Feeds

E-commerce smackdown as PCI standards revised

Comply or die pay fines

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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."

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Virtual reality

More from The Register

next story
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
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
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
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
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.