PCI DSS Version 3.0

PCI DSS Version 3 will soon be with us. Such is the anticipation that the PCI Security Standards Council have released a sneak preview ‘Change Highlights’ document.
The updated Data Security Standard highlights include a wagging finger statement which may be aimed at you if you are a Merchant or Acquiring Bank.

“Cardholder data continues to be a target for criminals. Lack of education and awareness around payment security and poor implementation and maintenance of the PCI Standards leads to many of the security breaches happening today”

In other words, a big part of the drive for the new version of the standard is to give it some fresh impetus. Just because the PCI DSS isn’t new, it doesn’t make it any less relevant today.

pci dss v3

But What is the Benefit of the PCI DSS for Us?

To understand just how relevant cardholder data protection is, the hard facts are outlined in the recent Nilson report. Their findings are that global card fraud losses have now exceeded $11Billion. It’s not all bad news if you are a card brand or issuing bank – the losses are made slightly more bearable by the fact that the total of transactions now exceeds $21TRILLION.


“Card issuer losses occur mainly at the point of sale from counterfeit cards. Issuers bear the fraud loss if they give merchants authorization to accept the payment. Merchant and acquirer losses occur mainly on card-not-present (CNP) transactions on the Web, at a call center, or through mail order”

This is why the PCI DSS exists and needs to be taken seriously with all requirements fully implemented, and practised daily. Card fraud is a very real problem and as with most crimes, if you think it won’t happen to you, think again. Ignorance, complacency and corner-cutting are still the major contributors to card data theft.

The changes are very much in line with NNT’s methodology of continuous, real-time security validation for all in scope systems – the PCI SSC state that the changes in version 3 of the standard include “Recommendations focus on helping organizations take a proactive approach to protect cardholder data that focuses on security, not compliance, and makes PCI DSS a business-as-usual practice”

So instead of this being a ‘Once a year, get some scans done, patch everything, get a report done from a QSA then relax for another 11 months’ exercise, the PCI SSC are trying to educate and encourage merchants and banks to embed or entrench security best practices within their everyday operations, and be PCI Compliant as a natural consequence of this.

Continuous FIM – The Foundation of PCI Compliance

In fact, taking a continuous FIM approach as the starting point for security and PCI compliance makes much sense. It doesn’t take long to set up, it will only tell you if you need to take action when you need to do so, will help to define a hardened build standard for your systems and will drive you to adopt the necessary discipline for change control, plus it will give you full peace of mind that systems are being actively protected at all times, 100% in line with PCI DSS requirements.

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