The frequently asked questions below will help answer some of the questions you might have about the security features available within your browser. For more information, please refer to your browser's 'Help' files.
- What is a browser?
- What is the browser's cache?
- How do I know I'm at a secure site?
- What is encryption?
- What is an SSL (Secure Socket Layer)?
What is a browser?
A browser is the software on your computer that allows you to view information from the Internet. Information is written in a coded language, 'HTTP' (HyperText Transfer Protocol), which your browser receives and translates into the images and text on your computer's monitor so you can see it and read it. There are many different browser software packages available; the two most common are Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.
What is the browser's cache?
Your browser requires time to translate the information from the Internet to display it as text and images on your computer's monitor. To reduce this time requirement, your browser is equipped with a 'cache'. The cache allows your browser to store the text and images of sites you have visited in a 'cache memory'. The next time you visit the same site, your browser will check to see if it has a stored copy of the page in its cache. If it finds one, your browser will display the stored copy because it can load it much faster.
The benefit of using cached pages is the speed with which previously visited pages are displayed on your computer.
Some disadvantages of using cached pages are:
- the information may not be current depending on how long ago you visited the page
- pages may be stored in your computer's cache that you don't want anyone else to see
You can set your browser's cache settings so pages are stored based on your requirements. Your browser can be set to treat secure pages differently from insecure pages; for more information about your browser's cache and how to select and set the cache settings, please see the 'Help' file within your browser.
To maintain optimal security on your computer you must clear your cache each time you complete a NirvSystem session.
How do I know I'm at a secure site?
Depending on what browser you are using, Chrome, Firefox, etc., you will see evidence of whether you are at a secure or unsecured site.
Lock displayed on screen:
Microsoft Internet Explorer displays a padlock at the bottom of your screen just right of center if you are on a secure site. If you are at an unsecured site, nothing is displayed.
Your browser provides a warning message system that will tell you when you are moving to or from a secure page. A lot of Internet users find these messages irritating and tend to turn them off, however we strongly recommend that you do not turn the messages off. They are there to assist you with understanding and maintaining security within your browser.
Site certificates are issued to the secure site owners by a Certificate Authority. VeriSign® is the Certificate Authority that issues Sunnybrook’s site certificate (The certificate may also be labeled RSA Data Security, Inc.). Sunnybrook provides detailed corporate information to VeriSign to prove their authenticity, then VeriSign® issues a site certificate to Sunnybrook. By clicking on the padlock in Microsoft Internet Explorer, information about the site certificate is displayed. This allows you to verify that you have connected to the site to which you intended to connect.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is the process of scrambling information using a secret code, so it cannot be understood by anyone other than those who have the key for decoding the information. For encryption to work, both the sender and receiver must be able to encode and decode the information. The site certificate provides the private key for encoding the information.
What is SSL (Secure Socket Layers)?
Information on the internet is transmitted using 'HTTP' (HyperText Transfer Protocol). Secure data on the internet is distributed by using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL). This is a layer of security over top of HTTP information. (The location addresses for secure sites use 'https:' at the beginning instead of the regular insecure 'http:'). Your browser would have been shipped to you with SSL enabled. Please see your browser's 'Help' files for more information about SSL.