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

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

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.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?