Error message warning on laptop

Seeing a NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error message when trying to access websites on Chrome? It’s a warning that the site is unsafe to visit, but sometimes, it’s not always the case.

These are known as SSL certificate errors, which will stop you from accessing a website with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). Without a valid SSL certificate, there’s a chance that cybercriminals can swipe your data. With the ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error, it means your browser doesn’t trust the SSL certificate, as it doesn’t recognise it or the site’s certificate authority.

The good news is there are ways to get around this issue. Follow this guide to find out how to solve the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error while staying safe with one of the best antivirus software.

NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error: Quick fixes

There are various types of SSL certificate errors. Chrome often brings up a “Your connection is not private” message with a specific error, such as “ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID.”

If this is the case, we recommend trying the steps below to fix the issue. However, be sure to use a reliable antivirus scanner to keep your information safe, such as your email, passwords and banking information.

Update your browser

Google Chrome update Chrome

First and foremost, make sure you update Chrome.

Keeping your browser up to date gives you access to new features and bolsters security, but it can also help validate certificates if an older version of the browser can’t get past the error, clearing the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error.

To update Chrome or check if the browser is up to date, click the three dots at the top-right corner of your Chrome browser. Select Settings.

Select About Chrome. If a new version is available, click Check for updates. When it’s finished, select Relaunch. Make sure to save your work and other activities, as this will close all tabs and windows currently open. 

Sync your system clock

Windows time and date settings

An SSL certificate may use your device’s internal clock for it to be validated. If your time is wrong, set to the wrong time zone or failed to synchronise, then this could be causing the SSL connection error. 

To fix this, you’ll need to head into your system clock’s settings. Right-click the system clock on your System Tray and select Adjust date and time. In Time zone, see if your time is set to the correct time zone. You can click the drop-down menu to adjust the location. If this isn’t available, turn off Set the time zone automatically

To ensure your Windows time stays accurate, turn on Set the time automatically and Adjust for daylight saving time automatically. Next, click Sync now to ensure Windows is current with its time. 

Clear your browser cache and cookies

Google Chrome clear cache and browser cookies

If a website’s SSL certificate has changed since the last time you visited, meaning your browser may not trust it, your Chrome’s cookies and cache could prevent you from visiting the site with the SSL error. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to clear your browser cache and cookies. 

To do this, click the three dots at the top-right corner of your Chrome browser. Select Settings.

Select Privacy and security in the left-hand panel. Click on Clear browsing data and then Advanced. Choose the time range you wish to clear browser data and check the Cookies and other side data and Cached images and files boxes. Then select Clear data

Clear the SSL state

Windows Settings Clear SSL State

If you have tried to access a site previously and it will no longer let you access it due to an SSL certificate error, your system may have stored the certificate locally and is trying to validate this version. To help clear up the issue, you should clear your device’s SSL state.

In the search field on the taskbar, search for Internet Options and click on it. In the Internet Properties window that pops up, click on the Content tab. Under Certificates, click on Clear SSL state.

Now, when accessing the website with the error, Chrome will re-validate the SLL certificate, which may solve the problem.

Perform a safety check

Google Chrome Safety Check

If you’re accessing a website with the SSL certificate error on Chrome, make sure to keep your browser safe from malicious extensions installed by performing a safety check. After all, it could be a dodgy website trying to steal your information.

Back in Settings, select Privacy and security in the left-hand panel. Under Safety check, click Check now (or the arrow to perform it again).

If Chrome finds any issues, you’ll be able to tap on the option and follow the instructions to see how to handle the it. For those who don’t want to give malware hiding on web pages any chances, you can also turn on Advanced protection.

In Privacy and security, click on Safe Browsing under Safety Check or Security under Privacy and security. Select Enhanced protection to turn it on.

Use antivirus software to detect and stop malware

Norton 360 Security and Settings

It’s important to keep your sensitive information and device safe from all threats, including viruses and malware, especially if you’re visiting sites with a NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error. That’s when one of the best antivirus software like Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) will keep you safe from any malicious software, like ransomware, adware, spyware, phishing and more.

That’s not all; antivirus software can provide extra features like VPNs, cloud storage, PC boosters, and more. Norton 360 has all these features and extra security tools that can backup your data, prevent online identity theft and stop malware. 

What’s more, Norton 360 comes with active monitoring features to scan all the browser-related activities and block malicious websites. It will help detect and notify you about any malicious browser activity and stop it. 

Check out our Norton 360 review and Norton 360 Platinum review to see which antivirus package suits you best. 

What is a NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error?

NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID is a type of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate error message that indicates your browser doesn’t trust the website you’re trying to enter.

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate, also known as a public key or identity certificate, used to prove and authenticate a website. It validates a website and allows it to use an encrypted connection using HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), a secure version of HTTP for transmitting web pages.

When the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error occurs, the SSL certificate can’t be validated. This error will prevent you from accessing the website or display a warning about the risks of entering the website, as threat actors can steal data used on the site.

These errors can be caused by server issues or simple problems you can fix on your device. Despite the error message, you may be able to proceed to the site. Still, it’s a significant risk if you don’t have the proper protection against malicious activity, such as phishing attacks or infostealer malware.

NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error in website

Different types of SSL certificate errors

There are plenty of reasons why you may see an SSL certificate error on Chrome. You will see an error message like the one seen below. Along with NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID, you will see others, including:

– “NET:ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED”
– “NET:ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID”
– “NET:ERR_CERT_REVOKED”
– “NET:ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID”

The error will appear if a website’s certificate has expired, is not trusted by Chrome or has not been correctly configured.

The biggest cause for concern is when Chrome states that your information is at risk. As the error message states, “Attacks might be trying to steal your information from [website URL] (for example, password, messages, or credit cards).”

These dodgy websites could use phishing tactics to swipe your valuable data. It’s important to ensure you have the right protection on your device to stop these types of phishing attacks in their tracks using a trustworthy antivirus scanner.

Can any antivirus software stop unusual network port activity?

The best antivirus software will stop malware in its tracks. Not all antivirus software is equal, as some don’t have high malware detection and protection rates or have accredited lab scores to back them up.

However, many high-standard AV protections offer near-perfect scores when detecting and protecting against malware, meaning even complex malicious software found on dodgy websites can’t go unnoticed.

Services, including Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) and Bitdefender (from $19.99/year), include monitoring features to help uncover suspicious activity early and offer the tools to fight off cyberattacks.

These services have protection tools that block malicious browser activity, links and attachments. To make sure your device is ready to identify and block malware damaging your system, set yourself up with an antivirus.

Best antivirus to detect and prevent malware

1. Norton 360 🥇From $19.99/year
Best overall antivirus of 2023

Norton 360 on Laptop scaled

“Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990. 

Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats. 

Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.

If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.

Read our full Norton 360 review

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2. Bitdefender 🥈 From $19.99/year
Best security features and tools

Bitdefender Lead Image scaled

Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.

Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.

It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need. 

Read our full Bitdefender review

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3. Malwarebytes 🥉 From $44.99/year
Best antivirus for Windows PC

Malwarebytes Logo scaled

Hundreds of malware emerge every minute, and it’s Malwarebytes’ mission to detect and conquer them all. Does the antivirus do this successfully? Yes, but there’s wiggle room for improvements.

Malwarebytes’ no-nonsense approach to protecting your devices from the onslaught of malware and viruses is effective for those who need a reliable antivirus that will detect and remove malicious software, especially with its free version. However, while its premium service provides 24/7 real-time detection, conveniently blocks vicious ransomware and shields users from malicious websites, it doesn’t go beyond on the feature front.

That’s no bad thing, as sometimes a user only needs a powerful antivirus to keep them safe from cyber threats. But considering its competitors add a few more security tools, such as data breach monitoring and a firewall, there’s room for improvement. 

Read our full Malwarebytes review

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4. Avast One 🙌 From $39.99/year
Best antivirus for beginners + free plan available!

Avast One logo on laptop

With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.

Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.

It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.

Read our full Avast One review

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5. AVG👍 From 4.99/month
Best antivirus for + free plan available!

AVG Antivirus logo scaled

You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.

AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.

Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.

Read our full AVG Antivirus review

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Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.