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InsecureCertificateException in Selenium: How to Avoid?

A part of the Selenium WebDriver, you will encounter the InsecureCertificateException exception if you navigate to a website with an untrustworthy TSL certificate. This is Selenium’s way of alerting you about a potential security risk.

What is a TSL certificate?

Let’s say that you are dispatching a confidential parcel via the postal service. To make it safe, you have a special box with two things: one lock and one label with codes.

The box’s lock is similar to how a TLS certificate gives encryption. Like a lock keeps out people who should not open a package, encryption makes sure that when data goes between a website and someone’s browser, it is safe, and nobody can read it if they try to get in the middle.

The secret mark on the box is similar to how you prove a TLS certificate is genuine. This mark shows details about who sent the package and confirms it’s from someone reliable.

In the same way, a TLS certificate has details about the website (such as the domain name) and confirms that the site is really what it says it is. This data is verified by a Certificate Authority, similar to how a post office checks the sender’s details before they take the package.

The combination of the lock and coded label ensures that your package not only reaches the correct recipient without being tampered with but also confirms the sender’s identity.

In the digital world, TLS certificates ensure that the data exchanged between a website and a user is both encrypted (for privacy and security) and authenticated (to confirm the website’s identity), akin to a confidential and verified mail delivery.

Reasons for InsecureCertificateException

Here are some reasons that can cause an InsecureCertificateException exception:

Expired certificate

The certificate has passed its expiration date. Certificates are valid only for a specified period, and once expired, they are considered untrustworthy.

Self-signed certificate

The certificate is self-signed, not by a recognized Certificate Authority (CA). Browsers and tools like Selenium typically trust certificates issued by known CAs but are wary of self-signed certificates.

Certificate not yet valid

The certificate’s validity period has not yet begun. Certificates have both a start and an end date, and if the current date is before the start date, the certificate is considered invalid.

Domain name mismatch

The domain name (URL) to which the certificate was issued does not match the domain name of the site being visited. This mismatch raises a red flag about the site’s identity and security.

Untrusted certificate authority

The paper for proof is given by an Authority of Certificate, which the browser or Selenium’s WebDriver does not trust. This trust issue may exist because of worries for safety by the Certificate Authority.

Certificate has been revoked

The certificate can be revoked for many reasons, like if someone else gets access to the private key.

Certificate chain is not complete

The certificate sequence isn’t fully set up or put together incorrectly. Web browsers and the WebDriver need to see all certificates from the website up to the root CA certificate.

Certificate does not have a strong signature

Nowadays, web browsers and programs like Selenium identify these certificates with weak signatures as not secure and flag them.

Resolution for InsecureCertificateException

You configure Selenium WebDriver so it can ignore the checks for SSL certificates, and this lets your tests go on even if there are insecure certificates. To do this, you adjust some settings or features in the WebDriver for internet exploring programs such as Chrome or Firefox.

However, one must be careful when skipping SSL checks and only do it in safe test settings because it can open up the browser to possible security risks.

Using testRigor to bypass InsecureCertificateException

You can efficiently combat these kinds of exceptions by using AI-based tools like testRigor for automation testing. There are settings available that let you configure different aspects of the test environment setup, including whether to automatically accept such insecure certificates.

Unlike Selenium, which tends to make test creation and maintenance complicated, testRigor gives you an easy platform to handle all these capabilities using plain English language. The user-friendly UI is intuitive with the power of generative AI and NLP and easy to work with for users of all experience levels.

Since test case writing is done in plain English in testRigor you need not worry about being a veteran in coding. Additionally, you can integrate testRigor with different frameworks and tools that offer infrastructure, CI/CD, or test management services to build a full-fledged ecosystem.

That’s not all. testRigor has a lot more to offer. You can read more about it’s user-friendly features.

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