Equifax takes down web page af­ter re­port of new hack

The Globe and Mail (Atlantic Edition) - - INTERNATIONAL - JOHN MCCRANK NEW YORK

Equifax Inc. said on Thurs­day it has taken one of its cus­tomer­help web­site pages off­line as its se­cu­rity team looks into re­ports of an­other po­ten­tial cy­ber­breach at the credit-re­port­ing com­pany, which re­cently dis­closed a hack that com­pro­mised the sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion of more than 145 mil­lion peo­ple.

The move came af­ter an in­de­pen­dent se­cu­rity an­a­lyst on Wed­nes­day found part of Equifax’s web­site was un­der the con­trol of at­tack­ers try­ing to trick vis­i­tors into in­stalling fraud­u­lent Adobe Flash up­dates that could in­fect com­put­ers with mal­ware, the tech­nol­ogy-news web­site Ars Tech­nica re­ported.

“We are aware of the sit­u­a­tion iden­ti­fied on the equifax.com web­site in the credit re­port as­sis­tance link,” Equifax spokesman Wy­att Jef­feries said in an e-mail. ”Our IT and se­cu­rity teams are look­ing into this mat­ter, and out of an abun­dance of cau­tion have tem­po­rar­ily taken this page off­line.”

The At­lanta-based com­pany, which has faced seething crit­i­cism from con­sumers, reg­u­la­tors and law­mak­ers over its han­dling of the ear­lier breach, said it would pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion as it be­comes avail­able.

As of 1:15 p.m., the web page in ques­tion said: “We’re sorry… The web­site is cur­rently down for main­te­nance. We are work­ing dili­gently to bet­ter serve you, and apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience this may cause. We ap­pre­ci­ate your pa­tience dur­ing this time and ask that you check back with us soon.”

Randy Abrams, the in­de­pen­dent an­a­lyst who no­ticed the pos­si­ble hack, said he was at­tempt­ing to check some in­for­ma­tion in his credit re­port late on Wed­nes­day when one of the bo­gus pop-up ads ap­peared on Equifax’s web­site.

His first re­ac­tion was dis­be­lief, he said in an in­ter­view with Reuters on Thurs­day. “You’ve got to be kid­ding me,” he re­called think­ing. Then, he suc­cess­fully repli­cated the prob­lem at least five times, mak­ing a video that he posted to YouTube.

Equifax’s se­cu­rity pro­to­cols have been un­der scru­tiny since Sept. 7, when the com­pany dis­closed its sys­tems had been breached between mid-May and late July.

The breach has prompted in­ves­ti­ga­tions by mul­ti­ple fed­eral and state agen­cies, in­clud­ing a crim­i­nal probe by the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice, and it has led to the de­par­ture of the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer and chief se­cu­rity of­fi­cer.

As a credit re­port­ing agency, Equifax keeps vast amounts of con­sumer data for banks and other cred­i­tors to use to de­ter­mine the chances of their cus­tomers’ de­fault­ing.

Equifax (EFX)

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