With the rapid evolution of the Internet, security has become a major area of concern and, consequently, an interesting research area. Different applications transmit sensitive information over the Internet, which creates increased chances for attackers to look into every piece of data, unless it is secured using secure socket layer (SSL) certificate. However, the present SSL certificates too face challenges because of various attacks, and these certificates need to be verified before transmitting information. In this paper, we show how the concepts of learning automata (LA) can be used to verify SSL certificates. The proposed LA-based system can detect safe or unsafe SSL certificates. The LA reward/penalty scheme is used to build the trust value for SSL certificates. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.