Internet connectivity for old devices within your home could be coming to an end on Thursday.
A digital certificate that was widely used in electronic devices prior to 2017 will expire on September 30.
It’s estimated that millions of gadgets worldwide will be affected and won’t be able to install updates of newer digital certificates to allow for continued connectivity to the internet.
Devices that could run into trouble include older MacBooks and iPhones that haven’t (or can’t) be updated with the latest software, some gaming consoles like PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS as well as smart TVs, set-top boxes and IoT devices within your home.
Anything that requires a secure connection to a particular server could stop working. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Stan, Binge and 7plus require users to have this secure connection. It may also affect any website that requires a user to log in, such as email inboxes and banking sites.
Security researcher Scott Helme warned of this threat in June 2020 and has taken to his personal website again this week.
“You may or may not need to do anything about this,” Helme wrote in his latest blog post.
“I’m betting a few things will probably break on that day [Sept. 30].”
Thankfully there are some workarounds that will allow for older devices to keep connected.
The Let’s Encrypt website has a way for Android devices that are running Android two (Gingerbread) or later until September 2024.
However, there are no fixes for any Macs running macOS 10.12.0 or earlier and cannot be updated officially from Apple. The same problem exists for iPhones and iPads that cannot be updated past iOS 9.
PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles with firmware earlier than 5.00 will run into connectivity issues, and if you’re still running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or earlier then the advice is to try and update them before Thursday – if there are updates available.
Helme also notes that if you get stuck without any available updates, you should try to get Firefox browser installed on your device as Firefox doesn’t use the system’s operating system for the security certificates and may provide additional access to certain sites.
But for other smart devices around the home that run on different operating systems, haven’t had an update in years and don’t have any available workarounds, the end may be near.