After five years, Let’s Encrypt, a non-profit based on tech developed at Michigan, has helped to secure the internet

By | December 4, 2020
screens of monitor & smarphone with lock graphic, circle arrows between them
(The Michigan Engineer)

Just five years ago, most websites relied on unencrypted HTTP, the aging and inherently insecure protocol that provides no protection to sites or visitors from threats that range from surveillance through phishing and identity theft. Today, the internet is a much more secure place, with over 80% of websites protected by HTTPS secure encryption.

That dramatic transformation – to a secure web – is due in large part to the activities of Let’s Encrypt, a non-profit certificate authority (CA) founded five years ago by computer science professor J. Alex Halderman and his collaborators.

Let’s Encrypt has driven adoption of the digital certificates needed to enable secure sites by making them free, easy to install and manage, and readily available through hosting providers. Over 225 million websites are currently protected by free certificates issued by Let’s Encrypt.