Millions of old phones, laptops and smart gadgets could stop working later this week for some strange reason


Internet connectivity on old tech devices and smart gadgets could stop working on Thursday after a key digital certificate required to access websites securely expires.

Let’s Encrypt, a nonprofit that is the world’s largest issuer of digital certificates – which encrypts and protects the connection between devices and websites on the internet – will be forced to expire one of its most popular digital certificates. , the IdentTrust DST Root CA X3, September 30.

This means that several phones, computers, video game consoles, smart gadgets and “Internet of Things” devices purchased before 2017 that use the Let’s Encrypt digital certificate in question and have not updated their software since then, could experience problems. significant Internet connection problems.

The issue will mainly affect popular devices, such as iPhones running iOS 9 and earlier, Android phones running software 2.3.6, Windows computers running software prior to XP SP3, PS3 and PS4 game consoles from Sony and Nintendo 3DS.

“Certain older devices from 2016 and before and any gadget containing the word ‘smart’ that requires internet connectivity, such as certain televisions, light bulbs, refrigerators and home control apps, could be affected by this certificate expiration,” said the security researcher. and cybersecurity expert Scott Helme. “It’s not clear how bad this problem will be, but something somewhere is definitely going to break. There will be a bunch of fires tomorrow, and we’ll just have to put them out. “


This issue has gone under the radar of many manufacturers, including Big Tech companies Apple, Google, Sony, and Microsoft – none of which have made announcements to customers about potential issues, Helme said.

He added that this was one of the first major digital certificates to expire since the advent of the Internet in the 1980s. Therefore, there is no precedent for solving the problem outside of updating the software on the devices.

“There weren’t any squeaky wheels, so no one ever oiled it. It’s a whole new problem, ”Helme said.

Planned obsolescence, which prevents technological devices from functioning properly after a certain number of years, is one of the reasons why such problems arise.

Many tech companies, such as Apple, don’t promise users a smooth customer experience after they’ve owned a device for several years.

“Some companies have been proactive in educating customers on this issue, and some companies have gotten lazy and haven’t done their homework and expect customers to find out for themselves if issues start to occur. on older devices, ”said Leonard Grove, CEO of, a well-known private commercial provider of digital certificates.

While there is a significant risk that millions of devices will not work on Thursday, some internet security experts say it could affect each device in a different way.


“We just don’t know what exactly is going to happen, it could be like the year 2000 with a big warning and nothing happens, or you could see a lot of people rushing to fix their devices or get new ones. Grove added.

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Original author: Nihal krishan

Original location: Millions of old phones, laptops and smart gadgets could stop working later this week for some strange reason

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