How do you handle “Yes / No” questions you are hesitant to answer? You know the type:

“Are you busy Saturday?” “Sir, do you realize you were speeding?”

You perhaps face a similar cyber-quandary. Depending on your computer settings, you may see an Internet Explorer pop-up which states,

This page contains both secure and non-secure items. Do you want to display the non-secure items, yes or no?

Is the correct answer Yes or No?

First, realize that a web-page will be either: 1) Secure: with encrypted content, recognizable by an address beginning with “https and containing a lock icon on the browser, 2) Non-secure: in which your web browsing could be the target of “eavesdropping,” or 3) Mixed: containing both secure and non-secure items.

Why secure and non-secure items on the same web-page? The creator of the web-page may feel that some content does not require security, or malicious intent could be involved. Either of these situations can lead to the pop-up message. Secure/non-secure web-pages should produce a certain amount of insecurity on the part of the wise computer user.

3 Options for dealing with the pop-up: “Do you want to display the non-secure items, yes or no?”

1.    Add selected web sites to a trusted sites list – By doing this, Internet Explorer will not bug you with this message when you view your “trusted” websites.

2.    Change “Display mixed content” settings – Selecting “Disable” should prohibit unsecured content. Selecting “Enable” will instruct Internet Explorer that it is OK to mix secure and unsecured content. Selecting “Prompt” will tell Internet Explorer to ask you if it is unsure what to do.

3.    Answer the question each time it pops up – This allows you to evaluate the risk and give the appropriate answer each time. Answering “No” is the more secure choice, as only secure items will then be displayed.

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