Screenshot by NPR
Visitors to the Equifax website might have encountered something a little odd Thursday afternoon. For some consumers seeking a credit report from the agency, the page that loaded was likely to disappoint them.
“We’re sorry …” the page’s error message began. “The website is currently down for maintenance. We are working diligently to better serve you, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We appreciate your patience during this time and ask that you check back with us soon.”
Posted just over a month after the company acknowledged that a massive cybersecurity breach exposed the personal information of more than 145 million Americans, the error message understandably raised some eyebrows.
On Thursday, Equifax explained that it had taken the page offline after Ars Technica, a website covering technology and other topics, pointed out a potential issue: fraudulent Adobe Flash updates. The problem was identified by independent security analyst Randy Abrams, who said those download links — when clicked — would infect one’s computer with adware. Ars Technica said Abrams, vetting his initial suspicions, told the news site “he encountered the bogus Flash download links on at least three subsequent visits.”
Abrams shared a video of what he was seeing with Ars Technica.