[Measurement-wg] Next Paper Reading - The Cost of the "S" in HTTPS

Josiah Chavula josiahchavula at gmail.com
Wed Mar 27 14:35:44 UTC 2019

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Josiah Chavula <josiahchavula at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2019, 15:05
Subject: Next Paper Reading - The Cost of the "S" in HTTPS
To: <measurement-wg at afrinic.net>

I was tasked to nominate a paper for the next reading, and I suggest "The
Cost of the "S" in HTTPS" <https://doi.org/10.1145/2674005.2674991>. It's
not necessarily focused on Africa, but I think the implications discussed
are very much applicable to our region. With so much noise about
cyber-security, I am wondering if anyone in Africa/among us is interested
in web/Internet security protocols. Abstract below, paper attached (I would
generally just link, but the paper is behind a pay-wall and some may not
have access).


Increased user concern over security and privacy on the Internet has led to
widespread adoption of HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP. HTTPS
authenticates the communicating endpoints and provides confidentiality for
the ensuing communication. However, as with any security solution, it does
not come for free. HTTPS may introduce overhead in terms of infrastructure
costs, communication latency, data usage, and energy consumption. Moreover,
given the opaqueness of encrypted communication, any in-network value-added
services requiring visibility into application layer content, such as
caches and virus scanners, become ineffective.

This paper attempts to shed some light on these costs. First, taking
advantage of datasets collected from large ISPs, we examine the
accelerating adoption of HTTPS over the last three years. Second, we
quantify the direct and indirect costs of this evolution. Our results show
that, indeed, security does not come for free. This work thus aims to
stimulate discussion on technologies that can mitigate the costs of HTTPS
while still protecting the user's privacy.


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