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Davidson Water News
December 2016
2016 Newsletter

Why Do I Get Browser Alerts When Accessing
Office and Paystation Locations?

Once you log into our site, we use a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) between our web server and your browser. The SSL encrypts data that passes between our server and your browser, protecting private data such as your credit card information (if you were to pay online), as well as ensuring your water account information stays private as well.

Different browsers use slightly different indications to let you know that you are sending and receiving information via a SSL connection. However they all should have one common trait, in regards to the displaying of the web address. If it starts with https://, as shown in the image below, you are utilizing a SSL connection.



Many sites use SSL connections and, because of the sensitive nature of some of the information that can be passed through an SSL connection on a website, most browsers will warn you when a page accesses certain content that isn’t encrypted. This is to protect you, and make you aware of potential risks. However, just because you are alerted, doesn’t necessarily mean there is a true risk.

One such case is with pages on our site that use Google maps, showing you the location of our paystations. If you are logged into our site with your account name and password, and you view our paystations page, you may be greeted with a dialog box similar to the one Internet Explorer 8 will display. An example is shown below. Depending upon your selection, you may or may not see the map. In this case, “yes” will not display the map, and “no” will. The choices will vary between browsers.



Depending upon the browser, and version of the browser, you may not receive a pop-up warning but simply an indicator. Below is an example displayed by Google’s Chrome browser…



…and another example from Firefox.



When you have a SSL connection, all traffic to and from our server is send through the SSL connection. However, if the webpage requests information from another site, such as Google Maps, information to and from that site may not be encrypted. This is what’s happening in the case of the paystation maps page, as Google currently doesn’t provide a way to access a SSL connection using the programming interface we use to render the map on our page. The next image illustrates this, and helps to show why you receive this warning.