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Old Android smartphones will stop opening many sites in 2021

10 November 2020, Tuesday By Elena Arich

Despite the activity of smartphone manufacturers to transfer their devices to new versions of Android, many models are "stuck" on old versions of the operating system. The inability to update may soon become a serious problem for users of such gadgets, who will lose access to a number of websites at the beginning of next year.

Let's Encrypt

One of the world's leading certificate authorities, Let's Encrypt, whose services are used by about 30% of all domains in the global network, already in January 2021, is switching to the formation of signatures using only its root SSL certificate. Previously, ISRG Root X1 was cross-signed with an intermediate IdenTrust DST Root CA X3 certificate that supports most operating systems, but after this agreement expires, legacy browsers and OSS will no longer work with sites that use Let's Encrypt certificates.

In practice, this means that gadgets running Android 7.1.0 or earlier version of the Google mobile OS will not be able to load sites signed with the ISRG Root X1 certificate. According to statistics, the problem will affect approximately 33.8% of mobile devices on the market. 


"Some software that hasn’t been updated since 2016 (approximately when our root was accepted to many root programs) still doesn’t trust our root certificate, ISRG Root X1. Most notably, this includes versions of Android prior to 7.1.1," said Let's Encrypt representatives. 

As an alternative to buying a new smartphone, owners of outdated models can use the Mozilla Firefox browser, which is capable of storing root certificates on its own. However, only users of Android 5.0 and newer revisions of the "green robot" will be able to install it. 

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