Feeds

Merchants call credit card industry's bluff on compliance

PCI DSS off the agenda

The Power of One Infographic

Nine in ten (88 per cent) European firms have failed to achieve compliance with a credit card industry standard for processing ecommerce transactions.

European merchants are behind their US counterparts in getting up to speed with the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), according to a survey by management tools firm NetIQ. The findings of the survey come less than two weeks before a 30 June deadline for compliance with a significant revision in the standard that adds web application security requirements.

PCI DSS was introduced by the major credit card companies as a means of encouraging merchants to engage in best practice security. The 12 point guidelines cover a basic set of requirements such as the need to keep systems up to date with patches and to encrypt cardholder data, for example.

A poll of 65 merchants across Europe by NetIQ revealed that two years after the standard was introduced the majority of firms are still way off being compliant. Worse, the majority (54 per cent) have no timetable for getting up to speed. Only 17 per cent of respondents reckoned that they would be compliant within six to twelve months.

By comparison, 23 per cent of respondents to a similar survey of 300 US organisation said they were already PCI DSS compliant. However more than two in five (44 per cent) of those quizzed had no idea when they would achieve compliance.

At first sight attaining PCI DSS compliance may seem easy enough but the path to getting a sign-off on the standard can be tricky in practice. Half of those working towards obtaining the PCI DSS seal of approval have been doing so for more than six months. Although failure to achieve compliance with the standard allows credit card firms to levy penalties, many organisations are postponing compliance out of a belief that it's a stick card issuers are reluctant to wield.

Seven out of 10 of those quizzed by NetIQ reckoned that the penalties for non-compliance would only occasionally be levied, while 23 per cent said that fines would "almost never" be issued. Many of the merchants are more worried about dishonest workers than external hackers or business partners.

Compliance with the PCI DSS standard involves self assessment in the case of smaller ecommerce firms, ranging up to annual audits for the largest firms. Achieving the PCI DSS standard can lead to lower merchant fees but doesn't necessarily mean every organisation that goes through the process is secure.

For example, US grocery chain Hannaford warned in March that an information security breach (later blamed on malware) had exposed an estimated 4.2 million credit card records. Hannaford had achieved PCI DSS compliance prior to the breach but the approval process failed to uncover the flaws that led to the breach. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.