Decoding the Padlock Icons on Google Chrome

October 2016

As part of its security features, web browser Google Chrome uses a special set of symbols that alerts users to a website's validity. Shown in the left corner of the address bar, these icons provide vital information about a site's certificates and connections.

In this article, you will learn about the different security indicators offered by Google Chrome so that you can avoid any security breaches and unwelcome surprises.

Checking Chrome's Connection to a Site

In short, the different padlocks and icons shown next to the URL bar on Google Chrome let you know whether a site uses TLS or SSL certificates. These certificates allow you to distinguish between a valid site and an invalid one.

Green Lock Icon

The green padlock indicates that a webpage connection is secure. This means that a website's identity has been verified by a trusted third-party authority and that it has a valid certificate for the URL that you're trying to reach.

Site certificates are produced by any website that requires some sort of authentication (such as a username and password) to access a page's full services. An easy way to tell if a site is secure is to check its URL — encrypted sites (those that use SSL) will usually begin with https, while non-encrypted sites use an http URL.

If you'd like to access additional information about the sites that you visit, you can click on the icon and hit the Connection tab:

Yellow Exclamation Point

A yellow exclamation mark indicates that the website has not provided the browser with a certificate. This is normal for regular HTTP sites, as certificates are only usually provided if the site uses SSL.

Blank Page Icon

Any "normal" http websites, will be shown with a blank page icon displayed before it. These pages can be accessed without prior authentication.

Lock Icon with Yellow Triangle

A lock icon with a yellow triangle indicates that Chrome can see a site's certificate but that the site has weak security. In this case, we recommended that you proceed with caution, as your connection may not be private.

Red Padlock Icon

If you see a red padlock with an x next to a URL, this is an indication of problems with a site's certificate. Exercise extreme caution when proceeding onto the site — refrain from entering any personal data or sensitive information. It is likely that somebody is trying to impersonate the requested website in order to capture your information.

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