Technology 3 min read

All Oculus Rift Headsets Just Went Down Due to Expired Certificates

Peppinuzzo /

Peppinuzzo /

On Wednesday, Rift headsets reportedly experienced issues and eventually stopped working for all users worldwide.

According to reports, Oculus‘s Rift headsets stopped working yesterday, disabling users from firing up the software on the device. Confused owners of the VR device only received a “Can’t Reach Oculus Runtime Service” error message every time they tried to boot it up.

The incident was first flagged on the Oculus Forum. Upon quick investigation, the users discovered that the certificate for the Oculus Runtime Service had expired yesterday.

The event has been considered by users and critics as an enormous oversight on the part of the Facebook-owned virtual reality company.

The issue was also reported by Rift owners on Reddit with one post garnering hundreds of comments within a few hours of posting.

Users were obviously not happy with the mishap and how Oculus handled it.

In a Reddit thread, a certain Reddit user that goes by the handle @RectaSamurai was quoted as saying:

“Literally in the middle of reinstalling Oculus software and decided to check Reddit… at least it doesn’t seem to be on my end. Wish someone would have notified me… I don’t know, like a dev or something.”

Resolving the Issue of Rift Headsets

Soon after reports of the problem with the Rift headsets circulated online, Oculus finally took to Twitter to address the matter.

In a public tweet, the company said:

The Head of Rift, Nate Mitchell, also posted an update on Reddit in an attempt to appease Rift owners.

“A quick update: we’re still actively working on the issue. We’re looking at a few different ways to resolve this as quickly as possible. We’ll let everyone know as soon as we have an ETA. Thanks for your patience,” he said.

Nate Mitchell's reply on Reddit about the problem with Rift headsets
Nate Mitchell’s reply on Reddit about the problem with Rift headsets | Screen grab from Reddit

In another update, Oculus admitted that fixing the problem had proved tricky because the expired certificate would not let many people download and install the patch.

However, during the early hours of Thursday, the company announced that they had finally found a way to fix the issue. Oculus also confirmed that the certificate had been renewed and that the core application was already up and running.

The expired certificate that caused the problem is used by Oculus to ensure the authenticity of the application codes used in the Rift headsets.

It’s like a digital passport for programs which enables machines to reject or refuse to run “unsigned” or uncertified programs.

“Oculus is far from alone in experiencing these difficulties,” Craig Stewart, a spokesman for certification company Venafi, said. “The average business has around 17,000 undiscovered or forgotten certificates in their environment, and occasionally one will be as important as this one.”

The fix for the issue is available for download at the Oculus Rift website and includes a renewed certificate.

This is not the first time that expired certificates have affected giant software companies.

For instance, back in 2015, Apple Mac users were left with no choice but to delete and reinstall the software that they’ve downloaded due to an expired security certificate.

Should the developer in charge of updating the expired Oculus certificate be held liable?

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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