While many of us double check for the green lock to see if the website is encrypted, very few click on the lock to determine what certificate authority signed the certificate.
If you bought a certificate in the past, you’ve probably realized that they are expensive. Prior to today, I was paying $49 a year for a RapidSSL certificate. It’s about as cheap as you can get while still using a certificate that is trusted in 99% of browsers.
That changed today.
I’m part of a beta program for a new free certificate authority that is designed to take away the costly barrier to entry to encrypt web traffic. Let’s Encryptis a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit. If you click on the green lock on your browser, it should look something like this:
Security shouldn’t be cost prohibitive. Today, $49 a year is an expense some people won’t cover. Or they cover it for a single site and not others. Let’s Encrypt is out to prove that you can run a secure certificate authority funded by donations.
As security professionals, I would encourage you to start with Let’s Encrypt’s technology overview at https://letsencrypt.org/howitworks/technology/ to understand how their technology works.