Monday, August 25, 2008

Database Alert: IE 7 Causes Scary Warnings and Blocked Connections

Library database access is a fairly sophisticated process involving several systems and applications working in harmony together. Unfortunately, some harmony is hard to achieve--especially with the constant changes with both databases and browsers. We have discovered some issues with database access related to Internet Explorer 7, the latest upgrade to the most popular web browser.

The problem appears related to IE7 balking when a library user tries to access a database through the proxy server--and all of our database run through the proxy. (The proxy server is the library tool that allows you to be authenticated as a Suffolk user and then allows you to be referred into the database, off- or on-campus.)

Since the "security certificate" of the database belongs to the database company, it doesn't include the parts of the URL (or web address/link) that sends the connection through the proxy. Therefore, IE7 throws up a "Danger, Will Robinson!" message that can either frighten the library user, or in some cases, actually interfere with your access to the database.

Right now, we know that this happens when JSTOR users try to access their MyJSTOR accounts. (In this case, you just get a scary warning.) It also happens in Country Commerce, where the warning screen actually interferes with your successful login to the database.

Here is the problem and how to solve it:

If I try to access Country Commerce using the standard installation version of Internet Explorer 7, I first get this scary screen, when it tries to connect:

IE7 thinks it is doing you a favor by telling you not to attempt to connect to the next page. If you click the Continue to this website (not recommended) option, in Country Commerce, the referral will fail and you will not get into the database. Instead, you'll reach the site, but it will demand that you "login." As in this screenshot:

Since we do not use database manual logins, you would not be able to access the database.

What you need to do, to not face this issue, is to tell IE7 that it doesn't need to worry about website security certificates and whether they seem to match.

To adjust this setting. Look at the top menu settings on your Internet Explorer 7 browser. Choose the Tools option

Then click on the bottom Internet Options

Click on the far right Advanced tab. And then scroll to the bottom

UNclick (remove the check mark) in the box that reads "Warn about certificate address mismatch."

Then click the Apply button at the bottom, and then the OK button at the bottom.

See, too, the starred note at this option. It indicates that this change will not go into effect until you restart (close and re-open) your IE7 browser.

This adjustment should allow you to turn off the scary warnings in some databases and avoid the interference that occurs in others.

We are in contact with our database vendors about this issue, but this is a work-around that will alleviate the problem, for now.

No comments: