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[Discuss] free SSL certs from the EFF

EFF partners with some industry players to give out free SSL certs.

Launching in 2015: A Certificate Authority to Encrypt the Entire Web

  With a launch scheduled for summer 2015, the Let's Encrypt CA will
  automatically issue and manage free certificates for any website that
  needs them. Switching a webserver from HTTP to HTTPS with this CA will
  be as easy as issuing one command, or clicking one button.
  The Let's Encrypt CA will be operated by a new non-profit organization
  called the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). EFF helped to put
  together this initiative with Mozilla and the University of Michigan,
  and it has been joined for launch by partners including Cisco, Akamai,
  and Identrust.

We sort of already have this today with StartCom (StartSSL), but they
have limitations on their free offering. No wildcard certs, and if the
host name even sounds like a site that might sell things (e-commerce),
they won't issue a cert.

But EFF isn't stopping with merely making the certs free. You still have
to jump though a few hoops with StartCom, and it sounds like EFF wants
to add more automation to the issuing process to make it faster/trivial
to add SSL to a site. typically takes a web developer 1-3 hours to enable encryption
  for the first time. The Let's Encrypt project is aiming to fix that by
  reducing setup time to 20-30 seconds. You can help test and hack on
  the developer preview of our Let's Encrypt agent software...

The big win will be when large shared and VPS hosting providers
integrate certificate acquisition and installation into their control
panels. Will providers have motivation to do that integration if it
means giving up the sales commission they were getting from Comodo or
other SSL CAs?

  We will use a protocol we're developing called ACME between web
  servers and the CA, which includes support for new and stronger forms
  of domain validation.

All the automation does make you wonder whether it is going to be easier
to game the system. Not that we had that much confidence in the
authentication aspect of certs to begin with. (There are just too many
CAs with lax practices for validating identities.)


Tom Metro
The Perl Shop, Newton, MA, USA
"Predictable On-demand Perl Consulting."

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