One of the most important security features that protect your personal data as you browse and interact with various websites is enabled by a free service from a company called Let’s Encrypt. As the name implies, this involves encrypting data to make it more difficult for your information to be intercepted in a readable form.

Website encryption is incredibly important on shopping websites since you usually need to fill out a form with your email address, shipping address, and phone number in order to get updates on the order status and receive the items you’ve ordered. Even more sensitive than your contact information and address, your payment information is needed to pay for that awesome, new tech, kitchen gadget, or toy.

In the early internet, encryption wasn’t as common as it is today, and Let’s Encrypt has played a huge role in making website security universal across the World Wide Web. Starting in 2015, Let’s Encrypt took steps to ease the burden of encryption which came at a significant cost that was prohibitive for small businesses compared to the relative ease of creating a website today. Beyond the expense of ordering a Secure Sockets Layer certificate (SSL), which could cost hundreds of dollars each year, it wasn’t easy to install this technology on a website. That meant most small websites were not encrypted.

Fast forward to 2022 and Let’s Encrypt recently announced that it has issued three billion SSL certificates to secure website data, a significant milestone to reach in just five years. In 2022, it’s not just your name, address, and financial data that needs protection. For the best cybersecurity, even the websites you visit and the searches you perform are keys that hackers can use to build a profile and gain access to your private information and financial data.

As a nonprofit organization Let’s Encrypt mission to secure the internet hasn’t been easy. Before 2018, its SSL certificates weren’t recognized by all major web browsers, limiting the usefulness of the technology. With ongoing persistence that changed and partnerships with tech giants began to open enough doors that Lets Encrypt turned the tide making it increasingly uncommon to find an insecure website. The work continues and it’s easier to register, install, and renew with Let’s Encrypt than ever before, the little-known company that’s been quietly bolstering website security for the last seven years.

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