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How to fix “Your connection is not private” error in Chrome / Safari on Mac

This article shines the light on the reasons for “Your connection is not private” warning in Chrome and Safari and the methods to get around it on Mac.

What is “Your connection is not private” alert?

Not only do modern browsers provide a frictionless web surfing experience with a minimum of lags and a maximum of convenience, but they also keep users away from unsafe sites. Behind the facade of intuitive UIs and awesome features, there is a big layer of security. One of the ways this protection works is that there is no easy entry to pages that raise red flags from the perspective of defensive algorithms built into Google Chrome and Safari on Mac. When trying to visit one of these places on the Internet, people get an error saying, “Your connection is not private”. This encounter has become a fairly common attribute of online activities over the past few years, with pretty much every user having bumped into this message multiple times. What causes this warning? Is it a sign of real danger in all cases? How to bypass it if the user acknowledges the risk and knows that the intended resource is safe for sure? Let’s get to the bottom of this subject.

‘Your connection is not private’ error page in Chrome on Mac

First things first, the alert that says, “Your connection is not private” in Chrome and “This Connection Is Not Private” in Safari (yes, there is a difference in the wording) is hardly ever a false positive. It won’t appear unless the security checks incorporated in the browser identify a potentially dubious discrepancy – most likely a connection protocol issue. For instance, if the page is using regular HTTP rather than an encrypted HTTPS mode of interacting with its visitors, it means that all data exchanged between the endpoint and the server can be easily mishandled if a third party intercepts it. Think of it as a shortcut to stealing your passwords, credit card details, messages, or any other information entered in a web form on the website. Obviously, anyone is better off avoiding such pages whose owners don’t take their audience’s privacy seriously.

Another common situation boils down to a digital certificate problem. Even if a site has the HTTPS string before its domain name, it may be using an untrusted or an out-of-date certificate. This adverse condition could be a launchpad for tampering with visitors’ sensitive data. Also, if antivirus software equipped with online protection features is running on the Mac, it may interfere with proper privacy monitoring workflows in Chrome and Safari. In this scenario, since the browser cannot properly verify that everything is smooth security-wise, it alerts the user to possible risk by showing “Your connection is not private” page. Essentially, this is a classic example of overlapping defenses that entail a conflict between different applications, thus diminishing the expected effect.

‘This Connection Is Not Private’ warning in Safari

One more possible root cause for these warnings is insanely trivial. It’s about a mismatch between the Mac’s system clock information and the date and time set on the website’s end. It may appear strange how come the device time may be incorrect, given that it’s supposed to be fetched automatically. Well, it can happen if the computer hasn’t been used for a long time or if the user prefers manual configuration of the date, time, and time zone. Anyway, the browser will interpret such a gap as potential risk.

Also, older versions of Chrome and Safari may use obsolete certificate databases and wrongfully report privacy issues regarding websites that used to have issues but are currently safe to visit. Therefore, checking for and applying browser updates is well worth the effort, as it may address the drag. Similar logic goes for macOS updates – if available, these should be installed via System Preferences without a second thought. By the way, that’s how users get new versions of Safari, so this is undoubtedly an important element of troubleshooting.

There is one more thing to keep in mind. Macs are increasingly haunted by adware apps that set annoying browser redirects in motion. The landing pages in many of these schemes are search engine copycats that impersonate legitimate services. In this situation, the browser will detect a deviation and block the fraudulent connection. Some strains of Mac malware force hits to sites that host drive-by downloads. Furthermore, the authors of these malicious resources often neglect to install valid digital certificates, in which case the Internet sessions will be accompanied by alerts in question. That said, it’s definitely a good idea to check the Mac for unwanted code – the steps will be provided further down. But first, let’s go over the techniques to circumvent this error if you are certain that the target site is absolutely harmless.

Fix “Your connection is not private” error in Chrome on Mac

Figuring out what causes these alerts in Google Chrome is a matter of trial and error to an extent. Beneath the main warning phrase, though, there is an error code that could give you some clues. The most common inscriptions you may see are as follows:

  • NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID
  • ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID
  • NET::ERR_CERT_WEAK_SIGNATURE_ALGORITHM
  • ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED
  • NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID
  • SSL certificate error

These codes mainly denote certificate issues or a system clock inaccuracy. One way or another, here is a summary of the methods to bypass the error page or stop it from appearing henceforth as long as you trust the site:

  1. Use advanced options on the alert page
    • Click the Advanced button at the bottom left of the “Your connection is not private” error page.
    • Select the option that says Proceed to [website URL] (unsafe). Chrome will now open the site despite the risk.

      Proceed to site in Chrome

  2. Adjust the system clock
    • Head to System Preferences and select Date & Time.

      Open Date & Time settings

    • Click the padlock icon to be able to change settings. Check if the system clock details are accurate. If they aren’t, specify the correct values.

      Set correct date and time on Mac

    • Also, make sure the Set date and time automatically option is enabled.
  3. Use Incognito mode
    • While Chrome is opened, click File in the menu bar and select New Incognito Window as illustrated below.

      Open new Incognito window in Chrome

    • Try to visit the site in Incognito mode. If it loads, then one of your Chrome extensions may be meddling with the browser’s security checks. Disable extensions one by one to identify the culprit.

      Try opening the site in Incognito mode

    • If the intended page still won’t open, use the other steps listed in this guide to bypass the alert.
  4. Check Chrome for updates
    • Open the Customize and control Google Chrome menu, select Help, and click About Google Chrome.

      Go to ‘About Google Chrome’

    • If an update is available, apply it immediately. Note that you will need to restart the browser to complete the procedure.

      Checking for updates in Chrome

Get around “This Connection Is Not Private” alert in Safari

In most cases, Safari won’t prevent you from accessing a website blocked due to privacy issues. This is largely a matter of your confidence in that web resource. If you know for a fact that it’s harmless, use the following steps to circumvent the error in Safari.

  1. Ignore the risk and proceed to the site anyway
    • Click the Show Details button on the warning page. In the extra section that appears, click visit this website.

      Confirm that you understand the risks

    • If you are sure the site is safe to visit, click the Visit Website button on the confirmation dialog.
  2. Give the Private Browsing mode a shot
    • Click File in the Safari menu bar and select New Private Window.

      Open new private window in Safari

    • A new Safari window will open that says “Private Browsing Enabled”.

      Try to open the site in Safari’s Private Browsing mode

    • Try to visit the website in Private Browsing mode. If this doesn’t work, follow the other steps in the walkthrough.
  3. Clear Safari caches and other website data
    • Expand the menu named Develop and select Empty Caches as shown below. Note that this action won’t spawn any confirmation screens.

      Clear Safari caches

    • Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.

      Open Safari’s Preferences

    • Click the Privacy tab and select Manage Website Data.

      Manage Website Data feature in Safari

    • Click the Remove All button and then Done.

      Remove all website data in Safari

    • Try to revisit the site.
  4. Check for macOS updates
    • Go to System Preferences and select Software Update.

      Install macOS / Safari update

    • If there is an update waiting to be applied, click the Install Now button. Chances are that it comes with Safari improvements that will address the nuisance error.
  5. Check your system clock
    • Follow the same procedure as in the Chrome section above: select Date & Time under System Preferences and make sure the information is correct. Don’t forget to enable the automatic setting.

“Your connection is not private” error virus manual removal for Mac

The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of the malicious application that causes suspicious browser behavior. Be sure to follow the instructions in the specified order.

  1. Expand the Go menu in your Mac’s Finder bar and select Utilities as shown below.

    Go to Utilities

  2. Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the Utilities screen and double-click on it.

    Select the Activity Monitor

  3. In the Activity Monitor app, look for a process that appears suspicious. To narrow down your search, focus on unfamiliar resource-intensive entries on the list. Keep in mind that its name isn’t necessarily related to the way the threat is manifesting itself, so you’ll need to trust your own judgement. If you pinpoint the culprit, select it and click on the Stop icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

    Stop malicious process

  4. When a follow-up dialog pops up asking if you are sure you want to quit the troublemaking process, select the Force Quit option.

    Select the Force Quit option

  5. Click on the Go menu icon in the Finder again and select Go to Folder. You can as well use the Command-Shift-G keyboard shortcut.

    Use the Go to Folder feature

  6. Type /Library/LaunchAgents in the folder search dialog and click on the Go button.

    Open /Library/LaunchAgents folder

  7. Examine the contents of the LaunchAgents folder for dubious-looking items. Be advised that the names of files spawned by malware may give no clear clues that they are malicious, so you should look for recently added entities that appear to deviate from the norm.

    As an illustration, here are several examples of LaunchAgents related to mainstream Mac infections: com.pcv.hlpramc.plist, com.updater.mcy.plist, com.avickUpd.plist, and com.msp.agent.plist. If you spot files that don’t belong on the list, go ahead and drag them to the Trash.

    Root-level LaunchAgents folder contents

  8. Use the Go to Folder lookup feature again to navigate to the folder named ~/Library/Application Support (note the tilde symbol prepended to the path).

    Open ~/Library/Application Support folder

  9. When the Application Support directory is opened, identify recently generated suspicious folders in it and send them to the Trash. A quick tip is to look for items whose names have nothing to do with Apple products or apps you knowingly installed. A few examples of known-malicious folder names are UtilityParze, ProgressSite, and IdeaShared.

    Application Support folder contents

  10. Enter ~/Library/LaunchAgents string (don’t forget to include the tilde character) in the Go to Folder search area.

    Open ~/Library/LaunchAgents directory

  11. The system will display LaunchAgents residing in the current user’s Home directory. Look for dodgy items related to the virus (see logic highlighted in subsections above) and drag the suspects to the Trash.

    Contents of LaunchAgents folder in user’s home directory

  12. Type /Library/LaunchDaemons in the Go to Folder search field.

    Go to /Library/LaunchDaemons

  13. In the LaunchDaemons path, try to pinpoint the files the malware is using for persistence. Several examples of such items cropped by Mac infections are com.pplauncher.plist, com.startup.plist, and com.ExpertModuleSearchDaemon.plist. Delete the sketchy files immediately.

    LaunchDaemons folder contents

  14. Click on the Go menu icon in your Mac’s Finder and select Applications on the list.

    Go to Applications screen on Mac

  15. Find the entry for an app that clearly doesn’t belong there and move it to the Trash. If this action requires your admin password for confirmation, go ahead and enter it.

    Drag malicious app to the Trash

  16. Expand the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

    Select System Preferences

    Open System Preferences

  17. Proceed to Users & Groups and click on the Login Items tab.

    Proceed to Users & Groups

    The system will display the list of items launched when the computer is starting up. Locate the potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-” (minus) button.

    Delete unwanted login item

  18. Now select Profiles under System Preferences. Look for a malicious item in the left-hand sidebar. Several examples of configuration profiles created by Mac adware include TechSignalSearch, MainSearchPlatform, AdminPrefs, and Safari Settings. Select the offending entity and click on the minus sign at the bottom to eliminate it.

    Select Profiles under System Preferences

    Remove malicious configuration profile from Mac

    If your Mac has been infiltrated by adware, the infection will most likely continue to hold sway over your default web browser even after you remove the underlying application along with its components sprinkled around the system. Use the browser cleanup instructions above to address the remaining consequences of this attack.

Get rid of “Your connection is not private” error malware using Combo Cleaner removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove “Your connection is not private” error virus. This technique has substantial benefits over manual cleanup, because the utility gets hourly virus definition updates and can accurately spot even the newest Mac infections.

Furthermore, the automatic solution will find the core files of the malware deep down the system structure, which might otherwise be a challenge to locate. Here’s a walkthrough to sort out the “Your connection is not private” error issue using Combo Cleaner:

  1. Download Combo Cleaner installer. When done, double-click the combocleaner.dmg file and follow the prompts to install the tool onto your Mac.

    Download Combo Cleaner

    By downloading any applications recommended on this website you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. The free scanner checks whether your Mac is infected. To get rid of malware, you need to purchase the Premium version of Combo Cleaner.

  2. Open the app from your Launchpad and let it run the update of malware signature database to make sure it can identify the latest threats.
  3. Click the Start Combo Scan button to check your Mac for malicious activity as well as performance issues.

    Combo Cleaner Mac scan progress

  4. Examine the scan results. If the report says “No Threats”, then you are on the right track with the manual cleaning and can safely proceed to tidy up the web browser that may continue to act up due to the after-effects of the malware attack (see instructions above).

    Combo Cleaner scan report – no threats found

  5. In case Combo Cleaner has detected malicious code, click the Remove Selected Items button and have the utility remove “Your connection is not private” error threat along with any other viruses, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or junk files that don’t belong on your Mac.

    Combo Cleaner – threats found

  6. Once you have made doubly sure that the malicious app is uninstalled, the browser-level troubleshooting might still be on your to-do list. If your preferred browser is affected, resort to the previous section of this tutorial to revert to hassle-free web surfing.

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