This post is mainly for me to remember… although I think I learned already. A friend of mine gave his in-laws’ PC last Sunday. They have been complaining that they could not access secure web sites over the Internet and I volunteered to take a look and see if I can fix it. Network administration is not one of my strongest skills (and fields of expertise), but I figured out it should be something at least logical. I connected the PC to my home network and I could not access HTTPS pages indeed. I turned off the Windows native firewall – nothing. I didn’t know what software has been installed on this computer at all, so I had to gather this info as well. Nothing special… just the usual entry-level programs and a P2P client. And Norton Antivirus. After a closer look I found out there is also Norton Internet Security (NIS) software installed. By that time I had already figured out that these folks problem should most probably be with the firewall. NIS has a firewall option, so I tried turning it off – nothing. Turning NIS off altogether – nothing again. I started getting frustrated. I created another rule in the firewall list – allowed outgoing requests on port 443 (HTTPS). The rule went to the bottom of the list though. I had to fiddle around a little bit more before I found out that some egghead apparently decided to enable another rule near the head of the list – “Block access to secure sites” (and of course, outgoing access on port 443 was forbidden). I don’t know how I had missed it the first time I was browsing through the rules… I gotta be more careful the next time I am trying to do something that I don’t know very well. I simply unchecked that rule
and voila – HTTPS access became available. As simple as this. I’ll know it the next time somebody complains with similar symptoms.
I tried searching for info on Google, but I couldn’t find a lot. This is the problem of our century – too much information is available to almost anybody. But there will still be a need for knowledgeable specialists, who have limited pool of things they know – but can make them relevant in a lot of situations!