Let's Encrypt Aims to Boost Internet Security
Companies are becoming increasingly concerned about security. In this vein, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has partnered with Akamai, Cisco, IdenTrust and Mozilla to create a new service called Let's Encrypt. Together, the companies are known as the Internet Security Research Group.
The group's goal is to make encryption easier and make unencrypted web traffic a thing of the past.
The service is aimed at creators of new websites. They can sign up their domain for the encryption with a simple click. The process will launch in the second half of 2015 and the Internet Security Research Group will not make any profit. The type of encryption being used is called TLS and is the successor to SSL encryption.
"It's clear at this point that encrypting is something all of us should be doing. Then why don't we use TLS everywhere?" said Josh Ash, director of the Internet Security Research Group in a statement. "Every browser in every device supports it. Every server in every data center supports it. Why don't we just flip the switch?"
The new service comes at a time when government spying and Internet hacking is increasingly becoming a concern.
The price of the service is also important. While other encryption services can cost hundreds of dollars, Let's Encrypt is free.
Encryption on a web server has been expensive in the past because of the effort required to set up a certificate. Previously, administrators could spend up to an hour setting up encryption, while inexperienced programmers could take much longer than that.
With Let's Encrypt, however, system administrators simply have to input a few simple commands to get an encryption certificate set up. Domain owners will need to install encryption certificate management software on their server to activate the encryption.
It is likely the service will not allow for complete encryption on a website. In other words, offering third-party content on a website can mean a break in the encryption. However, the push toward more encryption is an important piece of the puzzle, as is the fact that websites will soon be able to get free encryption.
Other companies have also been making a push to offer more encryption features. Google's new Android operating system, Android 5.0 Lollipop, offers data encryption by default, as does Apple's iOS 8. WhatsApp also recently announced end-to-end encryption for messages sent between Android devices.