Menu
Free SSL/TLS certificate project moves closer to launch

Free SSL/TLS certificate project moves closer to launch

Let's Encrypt will start issuing a few certificates next month while it ensures the system is reliable

Let's Encrypt, an organization that will distribute free SSL/TLS certificates, will begin issuing some next month.

Let's Encrypt, an organization that will distribute free SSL/TLS certificates, will begin issuing some next month.

Let's Encrypt, a project aimed at increasing the use of encryption across websites by issuing free digital certificates, is planning to issue the first ones next month.

Digital certificates are used to encrypt data traffic between a computer and a server using SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) and for checking that a website isn't a spoof.

Let's Encrypt is run by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a new California public-benefit corporation. Its backers include Mozilla, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cisco and Akamai.

The first certificates will not be valid unless administrators install the organization's root certificate in their client software, wrote Josh Aas, ISRG's executive director, in a blog post.

Certificate Authorities, also known as CAs, have to apply to have their root certificates installed within major Web browsers, but that application process can take as long as three years.

ISRG's root certificate will be cross-signed by IdenTrust, a CA that is one of the project's primary sponsors, until that application process is complete.

The first certificates will be issued under "tightly controlled circumstances," Aas wrote. Eventually, Let's Encrypt will accept requests for any domain.

"This limited issuance period will give us time to further ensure that our systems are secure, compliant, and scalable," Aas wrote.

Google, the EFF and other companies and organizations have been encouraging websites to adopt encryption, in part due to secret documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about broad government surveillance operations.

But encrypting Web traffic -- signified by "https" and a green padlock in a browser's URL window -- also protects against data theft by cybercriminals.

Some website operators may be hesitant to use SSL/TLS certificates because of cost. The pricing models have been characterized as a racket, with customers charged per certificate, type of certificate, how long it is valid for and how many servers its used on. It's not unusual for a single, average EV (extended validation) SSL certificate to cost between US$600 to $800.

It's also complicated to set up encryption for large-scale Web services, although major companies such as Google and Facebook have expanded its use.

Earlier this month, the U.S. government mandated the use of encryption on all of its public websites and Web services by the end of 2016.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

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.

Tags securityencryptionmozillaElectronic Frontier FoundationInternet Security Research GroupLet's Encrypt

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments