How to Access Secure Sites

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If you can access the Internet but cannot access secure sites, you may need to fine-tune the settings on your Internet browser. These directions pertain to IE or Internet Explorer. Work your way through the list until you are able to access secure sites once again.

  • Set Internet Explorer to use 128-bit encryption. Open your IE browser. Click on the "Help" menu. Choose "About Internet Explorer." The box that opens should read "Cipher Strength: 128-bit." If it doesn't, you can download the pack for free and install it to your computer.

  • Clear any Temporary Internet Files from your browser. Open IE. Choose "Tools" from the toolbar. From that list select "Internet Options." Make sure you are in the "General" tab's dialog box. "Temporary Internet Files" are about halfway down the page. Pick the "Delete Files" button. Confirm that it is OK to delete the files.

  • Add the site you are trying to access to the "Trusted Sites" list. Open IE. Choose "Tools" and then select "Internet Options." This time select the "Security" tab. Pick "Trusted Sites" and set your browser to the default level. Now click on "Sites" and correctly type in the URL of the secure website you are trying to access. To make sure your enter the correct URL, copy and paste it into the box. Click "Add" and then click "OK." To finish this step, click "Apply."

  • Wipe the auto-complete history from your computer and empty the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cache as well. From the IE browser, go back to the "Tools" menu. Pick "Internet Options" again. For this step select the "Content" tab. Locate "Certificates." Clear the "SSL Slate" by clicking on it. Click "OK." Now go to "Personal Information." Select "Auto Complete." Select "Clear Forms." Click "OK" once again.

  • Check that your IE is properly set up to use SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0. Start with "Tools" once again. Pick "Internet Options." Now choose the "Advanced" tab. A dialog box opens for "Settings." Confirm that "Use SSL 2.0" and "Use SSL 3.0" are set up. There should be a checkmark next to both of them. Click "OK."

  • Make sure that the date and time are correct on your computer. Set them if they are not correct because this can affect your access to secure sites especially those that use time/date stamps.

  • Verify the file integrity of Internet Explorer. Go to "Start." Select "Run." Type in "sfc /scannow" (omitting the quotes.) You may need to provide the Windows CD in order to correct this problem if it exists. Now go to "Start" and "Run" once again. This time type in "regsvr32 softpub.dll" (without quotes.)

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