Story image

Credit card safety

01 Nov 2010

Well, as we hinted, it is a baseline security standard designed to reduce the risk of credit card data theft. There are 12 requirements comprising over 240 individual controls. As we stated, you can’t be mostly compliant. It’s an all-or-nothing standard developed and maintained by the PCI Security Standards Council (www.pcisecuritystandards.org/index.shtml). The 12 requirements of the standard are:

  1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
  2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
  3. Protect stored cardholder data
  4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
  5. Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs
  6. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
  7. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know
  8. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
  9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data
  10. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
  11. Regularly test security systems and processes
  12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security for employees and contractors.
We’re sure you’ll agree that those are pretty sensible requirements, but don’t underestimate the PCI DSS. You may well be doing a lot of what is required, but the devil is in the detail. Arm yourself with the Council document entitled ‘Navigating PCI DSS – Understanding the Intent of the Requirements’ which can be downloaded at tinyurl.com/mv76cr. This additional guidance will help clarify each of the controls and what each control is meant to achieve.Ultimately, if there is any doubt, the controls have one of two intents:
  1. Prevent inappropriate disclosure of cardholder data
  2. Detect when inappropriate disclosure occurs, allowing quick remediation.
Our first piece of advice regarding cardholder data (CHD) is "If you don’t need it, don’t store it!”. The more components that are in scope of your assessment, the more your compliance is going to cost. From the Standard: "The PCI DSS security requirements apply to all system components, defined as any network component, server, or application that is included in or connected to the CHD environment. The CHD environment is that part of the network that possesses cardholder or sensitive authentication data. Network components include but are not limited to firewalls, switches, routers, wireless access points, network appliances, and other security appliances. Server types include, but are not limited to the following: web, application, database, authentication, mail, proxy, network time (NTP), and domain name (DNS). Applications include all purchased and custom applications, including internal and external (Internet) applications.”One of the easiest ways to limit your PCI compliance cost is to limit the systems and components that ‘touch’ CHD. In the course of our business, we have come across many companies that store years of data. Someone at some point thought it was necessary, but if you start asking tough questions like "Are you willing to pay for the compliance?” you will more than likely find out that not all the data is needed.If you do need CHD, can your business process survive with a truncated number such as 4123 45xx xxxx 2345? This is no longer considered to be CHD and is out of scope of your assessment. In addition, all the systems and components linked to where the truncated numbers are stored may also be out of scope.The second piece of advice is to draw yourself a high-level diagram of where all the CHD in your business exists. If you don’t know where the data is, how would you even start to reduce the scope? Without fail, CHD gets everywhere: email, fax, call recordings, spread sheets, scanned documents, paper statements, paper forms, databases, computer logs, backups…Next month we will briefly discuss the ‘Prioritised Approach’: the grey areas of the Standard and the controls that are likely to be costly to implement.

How Dell EMC and NVIDIA aim to simplify the AI data centre
Businesses are realising they need AI at scale, and so enterprise IT teams are increasingly inserting themselves into their company’s AI agenda. 
Orange Belgium opens 1,000 sqm Antwerp data centre
It consists of more than 500 high-density 52 unit racks, installed on the equivalent of 12 tennis courts.
Time to build tech on the automobile, not the horse and cart
Nutanix’s Jeff Smith believes one of the core problems of businesses struggling to digitally ‘transform’ lies in the infrastructure they use, the data centre.
Cloud providers increasingly jumping into gaming market
Aa number of major cloud service providers are uniquely placed to capitalise on the lucrative cloud gaming market.
Intel building US’s first exascale supercomputer
Intel and the Department of Energy are building potentially the world’s first exascale supercomputer, capable of a quintillion calculations per second.
NVIDIA announces enterprise servers optimised for data science
“The rapid adoption of T4 on the world’s most popular business servers signals the start of a new era in enterprise computing."
Unencrypted Gearbest database leaves over 1.5mil shoppers’ records exposed
Depending on the countries and information requirements, the data could give hackers access to online government portals, banking apps, and health insurance records.
Storage is all the rage, and SmartNICs are the key
Mellanox’s Kevin Deierling shares the results from a new survey that identifies the key role of the network in boosting data centre performance.