Security certificate problem trips up Bing Web site

Using Microsoft's search service over a secure network connection yielded serious warnings because of a security certificate problem Friday.

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Stephen Shankland
Trying to reach Bing.com over a secure HTTPS connection produced this warning.
Trying to reach Bing.com over a secure HTTPS connection produced this warning. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

A security certificate problem triggered warnings not to use Bing over a secure Web connection Friday, and Microsoft said an issue with network service provider Akamai is to blame.

Browsers displayed prominent error messages and warnings at about 9 a.m. PT when visiting https://bing.com.

The HTTPS standard governs how Web browsers and Web servers set up encrypted communications, for example so that others can't eavesdrop on network activity to find out what you're searching for, but valid and up-to-date security certificates are required for such communications.

"An attacker on your network could be trying to get you to visit a fake (and potentially harmful) version of bing.com. You should not proceed, especially if you have never seen this warning before for this site," Chrome warned.

Firefox said bing.com was using an invalid security certificate and cautioned, "Normally, when you try to connect securely, sites will present trusted identification to prove that you are going to the right place. However, this site's identity can't be verified."

Microsoft said the problem stemmed from Akamai, which Microsoft used for the certificate service.

"We're working with Akamai on that. It should be fixed soon," said Microsoft spokesman William Zollicoffer.

Firefox's warning about Bing's security certificate
Firefox's warning about Bing's security certificate screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET