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If a web site has a valid certificate, it means that a certificate authority has taken steps to verify that the web address actually belongs to that organization.
When you type a URL or follow a link to a secure web site, your browser will check the certificate for the following characteristics:
The web site address matches the address on the certificate
The certificate is signed by a certificate authority that the browser recognizes as a “trusted” authority
If the browser senses a problem, it may present you with a dialog box that claims that there is an error with the site certificate. This may happen if the name the certificate is registered to does not match the site name, if you have chosen not to trust the company who issued the certificate, or if the certificate has expired. You will usually be presented with the option to examine the certificate, after which you can accept the certificate forever, accept it only for that particular visit, or choose not to accept it.