dell, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Acer, and Sony.Windows 10
macOS
Apple is the only company that makes macOS computers.macOS Mojave
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Look at the date and time displayed at the far end of your Task Bar.
    This is usually at the bottom-right corner of your screen.
    Windows 10 Taskbar with Date and Time highlighted.
  1. Open your browser, and visit the website you had problems with at the start.
    • On a Desktop or Laptop, look for one of these icons:
      Main Desktop Browsers.
    • On a Smartphone or Tablet, look for one of these icons:
      Main Mobile Browsers.
  2. Make sure the page loads properly, and try following a few of the links from the page.

To continue we need to know which browser you are using.

The easiest way to determine this is by the icon you double-clicked on to open it.

Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer.
Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge
Google Chrome
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox.
The icons for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge are similar, but not the same. Be sure of which one you are choosing by looking at the text beneath it, or the text note that pops up before you click on it.
  1. Open Internet Explorer.
    Internet Explorer.
  2. Select the Gear icon in the top right corner, then select Internet options.
    Settings with Internet Options highlighted.
  3. Under Browsing history, select Delete.
    Internet Options with Delete button under Browsing History highlighted.
  4. Go through the list of options here, to ensure the proper items are cleared.
    Once you have chosen your options, select Delete.
    Delete Browsing History options.
    Setting Checkbox
    Preserve Favorites website data Unchecked
    Internet Explorer segments out pages you have marked as favorites. We need to be sure to clear all data, not just some of it.
    Temporary Internet files and website files Checked
    This clears your cache, making your browser get a new copy of the webpage, images, etc. It's important to clear this to get a fresh copy the next time you visit, as the copy your browser has may simply be corrupt.
    Cookies and website data Checked
    Cookies are how websites 'know' you when you visit them multiple times. This file can become corrupt, and simply downloading a new one can fix many problems.
    You will have to log back into any pages you use, such as mail or social media.
    History Checked
    While you browse Your browser will keep track of every page you visit, to try to make it easier to return. This can become corrupt due to modern active web pages.
    Download History Personal Choice
    These are a list of files you've downloaded recently. It is entirely safe to delete, or keep this list, as it won't affect pages. Checking this option does not delete the files you've downloaded, just the list the browser keeps.
    Form Data Unchecked
    Information from entering forms online, such as your name, address, or other filled in information. This does not affect how a page loads, and can slow you down on your most commonly used pages.
    Passwords Unchecked
    Your browser will save your passwords while you browse, making it easier to log into your most common websites later. This does not affect how a page loads, and can slow you down on your most commonly used pages.
    Tracking Protection, ActiveX filtering and Do Not Track Personal Choice
    A number of pages will track your use of those pages, and if you've opted out of such tracking. This setting tends not to be well respected from page to page, and some pages simply do not give you the option. While it can affect how a page is displayed, it will only do so in the advertising or other 'personalized content' on that page; not the page itself. It is okay to check or uncheck this option.
     
  5. When complete, a message will open at the bottom of your browser letting you know the history has been deleted.
    History delete notification.
    It can take quite a while to delete the cache and history, please be patient.
  1. Open Internet Explorer.
    Internet Explorer.
  2. Select the Gear icon in the top-right corner, then select Internet options.
    Settings with Internet Options highlighted.
  3. Select the Security tab at the top. Then, make sure Internet is selected for zone, and choose the Default level of Medium-high.
    Internet Options with Security tab, Internet zone, Default level button, and Medium-high slider highlighted.
  4. Select the Content tab at the top. Then, select Clear SSL state.
    Internet Options with Content tab and Clear SSL State button highlighted.
  5. A box will open letting you know the SSL cache was cleared. Select OK.
    SSL cache cleared dialog with OK highlighted.
  6. Select the Advanced tab at the top. Scroll to the bottom of the long list of settings. Make sure Use TLS 1.0, Use TLS 1.1, and Use TLS 1.2 are checked. Then, select OK.
    Internet Options with Advanced tab, Use TLS 1.0, Use TLS 1.1, Use TLS 1.2 and OK button highlighted.
  1. Open your browser, and visit the website you had problems with at the start.
    • On a Desktop or Laptop, look for one of these icons:
      Main Desktop Browsers.
    • On a Smartphone or Tablet, look for one of these icons:
      Main Mobile Browsers.
  2. Make sure the page loads properly, and try following a few of the links from the page.

The issue you are experiencing may not be due to an internet or website issue. It may actually be an issue with the web browser you are using. Depending on your device and what is currently installed, you may have a backup or alternative web browser available.

  1. Check your device to see if there is a different web browser available.
    • On a Desktop or Laptop, look for one of these icons:
      Main Desktop Browsers.
    • On a Smartphone or Tablet, look for one of these icons:
      Main Mobile Browsers.
  2. If you have access to a different browser, try using it to access the website you've having difficulty reaching.

The webpage you are trying to reach is not compatible with Internet Explorer.

Microsoft is discontinuing Internet Explorer. You can try contacting the website developer to make their page compatible with Internet Explorer, but that will be unlikely.

A simpler solution is to use your other browser for access to the page.

  1. Open your browser. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com, then push Enter or Return.
    Browser address bar with google dot com filled in.
  2. Make sure the Google page comes up. Type in something to search for, and select Google Search.
    Google search page with search box and Google Search button highlighted.
  3. Make sure your search results come up.
    Google search results.
If you are a PST, follow the Escalation Process to PTE.
It Can't Happen Here
If you are a PST, follow the Escalation Process to PTE.
It Can't Happen Here
  1. Open Microsoft Edge, select the menu in the top right, and select Settings.
    Microsoft Edge.
    Edge browser with menu open and settings highlighted.
  2. Select Privacy & security on the left, then select Choose what to clear on the right.
    Edge Settings with Privacy and security and Choose what to clear highlighted.
  3. Select the item categories you wish to clear, then select Clear.
    Clear browsing data with options and Clear highlightd.

    Setting Checkbox
    Browsing History Checked
    While you browse Your browser will keep track of every page you visit, to try to make it easier to return. This can become corrupt due to modern active web pages.
    Cookies and saved website data Checked
    This clears your cache, making your browser get a new copy of the webpage, images, etc. It's important to clear this to get a fresh copy the next time you visit, as the copy your browser has may simply be corrupt.
    You will have to log back into any pages you use, such as mail or social media.
    Cached data and files Checked
    This clears your cache, making your browser get a new copy of the webpage, images, etc. It's important to clear this to get a fresh copy the next time you visit, as the copy your browser has may simply be corrupt.
    Tabs I've set aside or recently closed Checked
    This clears tabs that you have set aside, as well as tabs that you've recently closed.
    Download History Personal Choice
    These are a list of files you've downloaded recently. It is entirely safe to delete, or keep this list, as it won't affect pages. Checking this option does not delete the files you've downloaded, just the list the browser keeps.
    Autofill data Unchecked
    Information from entering forms online, such as your name, address, or other filled in information. This does not affect how a page loads, and can slow you down on your most commonly used pages.
    Passwords Unchecked
    Your browser will save your passwords while you browse, making it easier to log into your most common websites later. This does not affect how a page loads, and can slow you down on your most commonly used pages.
    Media Licenses Unchecked
    Clears any saved media licenses. These are typically used for streaming sites that you may have purchased content from.
    Website Permissions Unchecked
    Clears any permission granted to web sites. These permissions include permissions to access your audio devices such as your mic, and location services.
  1. Open your browser, and visit the website you had problems with at the start.
    • On a Desktop or Laptop, look for one of these icons:
      Main Desktop Browsers.
    • On a Smartphone or Tablet, look for one of these icons:
      Main Mobile Browsers.
  2. Make sure the page loads properly, and try following a few of the links from the page.

The issue you are experiencing may not be due to an internet or website issue. It may actually be an issue with the web browser you are using. Depending on your device and what is currently installed, you may have a backup or alternative web browser available.

  1. Check your device to see if there is a different web browser available.
    • On a Desktop or Laptop, look for one of these icons:
      Main Desktop Browsers.
    • On a Smartphone or Tablet, look for one of these icons:
      Main Mobile Browsers.
  2. If you have access to a different browser, try using it to access the website you've having difficulty reaching.
  1. Open Google Chrome.
    Google Chrome.
  2. Select the Menu button located in the top right corner of the window.
    Menu.
  3. Select Settings.
    Chrome Menu with Settings highlighted.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then select Advanced.
    Chrome Settings with Advanced highlighted.
  5. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
    Advanced Settings with Clear browsing data highlighted.
  6. For Time range, select All time. Make sure all three check boxes are checked, then select Clear data.
    Clear browsing data with Time range, check boxes, and Clear data highlighted.
  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.
    Mozilla Firefox Icon
  2. Click the Menu button in the top right of the screen.
    Menu button
  3. Click on Options.
    Options highlighted
  4. Click on Privacy & Security.
    Privacy & Security highlighted
  5. Click the Clear History button located under the History category.
    Clear History button highlighted
  6. Select the time range you wish to clear.
    Time range highlighted
  7. Click the Details button to expand them.
    Details expand button highlighted
  8. Choose the item categories you wish to clear.
    Item categories highlighted
    Setting Checkbox
    Browsing & Download History Checked

    Browsing History - While you browse Your browser will keep track of every page you visit, to try to make it easier to return. This can become corrupt due to modern active web pages.

    Download History - These are a list of files you've downloaded recently. It is entirely safe to delete, or keep this list, as it won't affect pages. Checking this option does not delete the files you've downloaded, just the list the browser keeps.

    Form & Search History Checked
    Information from entering forms online, such as your name, address, or other filled in information. This does not affect how a page loads, and can slow you down on your most commonly used pages.
    Cookies Checked
    Cookies are how websites 'know' you when you visit them multiple times. This file can become corrupt, and simply downloading a new one can fix many problems.
    You will have to log back into any pages you use, such as mail or social media.
    Active Logins Checked
    Active logins are sites that you are currently logged into that you have asked to remember that you are logged into. Clearing them just logs you out of these sites.
    Offline Website Data Unchecked
    If you've allowed it, a website can store files on your computer so that you can continue to use it when you are not connected to the Internet.
    Site Preferences Unchecked
    Site specific preferences, including the saved zoom level for sites, character encoding, and the permissions for sites.
     
  9. Click the Clear Now button.
    Clear Now button highlighted

If you notice that your Date and Time keeps becoming unsynced, you should speak to your computer manufacturer about replacing your CMOS battery.

Windows 10

  1. Using your right mouse button, right-click on the date and time on your Task Bar.
    This is usually at the bottom-right corner of your screen.
    Windows 10 Taskbar with Date and Time highlighted.
  2. Select Adjust date/time.
    Context menu for clock with Adjust date time highlighted.
  3. For most, letting Windows manage the date and time, as well as automatically setting it is the best choice.
    1. Make sure Set time automatically and Adjust for daylight saving time automatically are both turned On.
      Date and time settings with Set time automatically and Adjust for daylight saving time automatically highlighted.
    2. Make sure your time zone is selected for Time zone.
      Date and time settings with Time zone highlighted.
  4. If you want, you can manually set the Date and time.
    Make certain the date and time is set correctly if you are setting them manually.

    Web pages will give security warnings, other secure programs such as work VPNs, banking apps, and most social network apps will not function, as their security is based closely on the time and date of both your computer and the service being the same.
    1. Make sure Set time automatically is set to Off, then select Change for Change date and time.
      Date and time settings with set time automatically off, and change date and time highlighted.
    2. Set the Date and Time correctly, then select Change.
      Date and time dialog with date, time, and change button highlighted.

Other Windows Versions

  1. Using your right mouse button, right-click on the date and time on your Task Bar.
    This is usually at the bottom-right corner of your screen.
    Windows 7 task bar with date and time highlighted.
  2. Select Adjust date/time.
    Date and time context menu with Adjust date time highlighted.
  3. Make sure the proper Time zone is selected.
    Date and time settings with Time zone highlighted.
  4. Select Change date and time.
    Date and time options with Change date and time highlighted.
  5. Correct the Date and Time, then select OK.
    Date and time settings with calendar, time, and OK button highlighted.
  6. You may wish to have Windows set the date and time for you in the future.
    1. Select the Internet Time tab at the top, then select Change settings.
      Date and time with Internet Time tab and Change settings highlighted.
    2. Make sure Synchronize with an Internet time server is checked, then select OK.
      Internet time settings with Synchronize and OK button highlighted.
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Select the time display in the top-right corner of your screen. This will display the date and time set on your computer.
  2. Make sure both the date and time are correct.
    Mac Menu Bar with time menu and date highlighted.
  1. Open your browser, and visit the website you had problems with at the start.
    • On a Desktop or Laptop, look for one of these icons:
      Main Desktop Browsers.
    • On a Smartphone or Tablet, look for one of these icons:
      Main Mobile Browsers.
  2. Make sure the page loads properly, and try following a few of the links from the page.

To continue we need to know which browser you are using.

The easiest way to determine this is by the icon you clicked on to open it.

Apple Safari Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox
Apple Safari. Google Chrome. Mozilla Firefox.
  1. Open Safari.
    Apple Safari.
  2. Select the Safari menu, then select Clear History.
    Safari menu with Clear History highlighted.
  3. Select Clear all history, then select Clear History.
    Clear history dialog with Clear All History and Clear History button highlighted.
  1. Open Google Chrome.
    Google Chrome.
  2. Select the Menu button located in the top right corner of the window.
    Menu.
  3. Select Settings.
    Chrome Menu with Settings highlighted.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then select Advanced.
    Chrome Settings with Advanced highlighted.
  5. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
    Advanced Settings with Clear browsing data highlighted.
  6. For Time range, select All time. Make sure all three check boxes are checked, then select Clear data.
    Clear browsing data with Time range, check boxes, and Clear data highlighted.
  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.
    Mozilla Firefox Icon
  2. Click the Menu button in the top right of the screen.
    Menu button
  3. Click on Options.
    Options highlighted
  4. Click on Privacy & Security.
    Privacy & Security highlighted
  5. Click the Clear History button located under the History category.
    Clear History button highlighted
  6. Select the time range you wish to clear.
    Time range highlighted
  7. Click the Details button to expand them.
    Details expand button highlighted
  8. Choose the item categories you wish to clear.
    Item categories highlighted
    Setting Checkbox
    Browsing & Download History Checked

    Browsing History - While you browse Your browser will keep track of every page you visit, to try to make it easier to return. This can become corrupt due to modern active web pages.

    Download History - These are a list of files you've downloaded recently. It is entirely safe to delete, or keep this list, as it won't affect pages. Checking this option does not delete the files you've downloaded, just the list the browser keeps.

    Form & Search History Checked
    Information from entering forms online, such as your name, address, or other filled in information. This does not affect how a page loads, and can slow you down on your most commonly used pages.
    Cookies Checked
    Cookies are how websites 'know' you when you visit them multiple times. This file can become corrupt, and simply downloading a new one can fix many problems.
    You will have to log back into any pages you use, such as mail or social media.
    Active Logins Checked
    Active logins are sites that you are currently logged into that you have asked to remember that you are logged into. Clearing them just logs you out of these sites.
    Offline Website Data Unchecked
    If you've allowed it, a website can store files on your computer so that you can continue to use it when you are not connected to the Internet.
    Site Preferences Unchecked
    Site specific preferences, including the saved zoom level for sites, character encoding, and the permissions for sites.
     
  9. Click the Clear Now button.
    Clear Now button highlighted

If you notice that your Date and Time keeps becoming unsynced, you should speak to Apple about replacing your CMOS battery.

  1. Select the time display in the top-right corner of your screen, then select Open Date & Time Preferences.
    Time display with Open Date and Time Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select the lock in the bottom-left corner to make changes.
    Date and Time preferences with lock highlighted.
  3. Enter your Mac's username and password, then select Unlock.
    Unlock prompt with user name, password, and unlock button highlighted.
  4. In most cases, letting your Mac take care of setting the time is the best choice.
    • Make sure there is a check for Set date and time automatically, and make sure a time server close to you is chosen.
      Date and Time preferences with Set date and time automatically highlighted.
  5. If you want, you can set the time manually.
    • Remove the check for Set date and time automatically, then enter the correct date and time. Then select Save.
      Date and Time Preferences with Set date and time automatically unchecked, with calendar, clock, and save button highlighted.
  6. Select Time Zone, then select your closest region on the map, and refine it by choosing the city you are in, or the city closest to you, from the list below.
    Date and Time Preferences with Time Zone, Map, and Closest City highlighted.
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