Setting up HTTPS to bring encryption to a web domain can be an arduous process, which is why Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Cisco and Mozilla set up Let's Encrypt, a free and automated certificate authority to make the process a lot easier. Let's Encrypt has just issued its first HTTPS certificate under its beta program and here's how you can sign up to it.
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EFF has been trying to get Let's Encrypt going for several years and finally it is seeing the fruits of its labour with the release of its first certificate, which can be found on helloworld.letsencrypt.org.
Through the open source certificate authority, EFF hopes to make web encryption accessible to anybody. Implementing HTTPS on websites can take hours, sometimes even days, of complicated programming or yearly fees. Let's Encrypt certificates are free and easier to deploy by just running one program.
There is a big push for websites to put HTTPS in place to facilitate secure web surfing and online transactions. Apple, for instance, has introduced App Transport Security (ATS) feature for iOS 9, bringing in new standards for apps to ensure they are safe to run on iPhones. ATS blocks apps from connecting through HTTP and wants them to go through HTTPS instead, which is the more secure option.
At this stage, the Let's Encrypt certificate is not recognised by the major browsers just yet and you will still get an "untrusted" warning if you visit a website that implements the certificate. It should take one month before the trusted connection works on nearly all browsers, according to EFF.
If you're interested in obtaining a Let's Encrypt certificate, you can sign on to the beta program and submit your domain for consideration by filling out a Google Docs form here. These certificates should be available to the public by next month.
[Via Let's Encrypt Blog]