Feeds

Visa gives merchants crypto card security guidelines

Retailers scramble for safety

Reducing security risks from open source software

Visa has published best practices for data field encryption (AKA end-to-end encryption) that call on merchants to always encrypt cardholder data.

Data field encryption covers techniques for ensuring swiped credit data is always stored and transmitted in an encrypted format right from the point where a customer plastic is swiped or an online order is taken. The approach is designed to supplement existing PCI DSS security standards for merchants in helping to protect cardholder data from hacking attacks, particularly those targeted at retailers or online merchants.

PCI DSS covers the need to run up to date anti-virus and to use encryption for wireless networks without making specific recommendations. The data encryption best practice offers advice on encryption from a comparable standpoint, such as using robust key lengths for encryption and protecting terminal devices against tampering.

Sensitive authentication data such as CVV2 numbers or PINs should only be used for authorisation and never held on merchant's systems.

The publication of data field encryption standards follows in the wake of recent high-profile security breaches at firms such as TJX.

Standards in the area are in an early sage of development, but we might expect Visa to adopt a carrot and stick approach towards merchants in encouraging their adoption. Reduced processing fees for early adopters will be put together with big fines for merchants who do experience a breach and aren't following the guidelines.

In addition to publishing encryption best practices, Visa also announced that it will chair the ANSI X9F6 standards working group helping to guide the development of a data field encryption standard.

Data field encryption applies after the card is swiped and dealt with within a merchant's environment until it reaches a payment processing firm. What happens within the payment processor until it goes to Visa is covered by separate guidelines.

Visa accepts encrypted transaction data from acquirers, third-party processors and merchants directly connected to VisaNet.

"While no single technology will completely solve for fraud, data field encryption can be an effective security layer to render cardholder data useless to criminals in the event of a merchant data breach," said Eduardo Perez, global head of data security at Visa. "Using encryption as one component of a comprehensive data security program can enhance a merchant's security by eliminating any clear text data either in storage or in flight." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
L33t haxxors compete to p0wn popular home routers
EFF-endorsed SOHOpelessly Broken challenge will air routers' dirty zero day laundry
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
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.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.