Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

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iceport
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Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

Post by iceport » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:09 am

To any tech-saavy Bogleheads out there,

I'm looking for help accessing the Equifax security freeze web page. It just won't load for me at home. I'd really like to access the site from home using my desktop PC. Any ideas you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Here are the details of the problem:

— I can access the Equifax website in general, including their article, "How do I place a security freeze on my Equifax credit file?" here: https://help.equifax.com/s/article/ka13 ... redit-file

— However, when I try the link to the security freeze page in the first paragraph, https://www.freeze.equifax.com/, the page times out:
The connection has timed out

The server at www.freeze.equifax.com is taking too long to respond.

The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few moments.
If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer’s network connection.
If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.
— I've tried both Firefox and IE (my only two browsers), and neither work.

— I've tried using my desktop PC (the one I hope to access the site from) and a laptop.

— However: when I was out yesterday with the laptop, I was able to load the page just fine from two different establishments with free (unsecured) wi-fi. So this isn't an internet security setting issue on the computers, as I originally suspected.

— I have DSL internet access, and I use the modem/router provided by the ISP (now Frontier).

— I had initiated the security freeze process at Equifax in 2015 (possibly using a different modem), and I was under the impression the freeze worked, but I never did receive a PIN from Equifax.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what might be blocking access to the specific security freeze web page (https://www.freeze.equifax.com/)? I'd be grateful for any ideas.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

ccieemeritus
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Re: Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

Post by ccieemeritus » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:19 pm

I took a quick look but don't see anything obvious from my end. In particular www.freeze.equifax.com is an IPv4-only website.

That's good troubleshooting using your laptop from another network. That certainly places your home network under suspicion. A reboot of your home modem/router/wireless-access-point is in order but that's just a guess. I'll assume you don't have any VPN's active to work from your home computers.

As a workaround you could setup your smartphone as a personal hotspot, then connect to it from your home computer (at home) and execute the security freeze.

Mac troubleshooting data follows which you can try to emulate from your PC in a terminal window. But nothing particularly helpful.

Website is IPv4 only:

% host www.freeze.equifax.com
www.freeze.equifax.com has address 216.46.109.55

www.freeze.equifax.com does not respond to pings from anyone: (sadly most websites do this now for security reasons)

% ping www.freeze.equifax.com
PING www.freeze.equifax.com (216.46.109.55): 56 data bytes
Request timeout for icmp_seq 0
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1


It is possible to telnet to the website on ports 80 and 443 and get a connection: (look for the keyword "connected")

% telnet www.freeze.equifax.com 80
Trying 216.46.109.55...
Connected to www.freeze.equifax.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
^]
telnet> quit

% telnet 216.46.109.55 443
Trying 216.46.109.55...
Connected to www.freeze.equifax.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
^CConnection closed by foreign host.

Traceroutes do not get to the target: (I believe the command is tracert on a pc, the -n option turns off DNS reverse lookups to stop hangs)


% traceroute -n www.freeze.equifax.com
traceroute to www.freeze.equifax.com (216.46.109.55), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 192.168.0.1 1.816 ms 1.601 ms 1.509 ms
2 DELETED FOR PRIVACY 10.999 ms 10.775 ms 12.066 ms
3 DELETED FOR PRIVACY 11.009 ms 11.048 ms 10.683 ms
4 162.151.78.253 11.533 ms 11.025 ms 11.318 ms
5 * 4.68.72.105 12.037 ms 22.360 ms
6 * 4.69.150.190 68.403 ms 69.123 ms
7 4.15.114.94 72.052 ms 70.071 ms 70.390 ms
8 * * *
9 * * *
10 * * *
11 * * *

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iceport
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Re: Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

Post by iceport » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:33 pm

ccieemeritus wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:19 pm
I took a quick look but don't see anything obvious from my end. In particular www.freeze.equifax.com is an IPv4-only website.

That's good troubleshooting using your laptop from another network. That certainly places your home network under suspicion. A reboot of your home modem/router/wireless-access-point is in order but that's just a guess. I'll assume you don't have any VPN's active to work from your home computers.

As a workaround you could setup your smartphone as a personal hotspot, then connect to it from your home computer (at home) and execute the security freeze.
Thank you kindly, ccieemeritus, for taking the time to look into this. At this point, I still haven't taken the plunge into the world of smartphones yet, so I can't try the hotspot idea without help from others. Also, I thought I was not computer-illiterate, but I had to look up VPN and IPv4, so that tells you where I stand. :? Your troubleshooting data is over my head. No VPN to work with, either.

I did try a modem/router reboot, as you suggested, to no avail. (Is a couple of minutes turned off enough? Or do I need to physically unplug stuff and/or wait longer for a reboot?)

Thanks again for your help! This is getting frustrating. (And all this for the opportunity for more frustration if and when I ever get logged onto Equifax's system...)
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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iceport
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Re: Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

Post by iceport » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:07 pm

One last try for help from the forum...

I just spent well over 1 hour on the phone with my ISP, and they could find neither the problem nor the solution. I don't know if they ever understood the problem was not likely on the PC, but something on the network.

At this point, the only obvious next step is to contact Equifax.

Before I do that, does anyone else have any wild guesses as to why a single solitary website might be inaccessible from a standard DSL connection?

Thanks!
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

azurekep
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Re: Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

Post by azurekep » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:01 pm

iceport wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:07 pm

Before I do that, does anyone else have any wild guesses as to why a single solitary website might be inaccessible from a standard DSL connection?
That happened to me once. The ISP swore it was the site I was trying to access. The website swore it was the ISP. This went on for weeks. To top it off, it was a site I had been accessing without trouble for virtually every day.

What finally resolved it was getting a new router.

That was a pretty extreme remedy given it was a single website I couldn't access, but it was time to get a new router anyway.

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iceport
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Re: Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

Post by iceport » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:49 pm

azurekep wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:01 pm
That happened to me once. The ISP swore it was the site I was trying to access. The website swore it was the ISP. This went on for weeks. To top it off, it was a site I had been accessing without trouble for virtually every day.

What finally resolved it was getting a new router.

That was a pretty extreme remedy given it was a single website I couldn't access, but it was time to get a new router anyway.
Thank you for that data point! This really is perplexing.

It sounds like you got much further than I did with your ISP. Mine rather mindlessly walked me through a prescribed troubleshooting checklist, without much proficiency at even that level. Two different consultations with others produced no new ideas. To their credit, they were patient, but it felt like the blind leading the blind.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

azurekep
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Re: Technical (Computer) Issue Accessing Equifax Security Freeze Page

Post by azurekep » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:14 pm

iceport wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:49 pm
azurekep wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:01 pm
That happened to me once. The ISP swore it was the site I was trying to access. The website swore it was the ISP. This went on for weeks. To top it off, it was a site I had been accessing without trouble for virtually every day.

What finally resolved it was getting a new router.

That was a pretty extreme remedy given it was a single website I couldn't access, but it was time to get a new router anyway.
Thank you for that data point! This really is perplexing.

It sounds like you got much further than I did with your ISP. Mine rather mindlessly walked me through a prescribed troubleshooting checklist, without much proficiency at even that level. Two different consultations with others produced no new ideas. To their credit, they were patient, but it felt like the blind leading the blind.
My ISP did several traceroutes to find out where the blockage was. Even though they could identify the blockage, they couldn't explain it or fix it.

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