During recent years, many Google Chrome users have experienced difficulties browsing the internet due to the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED error. First off, it prevents the average user from accessing the desired website. Secondly, the ‘Your Network Connection is not private’ security alert that comes along with this error can be intimidating. In this article, we shall discuss the causes for this issue, common fixes, and the risks involved.
What is the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED error?
The NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED error on the Chrome Browser indicates that the particular website’s SSL certificate has been revoked. This could be due to the expiry of the SSL certificate, wrong issuance, security concerns, or the usual glitches that come along with self-signed certificates. If you are a website visitor, the most prudent course of action would be to intimate the website owner about this issue. On the other hand, if you are the website owner or admin, try finding out the reason for the revocation by contacting the concerned certificate authority.
Why does the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED occur in the Google Chrome browser?
We live in times when the cyber world is infested with miscreants trying to steal user credentials and sensitive financial data through MiTM and packet sniffing attacks. This has compelled regulators such as PCI DSS, European Union, and several others to encourage website owners to use the HTTPS protocol, which is enabled by installing SSL certificate. The HTTPS is a necessary safeguard that encrypts the data packets transmitted back and forth between the web server and the client. So, even if someone manages to intercept such encrypted data, it remains illegible to the unauthorized interceptor.
Google, which is an industry leader in the internet landscape had therefore initiated the ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ campaign. It encouraged website owners to install SSL certificates in order to rank better in the search results. Subsequently, Google incorporated this into Chrome and began shooting out security alerts when users access a website that does not have a valid SSL certificate installed. The NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED is one such security alert that stalls user action by restricting user access to potentially dangerous websites.
How can a Website Owner fix the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED error?
As a website owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your visitors and any non-compliance could lead to conflicts with the GDPR, PCI DSS, and other data privacy laws. So, always you need to have a valid SSL certificate properly installed on the webserver.
If you have done all of that but to no avail, then do not panic about it — you can fix that easily even if you are no tech genius. To fix the revocation error, you first need to find out the underlying issue by getting in touch with the SSL certificate provider. Usually, the issuer revokes an SSL certificate when there is an authorized request to do so, a wrong issuance, or if the private key is compromised.
Once you have figured out the issue, you simply need to prove your credibility by furnishing the necessary documents to the certificate authority and making a fresh request to lift the revocation. Although this issue needs to be fixed by the website owner, users can bypass it by making a few tweaks which are discussed below.
How to fix the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED issue on Chrome?
Before we help you (the website user) overcome the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED issue on Chrome, we must warn you that it could expose you to security risks. Since the data packets exchanged between the server and the client are not encrypted, it is transmitted in the plain text format. So, if there is any unauthorized interception of the data packets, your sensitive data could be in the wrong hands. So, even if you use the below-mentioned methods to bypass the revocation error, never share your personal or financial details over such sites.
Let us now discuss some ways to fix the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED issue.
#1. Update the Date and Time
Check if the date and time settings on your personal computer are up to date, as that could sometimes cause this issue. The best way to do it is by syncing your PC’s clock to that of the internet service provider’s, which is also referred to as automatic time setting. Windows users can also sync their system’s date and time to the Windows time server by right-clicking on the date and time settings in the task pane.
#2. The ‘thisisunsafe’ workaround
Google Chrome is designed for a secure browsing experience, which is ensured by automatically blocking out websites with a revoked SSL certificate. As such certificates do not encrypt client-server communication, Chrome warns the user of the vulnerabilities beforehand. So, if you use the Chrome Browser, then you can bypass this warning by using the ‘thisisunsafe’ workaround.
To use this fix, follow the below-mentioned steps:
- Open the concerned website in the Chrome Browser
- Right click anywhere on the webpage and type ‘thisisunsafe’
You will then be able to access the website as this will tell Chrome that you are aware of the vulnerabilities but wish to proceed.
#3. The Windows Tweak
If the above mentioned does not resolve the issue, consider tweaking your internet settings on the Windows OS by following the below mentioned steps.
- Navigate to the search bar next to the Start button in the bottom left corner
- In the search bar, type ‘internet options’ and hit enter
- In the ‘Internet Properties’ window, click on the ‘Advanced’ tab
- Uncheck the ‘Check for Server Certificate Revocation’ option
- Uncheck the ‘Publisher’s Certificate Revocation’ option
- Hit the ‘Apply’ button to apply the changes
#4. The Mac Tweak to fix the Revocation Error
Starting with the Catalina version, Apple has developed a much rigid approach with regards to encryption, making it difficult for users to browse sites that do not meet Apple’s predefined criteria. In that case, you can bypass the revocation error by following the below-mentioned steps to fix the issue on your MAC OS.
- Navigate to Keychain Access and log into MAC
- Now you need to delete the following two certificates
- UTN DATACorp SGC Certificate
- AddTrust External CA Root Certificate
- Now exit the Keychain Access and your web browser
When you reopen the browser and navigate to the same website that showed the revocation error, you can be sure that you will not see that error anymore.
As an internet user, you might be tempted to switch to another browser to overcome this issue but that may not always work. That is because Chrome isn’t the only browser showing up SSL alerts. As a matter of fact, the latest versions of browsers like Safari, Explorer, etc… have also incorporated the revocation security check.
Finally, we would like to stress the fact that none of the abovementioned fixes make the website or the client-server data exchange secure. It only stops your system from showing up the NET ERR_CERT_REVOKED error and allows you to access the unsecure website.
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