Measuring issuance in the first year of Let's Encrypt

The World Wide Web is the most popular application of the Internet.
Pervasive monitoring affects its users by compromising the confidentiality of their communications. Even where the encryption technology is available to mitigate pervasive monitoring, technical complexity and adverse economic incentives have delayed its widespread deployment. How to bring HTTPS to the masses? We examine efforts by the certificate authority Let’s Encrypt to address both technical complexity and financial barriers to widespread deployment. We analyze certificate issuance in the first year and show from various perspectives that Let’s Encrypt adoption has an upward trend and it is in fact being successful in covering the lower-cost end of the hosting market. The hosting companies serve numerous, smaller customers that would otherwise not enable the use of encryption by their visitors. Considering these outcomes, the market approach pursued by Let’s Encrypt is worthy of broader consideration and adoption in the industry.

 

Keywords: Internet measurement, Certificate Authority, HTTPS

 

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