Internet surfers may take that little green or gold lock in the corner of their Web browser for granted. But starting Jan. 1, it might go away for a small percentage of people across the globe, and millions of users could lose access to websites because of it.
It's all to do with the "SHA-1 Sunset," a phrase used by technology insiders to describe the expiration of support for a certain level of encryption. Over the next year, the algorithms older than SHA-1 level of encryption will no longer meet the trusted level of security for many websites, leaving as many as 37 million people unable to access them, according to research from Internet performance and security company CloudFlare.
It's a routine update to a Web feature called the certificate signature hashing algorithm. But the change, decided by a consortium of vendors of Internet browser software, could disproportionately affect mobile devices in the developing world.