How to Trust an Unknown Publisher

by Jeff Grundy

Usually, "Unknown Publisher," "Untrusted Connection" and other similar errors in Web browsers are helpful, as they help protect your computer from malicious sites and malware. Occasionally, though, you may need to access content or files from servers that sign their own digital certificates -- for instance, private Exchange servers or file-sharing sites. If the server cannot provide a digital certificate from a recognized issuing authority, most browsers display an error unless you configure an exception for the domain with the self-signed certificate. Both Chrome and Internet Explorer use the Windows Security settings found in the Internet Properties window. Therefore, you don’t need to change security settings in the browser itself.

Firefox

1

Navigate to the server URL of the website that prompts Firefox to display the "This Connection is Untrusted" message.

2

Click the "Add Exception" button in the message box.

3

Select "Permanently store this exception" and then click the "Confirm Security Exception" button. After you click the "Confirm Security Exception" button, Firefox no longer blocks access to the server or displays warning messages for it.

Chrome and Internet Explorer

1

Press "Windows-I" and click "Control Panel."

2

Click the "Network and Internet" icon and then select "Internet Options." Click the "Security" tab in the Internet Options window.

3

Click the "Trusted Sites" icon and then click the "Sites" button. Enter the URL of the website that causes Google Chrome or Internet Explorer to display "Unknown Publisher" or "This Connection is Untrusted" warnings.

4

Disable the "Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone" option and then click "Add." Click the "Close" button and then click "OK" in the Internet Properties window. Exit the Control Panel window.

5

Open Chrome or Internet Explorer and navigate to the website that produced the warning message. You should no longer see "Untrusted Connection" or "Unknown Publisher" warnings.

6

Click a link on the site to download a file to your computer. If the browser displays a Security Warning dialog box, disable the "Always ask before opening this file" or "Always prompt before opening this file" option. Click "Run" or "Download" to save the file to your computer.

7

Press "Windows-E" to launch File Explorer. Click "Downloads" and right-click the file you downloaded from the untrusted server. Click "Properties" on the context menu and then click the "General" tab.

8

Click the "Unblock" button in the "Security" warning box and then click "OK." You can now run or open the file. Additionally, Chrome or Internet Explorer no longer block access to files downloaded from the server you added to the Trusted Zones section of the Internet Properties window.

Warning

  • With Chrome or Internet Explorer, adding a website to the Trusted Zones list will prevent further warning messages when viewing the site in the browser. However, Windows will still display security warnings when you to attempt to run or open files you download from the server with the self-signed certificate. To disable the warning messages completely, you must also "unblock" the server in the Properties window for the downloaded file.

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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