Ted Cruz's New Presidential Campaign Donation Website Shares Security Certificate With Nigerian-Prince.com

from the feeling-safe-donating-yet? dept

Update: Yes, as lots of angry people are screaming at us (including with detailed explanations of how incredibly, unbelievably, astoundingly stupid I must be), this is a result of Cruz using Cloudflare, which lumps unrelated domains onto the same HTTPS certificate. And yes, Techdirt.com’s certificate is hosted by Cloudflare also, and we share it with other domains as well. Feel free to continue to read the original story below and contribute to how stupid you think I am in the comments…

We’re big believers in using HTTPS to secure websites (even if HTTPS certificates have their problems — it’s still better than the alternative). But there are pitfalls in setting up your certificate correctly as newly announced presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz apparently discovered this morning. Because along with his campaign launch speech (which was widely mocked by the Liberty University students who were forced to attend), he put up a website for donations. And that website didn’t default to HTTPS and also listed nigerian-prince.com as an alternate domain on the security certificate, as first noted by the Twitter feed @PwnAllTheThings:

A few hours after this was first noticed, the Cruz campaign appears to have removed nigerian-prince.com from its certificate, but it still raises some questions about just who he has hired to build his websites. I guess that’s what happens when even the technologists in your own party openly mock Ted Cruz’s ignorance when it comes to technology issues like net neutrality.

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Comments on “Ted Cruz's New Presidential Campaign Donation Website Shares Security Certificate With Nigerian-Prince.com”

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Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

ANY politician tries to be the ideal candidate for everyone.

For white Republicans he Ted Cruise from Texas.

For Hispanics he’s Raphael Cruz, with a Cuban heritage.

For Canadian voters (The number of people living in Canada eligible to vote in American Presidential elections exceeds the number of eligible voters in several American states) he was born in Calgary, Alberta.

And now for blacks he’s a Nigerian prince!

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Cruz, Cruise (but not Crews for the rappers?)


Please fix two typos though: On the second line, change “he” to “he’s.” And on line three his first name should be “Rafael”, not “Raphael.”

Granted, as Raphael he could attract the Italian and art crowd votes. And with Mitch McConnell, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Nigerian Prince

I wanted a job in 2012 selling Mitt Romney to black voters as “one of them.” (“As a one percenter, I know what it’s like to be part of an oppressed minority…”)

Hispanics would have been too easy. Mitt’s father George Romney was born in Mexico. If Barack Obama is a Kenyan because his father was from Kenya, then Mitt Romney is a Mexican!

Anonymous Coward says:

Unfortunate Subject Alternate Names

The certificate’s Subject Alternate Name also includes cloudflare, much like the one used for Techdirt. The certificate offered to me when I went to post this comment includes the following SANs:

Not Critical
DNS Name: ssl6477.cloudflare.com
DNS Name: *.a3mdirect.co.uk
DNS Name: *.balloonsoverbritain.co.uk
DNS Name: *.china-mmm.net
DNS Name: *.clickdigitalmarketing.co.uk
DNS Name: *.codacrm.com
DNS Name: *.fashion-hr.com
DNS Name: *.huntersdb.com
DNS Name: *.intelliot.com
DNS Name: *.katylee.com
DNS Name: *.markng.co.uk
DNS Name: *.myjourneyhampshire.com
DNS Name: *.office-kit.co.uk
DNS Name: *.office365.co.uk
DNS Name: *.owebboy.com
DNS Name: *.quotium.com
DNS Name: *.services-prefecture.com
DNS Name: *.techdirt.com
DNS Name: *.unitaco.com
DNS Name: a3mdirect.co.uk
DNS Name: balloonsoverbritain.co.uk
DNS Name: china-mmm.net
DNS Name: clickdigitalmarketing.co.uk
DNS Name: codacrm.com
DNS Name: fashion-hr.com
DNS Name: huntersdb.com
DNS Name: intelliot.com
DNS Name: katylee.com
DNS Name: markng.co.uk
DNS Name: myjourneyhampshire.com
DNS Name: office-kit.co.uk
DNS Name: office365.co.uk
DNS Name: owebboy.com
DNS Name: quotium.com
DNS Name: services-prefecture.com
DNS Name: techdirt.com
DNS Name: unitaco.com

None of those are quite as eyebrow-raising as nigerian-prince, but most of them are clearly not ones that Techdirt’s operators would intentionally add.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Unfortunate Subject Alternate Names

I was thinking about it. Cloudflare will use the same certificate to serve most of its clients, no? I mean, if you connect to the CDN you’ll get both their certificate and the original site, am I right? If that’s the case then cloudflare has to be careful to cut access to scamy sites when they are informed about them.

Anonymous Coward says:


This is hilarious… likely someone did this just to have a gaff.

I am likely to vote for Ted Cruz as well. Anyone that pisses off both the left and the rino’s has to better than the rest I have seen.

I will probably holing my nose when I do though… but we will have to see how things really shake out over the course of the campaign.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hmm...

…D..do you LIKE posting on the internet without it costing you an arm, a leg, and a half share investment in your firstborn?

You realize you’re voting for someone who’s rabidly anti environment, anti fiscal responsibility (he’s completely OK with runaway defense spending) anti good government (he’s proven, repeatedly, that he’s more interested in bomb throwing than the functioning of core government services) anti net neutrality (he’s compared net neutrality to obamacare, for chrissakes).

I mean, if you really want the whole American experiment to just end tomorrow, I suppose I could see the logic in that vote…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Hmm...

Compared to Romney, sure.

If you want anyone to take your party seriously, stop running candidates who are:

– Rich arrogant pricks, who are insensitive to the fact that we just got over a recession CAUSED BY THEM
– Old, feeble men who need to be propped up by a bubbleheaded dipshit from Alaska who has no business operating a fryolator, much less being vice president

Believe me, if Ted Cruz wins the nomination, you will surely lose AGAIN.

DarthDiggler says:

Re: Re: You realize you're voting for someone

Who is this person who is rabidly anti-environment, anti-fiscal responsibility, anti-good government (you really have drank the kool-aid if you believe that nonsense), anti-net neutrality (LOL — oh the US Government is a Neutral entity with no agenda of it’s own LOL you are cute).

The whole America experiment of self governance has been eroded over the course of many Presidents and Congress’ since the New Deal and Obama has put the cherry on top.

We have hundreds of Executive Departments and Agencies many who wield the power to regulate with the same authority as laws. This is against the Constitution as only the Congress has the ability to legislate. Today Congress skirts it’s duties to reign in a President such as Obama by not using the power of the purse and worse yet often sanitize his executive action.

The separation of powers have been broken down I support people like Ted Cruz who has a plan to restore the Constitution. That doesn’t mean he has my vote in 2016, we have a long way to go.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Hmm...

“Anyone that pisses off both the left and the rino’s has to better than the rest “

Oh, please please please don’t vote for people based on who they make angry. Instead, vote for people because they most closely agree with what you think is in everyone’s best interest.

If you vote for someone because they anger groups your dislike, you are being manipulated.

Anonymous Coward says:


Ted Cruz Imagines the White House”, by Jamelle Bouie, Slate, Mar 23, 2015

Let’s not even pretend that the Texas senator has a chance of becoming president.

 . . . At best, Cruz will win a Fox News contract. . . .

 . . . Many liberals see the Republican Party as gripped by the passions of religious extremists and right-wing lunatics. And if that’s true, then Cruz is a favorite for the nomination. But it’s not. . . .

tqk (profile) says:

Land of the free ...

which was widely mocked by the Liberty University students who were forced to attend

Uh, what? Universities are now forcing students to attend partisan political rallies? First, isn’t that wrong (they’re paying big bucks for tuition)? Second, isn’t that stupid? I’d be organizing a mass heckle trying to get as many fellow students to shout him down to get us all thrown out.

Will they be forced to attend all the parties’ candidates’ announcements?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Land of the free ...

…who were forced to attend…

First, isn’t that wrong (they’re paying big bucks for tuition)?

University students pay big bucks for a credential. That is, they’re buying a piece of sheepskin which certifies their ability to jump through hoops on command for four years solid.

Now certainly, not all credentials from various diverse institutions happen to be exactly equivalent. In fact one might say that a diploma from Liberty U is slightly peculiar…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Land of the free ...

Well it is a wingnut institute so they named the place using 1984 as a guide.
Meaning it is both “Liberty” and “University”
It would be better named as a right wing christian fundamentalist theocratic diploma-mill.
For the liberty part. If you go there to study you need to follow a code conduct that prohibits (amongst many things) dancing or anything else that you could consider a social life, has a dress code for outside the university and allows for randomized drugs testing.
As for the university part. If science contradicts the bible, science loses. Also the bible is literally true and staff have to sign a pledge to that effect when they get hired. They are mediocre in courses that don’t clash with the bible and it goes to downright crazy the more established science contradicts the bible.

Tyler B. says:

Re: Re: Land of the free ...

Hey there A.C.,

None of this is true. Dancing is loved by many of the students and we have several great dance teams on campus, there is 0 drug testing except for job applications, both the positions of evolution and creation are presented for the students to test themselves. Most of the professors here are very well-educated and it’s been an honor to be able to attend here. I’m honestly not sure who told you those things, but they certainly haven’t been here recently. Although the university was very conservative in years past, it has certainly loosened up for the better, without compromising its core values.



Crusty the Ex-Clown says:

Sounds Legit To Me.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong? This guy’s obviously a brainiac compared to Scott Walker, who has eyes much too close together for my liking. Plus, he’d be the first president from our 51st state, Canada. I can see it now – curling on the White House lawn, new RCMP-themed uniforms for the secret service, special moose steaks for the Presidential larder.

Justin G. (profile) says:

Cloudflare Certificates

From the image, you can see that the certificate is issued to CloudFlare. This is the way that CloudFlare has set up their infrastructure so that they don’t need a unique public IPv4 address for every single one of their customers.

Techdirt also site behind Cloudflare and has more than a dozen alternate names to various website hidden within the SSL certificate.

In my opinion, there is no security issue here. Just an unfortunate, yet amusing coincidence that Cloudflare paired these 2 domains together.

Kal Zekdor (profile) says:

Re: Cloudflare Certificates

Techdirt should really know better. This is tabloid (or cable news) level bullshit. The only revelation here is that the campaign website uses Cloudflare. Good for them, Cloudflare knows what they’re doing. The SSL certs used by CF often serve multiple websites. That’s all that’s going on here. It has nothing to do with Ted Cruz, and little to do with Cloudflare.

I’m disappointed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Cloudflare Certificates

Cloudflare knows what they’re doing.

Cloudfare took money from a clown candidate and set that candidate’s website up for some nasty laughs.

Of course Cloudfare knows what they’re doing—people gonna laugh about the pairing between Cruz and the Nigerian Prince. That’s just human nature. It’s politics. Not beanbag. Kinda funny sometimes.

I’m so sad you feel “disappointed”.

Justin G. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Cloudflare Certificates

I agree that it is disappointing to see this here on Techdirt without noting that there are completely benign technical reasons for this to happen. Especially so when this very site shares the same infrastructure, which “raises some questions about just who he has hired to build his websites”.

I think the post should be edited to include an update clarifying that this is an implementation detail of a 3rd party provider and that this in no way impacts the security of the donation site (or this site).

ConfoundedSociety says:


Considering the comments about nigerian-pronce.com, it seems obvious that no one actually went to web site. This is beyond yellow journalism. It’s a partisan attack. I guess they didn’t actually go to the site so that aren’t really lying when they claim it’s an internet scam site. They’re just ignorant.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Nigerian-Prince

Not wanting to visit a site with a name synonymous with dodgy scam artists, and potentially put my computer at risk because of it, is now ‘rushing to ignorance’?

Like I said, my assumption there may not be fair to the site and what’s actually on it, but if they don’t want people assuming that it might not be the safest site to visit, and avoiding it as a result, then they chose the wrong name to register with.

Tyler B. says:

LU Student Here.

Quick correction–I’m an LU student and Cruz’s speech was very well received on the whole. There were about 20 students who wore Rand Paul shirts during the announcement, but even they did not mock his speech. Just want to give you a heads up so you don’t lose reputation for bad press. Feel free to contact me for further clarification at my email.

Tyler B. says:

Re: Re: Re: LU Student Here.

Hello A.C.,

As a clarification, I was referring to the phrase “Because along with his campaign launch speech (which was widely mocked by the Liberty University students who were forced to attend)”. The speech was generally well received, and most of the students here who disagreed with it had the decency to politely disagree–very few mocked it, and it was certainly not widely mocked. There were many standing ovations through the duration of the speech from the students, actually. I’m not directly a Cruz supporter, but I am glad that he chose the university as a launching pad for his campaign.



MadamMem says:

Re: LU Student Here.

So the students who spoke to the press or mocked Cruz on Yik-Yak and twitter, weren’t mocking Cruz?

Also, do you think it is acceptable to require 10,000+ students to attend a political campaign speech? Looks good for the politician for marketing purposes, but usually we (Americans) make fun of politicians in other countries who require people to come to their speeches.

Tyler B. says:

Re: Re: LU Student Here.

Hello MadamMem,

Thanks for asking! I’m actually close friends with one of the students with the group, and the main spokesperson from them is not directly against Cruz. He was the leader of a group of students who wore “I stand with Rand” shirts at the announcement, because Cruz announced his campaign at a tri-weekly meeting that all students are required to go to. They don’t directly support Cruz, and didn’t want their attendance at the announcement to be misconstrued as support, so they wore the t-shirts to show that. They were supported by the President of the college and several other students for their decision (President’s statement here: http://www.liberty.edu/news/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=152118).

Now in regards to Yik-Yak–I can’t and won’t deny that. There is a small, and surprisingly vocal group of complainers that does not like attending the tri-weekly convocation, and so they spend much of their time complaining about it. It’s gotten much better since the fall, but it is certainly the go-to place if you want to anonymously complain about anything and everything for free internet points. If I were to put a number on the heavily active Yik-Yak complainers, I would put it at about 40 or so out of the 13,800 students that attend here, tops. They certainly have their free right to say what they wish, but it is sad to see such a vocal minority casting a less than favorable light on the majority.

Also, some of the news networks took snaps of fresh Yik-Yaks–ones that had just been posted and not voted on. Complaining is more and more being downvoted into oblivion. I’ll list the top Yaks today for you, for reference.

– (tag jerryistheman) “Can we just acknowledge how much our school’s president cares about us for a second. Like we messed up and he was like BUT YOU CANT PROVE IT. Like a protective dad. Dude we are lucky”. 112 upvotes

— (tag update) “I posted a few weeks ago asking for prayer as I started counseling…just wanted to say that it’s going great and I’m gaining so much healing in my life…thanks for the prayers!”. 72 upvotes.

— “Oddly enough, I actually prefer seeing Yik Yak flooded with political debate instead of thirsty people soliciting sex or other idiots randomly [redacted]posting”. 70 upvotes.

While I won’t go out and say that the school is a perfect, shining example of an institution–no institution is and I think we can all agree on that–I will say that they do most things right. In retrospect, perhaps making attendance optional for this occasion would have been the best choice for not giving the media fodder to misconstrue Cruz’s speech would have been a better decision, but hindsight is 20/20. I do know going into it, the school was more or less pitching it as an announcement, and the fact that it was a school-wide event did not seem to be an issue before it was made one.

And I’ll give my last bit on your last bit. The university is very much embracing diversity, and so we get a wide variety of diversity when we have speakers come and speak at Convocation. Because this is a conservative, evangelical Christian school, the speakers tend to be from that sector. However, we do still get people that very few students agree with, such as Donald Trump or a liberal congressman (forgive me, his name is slipping my mind) to speak. It was very enlightening to hear their views, the congressman especially, and even though I don’t entirely agree with his points, he was received very respectfully by the students and even though the majority of students did not agree with his views, they certainly listened and learned. That is the goal of Convocation, and one that is easily lost by several news networks in the series of yellow-papering a story. We’ve had politicians come through here with entirely optional speeches to attend, and they got a warm reception as well. All-in-all it’s a very beneficial system, and the wonderful thing is that if it were not so and enough students were of that mindset, the president, who is very much loved by the students, would fix it.

Thanks for asking and I hope my long-winded response didn’t bore you or scare you off. If anyone else has any questions I would be glad to answer them.

Tyler B. says:

Re: Re: Re:2 TylerB (LU Student Here)

Thanks, Darth!

As is often the case, news networks all across the board, on both left and right sides, like sensationalizing an issue to make it exciting. After all,that is the purpose of news. It is sad to see it at the expense of the university, which I have had a very solidly positive experience with, despite several widely-spread misconceptions. Thanks for the appreciation, it means a lot.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 LU Student Here.

The guy has won and lost and won and lost fortune after fortune, including NY real estate and Taj Mahal casinos in NJ, and hosted TV, and played at being a mouthy wannabe politician/statesman. I’ve never understood how he gets away with it or why anybody cares what he says. There’s never been any there there. He’s just an imitation European nobility in USA. An entertainer mostly based around gossip.

00sweeney (profile) says:

Why hasn't this article been deleted?

I mean, it’s great that you’ve admitted your stupidity. So why is the example of said stupidity still online?

You understand that a lot of people are only going to read the headline, right?

So why is it still up?

Oh…you’re probably still getting clicks, aren’t you?

I mean, why take something down even if it’s not true when it’s making money, right?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Why hasn't this article been deleted?

Why hasn’t this article been deleted?
I mean, it’s great that you’ve admitted your stupidity. So why is the example of said stupidity still online?

As far as I know, Techdirt doesn’t remove any articles.

You understand that a lot of people are only going to read the headline, right?

How is other people’s stupidity Techdirt’s fault?

So why is it still up?

As far as I know, Techdirt doesn’t remove any articles.

Oh…you’re probably still getting clicks, aren’t you?
I mean, why take something down even if it’s not true when it’s making money, right?

I don’t know if it has changed lately, but Techdirt used to barely make enough to cover thier bandwidth costs. The Techdirt blog has historically been sort of a loss-leader for Mike’s consulting business, Floor 64.

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