EFF, Mozilla back new certificate authority that will offer free SSL certificates | PCWorld

A new organization supported by Mozilla, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others is working to set up a new certificate authority (CA) that will provide website owners with free SSL/TLS certificates.

The new CA will be called Let’s Encrypt and is expected to become operational in the second quarter of next year. It will be run by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a new California public-benefit corporation.

The goal of this effort is to get as many people as possible to use the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol—the more secure successor of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)—said Josh Aas, executive director of ISRG. Aas is also a senior technology strategist at Mozilla.

The new CA will not only provide certificates for free, but will also automate the certificate issuance, configuration and renewal processes in order to encourage widespread TLS adoption.

The goal is to make getting a certificate as easy as possible, because that’s currently the hardest part of turning on TLS, Aas said. With the new CA “there will be no billing interaction, no need to create an account. You don’t really need to know much at all except that you want to turn on TLS.”



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EFF, Mozilla back new certificate authority that will offer free SSL certificates | PCWorld.

Connect absolutely anything to the Internet with Spark


Everything is getting high-tech — from phones to jewelry. It will not be surprising if, soon enough, we will see high-tech clothes. With the Internet opening tremendous opportunities, people are not shying away from utilizing them to create innovative and unprecedented things. In fact, a whole new category called “Internet of Things” has emerged, where objects are provided with unique identifiers that help them transfer data over a network without the need of a computer.

In an attempt to bring Internet of Things closer to people, a tiny board called Spark Core has come into the market.

The Spark Core with Chip Antenna is a very small WiFi development board that makes it very easy for everyone to create hardware that is connected to the Internet. In fact, the tiny chip is all you will need. Just power it up with the help of a USB connection or a battery, and you will be able to control LEDs, motors, and switches in addition to being able to collect data from its various sensors over the internet.


This core has an on-board controller that is actually a small, low-cost, and low-power computer that has the capability of running a single application. This micro-controller is the one that runs the show. In fact, it runs your software and tells the rest of the core what to do. This tiny little thing does not have an operating system like your computer and just runs a single application (that is also known as firmware or an embedded application). This application can very simple — made up of only a few lines of code — or extremely complex, depending on what you want to do with it.

The first and foremost goal of Spark’s creation is its ease of use. In fact, you can start off without any experience in using hardware or software.

If you are familiar with Arduino, you will love this chip. The core uses the same wiring and programming language as Arduino. It also has an accessory called Shield that helps you connect it to any standard Arduino shield.

The hardware design files — board design, schematic, and bill of materials — are open source as is the firmware. This makes it very user-friendly.

For more information check out their website.


Do Not Install XP Patches For Embedded XP

By now, you probably know about the registry hack trick to get updates for Windows XP. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but that’s a really bad idea, one you should not do, and both Microsoft and at least one security firm are saying not to do it.

Initially, I thought they were enabling XP to use Windows 7 updates, which wouldn’t be that far-fetched. XP and 7 have considerable overlap and common code. But I learned these are not Windows 7 patches, they are in fact for Windows Point of Sales (Windows Embedded) machines, which run a custom version of the regular XP.
Redmond is warning everyone to not use a workaround that claims to solve the Windows XP security updates problem. The hack is making a small registry change that will let XP receive security updates, and tricks Windows Update into thinking that the XP version is an embedded point-of-sale OS that Redmond supports through 2019.
Here is the Official Response from Microsoft.

“We recently became aware of a hack that purportedly aims to provide security updates to Windows XP customers,” Microsoft tells Tom’s Hardware. “The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers.”

“Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP,” the company adds. “The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.”

 The normal XP and embedded XP are are similar but not identical. The updates would only partially protect XP simply could break things, the Microsoft experts claim.