One day until millions of iPhones, Macs stop working

Find out how the expiration of the digital certificate will affect you. (Photo: Getty).

Millions of old devices will stop working on Thursday as a crucial digital certificate expires, removing internet access.

The expiration will mean that affected devices will not be able to install updates to new certificates that allow Internet access.

Whenever a user visits a website starting with HTTPS, they can do so securely with an issued certificate. Certificates, issued by trusted authorities, are used to encrypt connections between devices and the Internet.

The problem for these devices is that the Let’s Encrypt digital certificate in question was used in electronic devices before 2017, but will expire on September 30.

After this date, devices will no longer trust certificates issued by this authority.

Old MacBooks, iPhones and PlayStation 3 consoles are now under threat.

In particular, iPhone users with operating systems older than iOS 10 may experience issues, as well as devices running older versions of macOS 2016 and Windows XP.

Older smart TVs and set-top boxes and Nintendo 3DS could also be affected by the expiration of the certificate.

Usually, when a certificate expires, a new certificate replaces it.

However, in this case, the certificate has been used since 2000 which poses some problems. Essentially, devices that weren’t designed to be constantly updated won’t be able to access the new CA.

“At least something, somewhere is going to break,” summed up security researcher Scott Helme.

What can you do?

People running Android (Nougat) 7.1.1 are advised to install Firefox to bypass the expiration.

“For an Android phone’s built-in browser, the list of trusted root certificates comes from the operating system – which is obsolete on these older phones,” Let’s Encrypt said.

“However, Firefox is currently unique among browsers – it comes with its own list of trusted root certificates.”

For everyone, the easiest thing that users can do is update their devices.

However, Helme warned that this may not be enough for some older systems. Maybe it’s time to upgrade the devices.

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Steven L. Nielsen

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