LOS ANGELES: Cisco has thrown its weight behind the new Let's Encrypt security standard that is designed to improve the use of security certificates to protect data on the web and other platforms.
The standard also has the backing of Mozilla, Akamai, IdenTrust and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and they will work together to support the development of the standard to be ready for launch by Q2 2015.
This will involve the creation of a system to issue certificates for the Secure Sockets Layer/Transfer Layer Security (SSL/TLS) protocols used by websites and other services to encrypt data.
It will do this by releasing certificates for free and in an automatic manner, with renewals carried out in the background too. The group also intends to list all the certificates issued, so any certificates issued erroneously, or maliciously, should be spotted and flagged.
Shaun Cooley, a distinguished engineer in Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, who formerly worked at Symantec for 18 years, said the creation of such a standard is vital, given the numerous threats facing businesses.
"The landscape is changing and attacks are being more pervasive and we are seeing lots of issues with people being hacked and data bought, stolen and traded," he said.
Cooley said addressing the problems caused by the current security certificate setup was a must to fight back against these threats.
"We need to convince everyone to use encryption from day one, but the big problem is in obtaining certificates," he noted.
"It requires a lot of cost and effort. So by creating a programmatic API that can issue certificates automatically and for free, we can protect everything from web services, to unified communication tools to internet devices."
The work is being overseen by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), and its executive director Josh Aas called for more organisations and businesses to give their backing to the standard to help promote their work.
"The ISRG welcomes other organisations dedicated to the same ideal of ubiquitous, open Internet security."
Cisco's backing of the Let's Encrypt standard comes amid its development of a system for generating encryption keys for its Collaboration Cloud, in order to ensure data sent over the platform is never sent in an unencrypted form.
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