Encryption project issues first free SSL/TLS certificate

Let's Encrypt plans to distribute certificates more widely in the next couple of months

A project that aims to increase the use of encryption by giving away free SSL/TLS certificates has issued its first one, marking the start of its beta program.

The project, called Let's Encrypt, is run by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) and backed by Mozilla, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Cisco and Akamai, among others.

Let's Encrypt plans to distribute free SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates, which encrypt data passed between a website and users. The use of SSL/TLS is signified in most browsers by "https" and a padlock appearing in the URL bar.

Unencrypted web traffic poses a security risk. For example, an attacker could collect the web traffic of someone using a public Wi-Fi hotspot, potentially revealing sensitive data.

Selling SSL/TLS certificates is a big business; the certificates often aren't cheap and they expire after a certain time. The cost puts off some website owners from using encryption, particularly for less-trafficked sites.

Let's Encrypt aims to "revolutionize encryption on websites, making https implementation a seamless, no-cost option for anyone with a domain," wrote Rainey Reitman, the EFF's activism director.

The organization's first certificate is for one of its own domains, effectively a test run showing that the system works. It will begin issuing certificates to domains participating in its beta program, and then to more websites, in the next couple of months, wrote Josh Aas, ISRG's executive director, in a blog post.

For the first certificate to appear valid, users will have to install an ISRG root certificate in their browser or other client software. That's a temporary issue, as ISRG's root certificate will be cross-signed in about a month by IdenTrust, a Certificate Authority that is one of Let's Encrypt's primary sponsors.

Once that is in place, ISRG's certificates will be recognized as valid by nearly all browsers.

Major technology companies including Google, Yahoo and Facebook have made a strong push for broader using of encryption in light of government surveillance programs and burgeoning cybercrime.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?