A recent announcement by the Let’s Encrypt website that they are starting an open beta period and will be issuing SSL certificates for free was met with a fair amount of skepticism within the tech community. However, the project has some serious backers and the goal of making the entire Internet an encrypted entity may soon come to fruition thanks to their well-funded support.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation first announced the project publicly on their website in November of 2014. Stating in part that “Today EFF is pleased to announce Let’s Encrypt, a new certificate authority (CA) initiative that we have put together with Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, IdenTrust, and researchers at the University of Michigan that aims to clear the remaining roadblocks to transition the Web from HTTP to HTTPS.”
The goal of the project is to make Internet users much more secure from malware attempts, hacks, and privacy attacks by providing SSL Encryption to all pages of the Internet. Google also recently announced it would use SSL as a positive signal toward better search rankings for sites that add this level of security to their sites as well.
SSL has been around for quite a while, but it requires a significant expense currently because registrars like GoDaddy and others charge hundreds of dollars per year to provide SSL certificates. This new open source solution would seem to obviate that fee, and while the program is now only in Beta, the big names behind it suggest that it may quickly gain traction and allow the Internet to become safer without much if any additional expense from website owners.