Feeds

E-commerce smackdown as PCI standards revised

Comply or die pay fines

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Analysis Revisions of the Payment Card Industry's security standards, due to come into force in January, were published on Thursday following months of negotiations.

The PCI DSS 2.0 standard, which specifies the "security rules" under which merchants and banks are supposed to process credit card transactions, contain only minor revisions to what is now a well-established set of minimum standards best practice in managing e-commerce operations securely.

The revised guidelines call for a greater reliance on a risk-based approach for addressing vulnerabilities, rather than a blind adherence to the letter of the law. The latest version of the standard also brings together application and data security standard guidelines and attempts to simplify the process of compliance for small merchants. Despite the changes, security experts say the PCI standards remain confusing for small businesses.

That's a problem that can't be ignored. Small merchants are obliged to adopt the standards or accept higher card processing fees in general and tougher fines or, for continual non-compliance, the withdrawal of their ability to take e-commerce payments.

The opinions of merchants, banks, payment processors and suppliers were taken into account in developing the revised standards, which tie together the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) standards. Other measures include increased support for a risk-based approach to vulnerability remediation and as well as an increased emphasis on an initial scoping of locations where cardholder data resides before applying PCI regulations.

The promotion of more effective log management is also on the agenda, along with more detailed standards for the secure coding of custom-built applications.

The PCI Security Standards Council characterises the changes as "relatively minor revisions" to a "mature standard".

A detailed summary of changes to the standard can be found here. The PCI Security Standards Council has also set up a micro-site designed to help small merchants to reach compliance, which can be found here.

The great thing about standards is that there are so many of them

However, Stuart Okin, UK managing director of security consulting firm Comsec, said that "confusion reigns" in the PCI marketplace. He says this is partly because interpretation of the PCI rules differ in the US and Europe but also because Visa and Mastercard are "out of alignment", a point supported by other industry observers.

Gary Palgon, VP of product management at tokenisation technology provider nuBridges, criticised the card brands for continuing to use their "own, independent standards for PCI compliance" instead of "conforming exclusively to PCI SSC-derived framework".

Palgon says: "Having a universal, singular standards set is paramount for easing compliancy requirements and reducing complexity for merchants and service providers alike."

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Virtual reality

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
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.
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.
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.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.