Migration to HTTPS and Why HTTPS Everywhere

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Seth
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Migration to HTTPS and Why HTTPS Everywhere

Post by Seth » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:03 pm

We've recently migrated all of our sites to HTTPS. The account control center and webmail will continue to use Extended Validation certificates like they always have, while everything else will now be using certificates from Let's Encrypt.

Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit. This helps create a more secure and privacy-respecting web.

Why HTTPS Everywhere?

Recently there's a lot of buzz about moving to an HTTPS-only web. Previously, the cost of obtaining lots of HTTPS certs, having to manually install them, renew them, and pay fees for them discouraged using HTTPS unless needed. Let's Encrypt solves many of those problems. Deploying HTTPS does take a little more effort, but there's another reason why you should do it even if you think your site isn't really that important to go encrypted: to help protect your visitors from their ISP.

We've personally experienced content hijacking with Charter, the local cable provider in Reno, NV (that now likes to be called Spectrum but we're still going to call them Charter). Charter, for example, will hijack HTTP requests on residential and business coax service to provide content other than what you've requested. This is not the same as DNS redirection. HTTPS not only protects your privacy, but encryption ensures that the content you've requested passes between you and the site in its original, unaltered form without being rewritten or hijacked by your ISP, in addition to preventing eavesdropping. This is also known as a "man in the middle" attack. References: here, here, here, and here (plus we've seen it ourselves on home cable).

It is our opinion that an ISP altering content is entirely unacceptable for any reason. The only way we can truly protect ourselves is with encryption, not laws or depending on ISPs to "do the right thing". Read more at EFF: Encrypting the Web.
Seth Mattinen, Roller Network LLC

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