Mozilla backs free-for-all server-level encryption (Wired UK)


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Unencrypted web traffic may soon be a thing of the
past after major technology companies announced an initiative to
make encryption free and available to all. With government security
agencies and hackers able to sniff unencrypted web traffic it is
hoped that a greater use of encryption will make people’s data more
secure.

Mozilla, Cisco and researchers at the University of
Michigan have announced plans to make the process of setting up
encryption easier. Working with Akamai, Electronic Frontier
Foundation and IdenTrust, the new Internet Security Research Group
(ISRG) aims to make domain encryption free, automatic and
transparent.

Anyone with a domain can sign up with the promise of a
simple “one-click” process. The service will launch in the second
quarter of 2015. ISRG, a California public benefit corporation,
will not make a profit for any of the companies involved.

Known as Let’s Encrypt
for short, the organisation could make TLS (the successor to SSL
encryption) available everywhere. Wider use of encryption would
make it significantly harder for government agencies such as GCHQ and NSA to collect vast
swathes of web traffic for analysis.

Anyone with a domain will be able to get a TLS
encryption certificate free of charge, with renewal occurring
automatically. Updates will be applied automatically and all
records of certificates will be open for anyone to view.

“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 ISRG executive director Josh Aas.

“Every browser in every device supports it. Every
server in every data centre supports it. Why don’t we just flip the
switch?”

Setting up a secure website can be a convoluted process, but
Let’s Encrypt says it will automate the process. Domain owners will
only need to install a small piece of certificate management
software. A full protocol specification is available on GitHub.

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18 November 2014 | 5:39 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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