Millions of old smartphones and gadgets could lose Internet connectivity for this awkward reason

After a critical digital certificate essential to visit websites safely expires on Thursday, internet connectivity on older tech devices and smart gadgets may stop operating.

Let’s Encrypt, the largest issuer of digital certificates (which encrypts and secures the connection between devices and websites on the internet), will be forced to expire one of its most popular digital certificates, the IdentTrust DST Root CA X3, on September 30.

This includes a number of phones, computers, video game consoles, smart devices, and “Internet of Things” devices purchased prior to 2017 that use the Let’s Encrypt digital certificate in question and haven’t been updated subsequently could face critical issues connecting to the internet.

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Popular devices affected include iPhones running iOS 9 and below, Android phones running software older than 2.3.6, Windows computers running software prior to XP SP3, Sony’s PS3 and PS4 game consoles, and the Nintendo 3DS.

According to cybersecurity researcher Scott Helme, “certain older devices from 2016 and before and any gadget that has the word ‘smart’ in it that requires internet connectivity, like certain TVs, bulbs, fridges, and home control apps, could be affected by this certificate expiry. It’s not clear how big of a problem this will be, but something somewhere will certainly break. There will be a bunch of fires tomorrow, and we’ll just have to put them out.”

Many manufacturers, including Apple, Google, Sony, and Microsoft, have been unaware of the situation, according to Helme, and have made no announcements to customers about potential concerns.

This is one of the first large digital certifications to expire since the internet’s inception in the 1980s, according to him. As a result, there is no precedent on how to remedy the problem other than changing device software. “There have been no squeaky wheels, so no one has ever oiled it. It’s a brand-new problem,” Helme said.

Part of the reason for such issues is planned obsolescence, which causes tech gadgets to stop working correctly after a predefined timeframe.

Many electronics companies, such as Apple, do not guarantee customers a pleasant experience after they have had a gadget for a long time.

“Some firms have been aggressive in informing customers about this problem, while others have been lazy and haven’t done their homework, expecting users to figure it out on their own if problems arise on older devices,” says Leonard Grove, CEO of, a well-known private commercial provider of digital certificates.

Although there is a substantial danger that millions of gadgets could stop working on Thursday, some internet security experts believe that many other newer devices will also be affected differently.

TRD Author

Sajeel Shamsi

Sajeel Shamsi covers Big Tech, Global Technology news, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TRD. A social activist who loves to edit videos, learn new technologies, console games, and sports.