If you have older Android phone millions of websites will stop working by 2021

Bad news for the millions of users in the world, who use a phone with an older version of Android. This is something that originates from Let's Encrypt, one of the world's best-known providers of secure digital certificates, which has made a major announcement today, which will affect millions of users.

Since from January 11, 2021, they will stop accepting connections from devices running Android 7.1 Nougat or earlier. This occurs because older versions of the operating system do not have properly updated security certificates, which will cause incompatibilities.

Thousands of websites won't work on older versions of Android

Currently, about 33.8% of smartphones use Android versions equal to or earlier than 7.1 Nougat. That's why it assumes that a huge number of devices are left unable to access a huge number of web pages, about 192 million web pages. When these mobiles try to enter these websites from January 11, they will receive error messages and will not be able to access it.

What is the source of this problem? When Let's Encrypt was founded, it was applied that its own ISRG Root X1 certificate is installed on all browsers and operating systems. Also, on older devices, which do not update these digital certificates automatically, it has backward compatibility with Identrust's DTS Root X3. Because of this, the phones were always covered and had access to the web pages without any problem.

The problem is that the agreement between Let's Encrypt and IdenTrust will expire on September 1, 2021. It has been confirmed that this agreement will not be renewed, causing the certificate to no longer work on operating systems that do not update these security components, as is the case with Android 7.1.1 or earlier. To make the situation worse, it should be mentioned that Let's Encrypt is used on about 30% of the world's websites.

What's the solution

Faced with this problem, there are a couple of solutions. Users with these older Android devices can install Mozilla Firefox as their browser on their phone. It is the simplest way, besides being free, to be able to continue browsing websites without problems or error messages.

Why does installing Firefox help? For the built-in browser of an Android phone, the list of trusted root certificates comes from the operating system, which is outdated on these older phones. However, Firefox is currently unique among browsers: it ships with its own list of trusted root certificates. Therefore, anyone installing the latest version of Firefox will benefit from an up-to-date list of trusted certification authorities, even if their operating system is out of date.

The other option is to buy a phone that uses one of the recent versions of Android, which are not affected by this issue. Although this is an option that will cost money, so those who at the moment cannot afford this, using Firefox on the phone will allow them to browse smoothly.

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