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Q: Why does Athena Firefox (web browser) say that SSL is disabled?


When you open Firefox or try connect to a secure site (e.g. WebSIS), you may see one of the following errors:

  • Secure Connection Failed: ssl_error_ssl_disabled
  • SSL is disabled
  • SSL protocol is disabled
  • Could not initialize the applications's security component
  • Unable to initialize security device

These errors indicate that your Firefox profile has become corrupted. The most common cause of this is failing to quit Firefox before logging out of Athena.

To fix the problem, first make sure that all Firefox windows are closed (including any you may have minimized). Then type athrun infoagents zap-firefox-certs at the shell prompt. You should see a message that your firefox certificates have been deleted. You will then need to obtain new MIT Personal certificates at before you can use services such as WebSIS.


joeuser@athena:~$ athrun infoagents zap-firefox-certs
Your Firefox certificates have been deleted.
To prevent this from happening in the future, please take these two simple steps:
  • When launching Firefox, only click on the icon once.
  • Be sure you completely quit Firefox (by choosing Quit from the File menu, or pressing Ctrl-Q) before logging out of the workstation.

See Also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

August 19, 2021

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