Older Android Phones May Have Site Loading Issues In 2021. By now, just about everyone is aware of the importance SSL certificates play in keeping data away from prying eyes on the web. After some scares in recent years, it has thankfully become the standard, and according to Google’s latest statistics, more than 95 percent of the Android Phone traffic passing through its network as encrypted.
Unfortunately, if you have an older Android phones, there’s a fly in the ointment you should be aware. As of September 1, 2021, a partnership between Let’s Encrypt and IdenTrust is coming to an end. These are just two of several encryption authorities on the web, and the end of their partnership is more important than you might think.
Let’s Encrypt only came into being in 2015. To gain traction early on, Let’s Encrypt entered into a partnership with IdenTrust and issued ‘cross-signed’ certificates. Starting on September 1, 2021, the cross-signing feature goes away for older Android phones.
Older platforms and software that hasn’t had any updates for older Android phones since 2016 will see certificate compatibility issues because those systems don’t trust Let’s Encrypt’s root certificate (ISRG Root X1). For Android users, this includes any device running a version older than 7.1.1. Those devices won’t trust a Let’s Encrypt certificate that not cross-sign because they don’t know they’re to do.
According to Google, this will impact roughly 34 percent of all Android phones in use today, so it sounds like it’s going to be a significant issue. The good news, though, is that there’s a relatively simple fix.
Just download and install Mozilla’s Firefox browser on these devices, and you’ll avoid the issue entirely because Firefox uses its root certificate list to validate sites. Even better, you can be sure that other browsers will jump on the bandwagon and offer a painless workaround between now and then. Still, it’s far better to know what lies ahead than to have a surprise.