Synchronization problem with some old tablets

A number of users have reported connectivity issues characterized by the following symptoms :

  • There was no problem to begin with, but it appeared “recently
  • Some devices are affected and synchronization always results in an error, while other devices synchronize normally with the same server.
  • There is no problem to access the server page from the browser (e.g. mobile version of the Chrome browser) from the same or a different device.

We have investigated the issue. The common property of the affected tablets is that they are running a very old version of the operating system: 5.0.X (such as 5.0.1, 5.0.2, etc) prior to v5.1.

Survey Solutions software works fine. The problem is at the OS-level: being so old, the operating system has not received updates in a long while, and in particular, didn’t receive the updates to the secure connections (trust) certificates.

The following page outlines the event of expiration of a root certificate installed in these versions. The expiration took place on 30-th of May 2020 and was an industry-wide event, see e.g.:

and other sources.

(The browser installed may still continue to work as it has own channel of receiving certificate updates as part of the updates to the browser application.)

If your situation is characterized by the symptoms above, and the Android OS is below version 5.1 the following recommendations apply:

In this situation it is not recommended to:

  • root the device, or
  • disable the secure protocol (https) in favor of unsecure protocol (http).

Both above actions will jeopardize the security of your data.

Please, take a note that Android OS v 7.0 and earlier are officially declared as unsupported (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_Nougat) and thus shall be treated as unsafe to use.

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