January 26, 2021
Let’s Encrypt Warns Some Android Users of Compatibility Issues


Let’s Encrypt has warned customers whose gadgets are working older variations of Android that they might begin getting errors subsequent yr when visiting web sites secured by its certificates.

Let’s Encrypt, which earlier this yr introduced releasing over one billion certificates since its launch in 2015, initially relied on a cross-signature from IdenTrust. It might take a certificates authority (CA) years to get a brand new root certificates accepted by browsers and working techniques, and so as to have the ability to instantly begin issuing certificates which are trusted by gadgets, a CA can get a cross-signature from a trusted CA.

Let’s Encrypt’s personal root certificates is now mature and the preliminary certificates, which is ready to run out on September 1, 2021, is not wanted. Whereas this is not going to affect most customers, software program that has not been up to date since September 2016 and which doesn’t belief Let’s Encrypt’s personal root certificates will probably trigger issues.

The CA believes one of many merchandise most impacted by this can be Android, previous to model 7.1.1. The group estimates that roughly one-third of Android gadgets are nonetheless working these older variations, which implies their customers will begin getting certificates errors as soon as the cross-signed certificates expires. Main integrators indicated that these customers account for roughly 1-5% of their visitors.

Whereas the scenario would possibly enhance till subsequent yr when the certificates expires, Let’s Encrypt believes there’ll nonetheless be many impacted gadgets so it’s making an attempt to boost consciousness.

“What can we do about this? Nicely, whereas we’d love to enhance the Android replace scenario, there’s not a lot we are able to do there. We can also’t afford to purchase the world a brand new cellphone,” mentioned Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, lead developer at Let’s Encrypt.

“Can we get one other cross-signature? We’ve explored this selection and it appears unlikely. It’s an enormous danger for a CA to cross-sign one other CA’s certificates, since they turn out to be answerable for the whole lot that CA does,” he added. “It’s essential for us to have the ability to stand on our personal. Additionally, the Android replace downside doesn’t appear to be going away. If we commit ourselves to supporting outdated Android variations, we might commit ourselves to searching for cross-signatures from different CAs indefinitely.”

Let’s Encrypt has suggested customers who can’t improve their Android gadgets to put in Firefox on their smartphone, as Firefox comes with its personal checklist of trusted root certificates reasonably than utilizing the checklist from the working system.

The group has additionally offered suggestions for web site house owners and customers who get certificates from their internet hosting supplier.

Let’s Encrypt’s objective is to make the web safer by enabling web site house owners to simply acquire an SSL/TLS certificates without charge. Nevertheless, unsurprisingly, its providers have additionally been abused by cybercriminals.

Associated: Let’s Encrypt Will Not Change 1 Million Bug-Affected Certificates

Associated: Bug Forces Let’s Encrypt to Revoke three Million Certificates

Let’s Encrypt Warns Some Android Users of Compatibility Issues
Let’s Encrypt Warns Some Android Users of Compatibility Issues
Let’s Encrypt Warns Some Android Users of Compatibility Issues

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He labored as a highschool IT instructor for 2 years earlier than beginning a profession in journalism as Softpedia’s safety information reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s diploma in industrial informatics and a grasp’s diploma in pc methods utilized in electrical engineering.

Earlier Columns by Eduard Kovacs:
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