As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) launched his presidential campaign Monday, people online quickly discovered something odd: Cruz's website, tedcruz.org, shared a security certificate with "nigerian-prince.com."
The discovery prompted jokes that Cruz's appeal for donations was akin to the proverbial email scams in which a "Nigerian prince" promises a gullible victim riches — if the victim wires money to the "prince" first.
The discovery also prompted serious speculation about Cruz's technical know-how, with Techdirt's Mike Masnick saying the shared certificate "raises some questions about just who [Cruz] has hired to build his websites."
So who did Cruz hire?
CloudFlare — incidentally, the same company that hosts Techdirt's security certificate.
As it turns out, the fact that tedcruz.org and nigerian-prince.com share a certificate isn't a cause for alarm at all.
"The Cruz campaign didn't do anything wrong," CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince told Ars Technica. "It was an automated process on CloudFlare's part."
Prince explained that CloudFlare assigns multiple websites to each of its SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates "to limit consumption of IP addresses."
The fact that tedcruz.org shared a certificate with nigerian-prince.com — which is a joke website, not a serious scammers' haven — was a fluke, and the latter URL has since been removed from tedcruz.org's certificate.
"Bottom line: All donations are and have always been secure," Cruz spokesman Brian Phillips told TheBlaze. He also sent a link to SSL Labs security rankings, which give donate.tedcruz.org an "A" grade for security.
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