Let's Encrypt has announced that the free secure certificate program is leaving beta in its push to encrypt 100 percent of the web.
The certificate authority (CA) announced on Tuesday that the Let's Encrypt program has left the beta stage of testing after four months, having issued over 1.5 million HTTPS certificates to approximately three million websites worldwide.
In a blog post, Let's Encrypt said the project is pushing "much closer" to the overall target of providing free security certificates to every webmaster online.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates are implemented on websites to add a layer of encryption and additional security to communication between a user and website server. Without this layer, communication and transactions are more vulnerable to surveillance, drive-by attacks and potentially data theft.
However, the cost of TLS certificates can be difficult for small businesses and individuals to support -- and so it is not surprising that a free TLS certificate issued by a CA now trusted by major browsers is attractive.
"We were delighted that we've been able to grow so quickly during our first four months of general availability. We now have the experience and confidence to take the project out of beta," said Josh Aas, Internet Security Research Group executive director.
"We will continue to work on making the web a safer place through free encryption. An increasingly broad set of industry stakeholders recognize how important it is to secure the Web through Let's Encrypt. However, we still have a long way to go to deliver on our goal to encrypt 100 percent of all Web sites."
In addition to the announcement, Let's Encrypt also revealed that four new sponsors have joined the scheme; Gemalto, HP Enterprise, Fastly and Duda. Akamai Technologies and Cisco are already supporters and sponsors of the certificate authority.