How to balance the risks of an old iPhone and invalid site certificates

s: iPhone 7 will not be supported after the fall iOS update. I have an iPhone 7 that works perfectly with over 90% battery life. I don’t care about getting new features, but I’d like to continue using it and keep it safe after Apple stops support. Is there any software I can run, or any other way to get security updates? Or will this phone become unsafe to use?

– Kenneth Danes

a: You are right that you will not be able to install the latest version of the iPhone operating system – iOS 16 – on your iPhone 7.

But for now, at least, Apple still supports iOS 15 with updates. It released iOS 15.7 on September 12 which fixes a number of vulnerabilities. I couldn’t find any indication from Apple on whether they will continue to provide updates to iOS 15.

Once Apple stops providing security updates, you may want to consider moving to another phone. Your phone will continue to work, but it will be increasingly vulnerable.

However, security is a relative thing. Vulnerabilities are regularly discovered in all operating systems. So compare the risks of using a device with an operating system that is no longer supported with a device with a currently supported operating system, but that could potentially be a more attractive target for hackers.

s: I often received notifications about an “invalid certificate” when visiting a website – even those of the King County Government. The notice states that the website “may be impersonating… to steal personal information.” Furthermore, it warns, “An attacker may have abused your connection.” There are more details about “View Website”. But the additional information on the following screens does not offer a step-by-step solution. what’s happening here?

– Mike Kirk, Fashion Island

a: How do you know when you click on a link that you are actually connected to your bank and not to a fraudulent site that aims to collect your sensitive information? Legitimate website owners pay for “security certificates”. When you access a secure website, the site hands over its security certificate to your browser. If the website’s certificate is up-to-date and from a trusted certificate authority, you are allowed to log in and perform your transactions. However, if there is a mismatch, you will receive this warning.

But in my experience, this is no reason to panic. In most cases, the warning is triggered by an old but legitimate certificate. But if you are dealing with finances or other sensitive information, heed the warning and leave the site.

s: Every now and then I go to a website and get a partial page. Usually an update fixes the problem. When it doesn’t, which is rare, the second update works. Admittedly, this is a relatively trivial problem to solve, but do you have any advice for solving it?

– Elephant Dawson

a: The first thing I do when I encounter unexpected behavior on a website is to try a different browser. If the problem goes away, the cause is almost certainly one of two things in the browser that are malfunctioning: the browser cache needs to be cleared, or the browser extension is interfering. After clearing the cache, if the problem persists, you can find the cause by disabling all extensions and adding them again one by one until the problem recurs.

But if the problem also occurs using a different browser, then my suspicions may turn out to be overloading your internet connection. Restart your internet device, including any Wi-Fi modems and routers. Ensure that no unauthorized users are accessing your Internet service. See the documentation for these modems and routers to learn how to monitor connections. And of course, you want to make sure that accessing your Wi-Fi is secure.

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