Android 14, the next major update to Google’s popular mobile operating system, may include a new feature that allows root certificates to be updated on the fly.
Root certificates are essential for establishing trust on the internet. They are used to verify the security certificates of websites and ensure that data is encrypted in transit. However, maintaining a comprehensive list of trusted security certificates is nearly impossible, so web browsers and operating systems rely on chains of trust to validate a site’s security certificate.
One major certificate authority, TrustCor Systems, recently came under scrutiny due to its ties to a company that provides information services for spyware. In response, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google decided not to use TrustCor Systems as their root certificate authority. Android is removing support for TrustCor certificates in a full system update. Still, Google is reportedly working on a new mainline module that would allow root certificates to be updated more frequently.
The new authentication module will be able to be updated via Google Play Services rather than being part of the system package itself. This will allow Google to push updates as needed and keep devices connected to all the websites they can browse on the internet. This is similar to how many components of Android, such as Bluetooth, are already configured.
Outdated root certificates are becoming more common, particularly on Android. On Windows and macOS, many applications bundle root certificates that can be updated, while on Android, most applications and browsers rely on built-in root certificates to ensure secure connections. This means that older Android phones may lose their connection to the internet if their root certificate expires. The new mainline module in Android 14 could help alleviate this issue by allowing root certificates to be updated more frequently.
Overall, this new feature in Android 14 could help improve internet security and ensure that all devices can connect to the internet safely and securely. It remains to be seen when Android 14 will be released, but the update will surely bring a host of new features and improvements to the popular mobile operating system.