Managers responsible for IT compliance need to understand that credit card companies hold merchants accountable for not only protecting stored consumer data, but also securing the network transport layer and on-going processes to validate compliance. Due to the never-ending amount of network device change and configurations, it is nearly impossible to determine exactly when a device actually becomes non-complaint. PCI auditors are not only on the lookout for non-compliant devices, but also for a well thought-out security process that is currently implemented, tracked and well documented. This is where an automated change and configuration management system can really assist.
The PCI DSS requirements pertain not just to retailers, but to any credit card accepting organization from university book stores to pay-at-the-pump gas stations. Let’s face it, retail payment systems were not designed with security in mind, they were designed to add convenience to consumers’ shopping experiences. However, hackers have caught on to this oversight and are finding new ways to exploit the weakest network links for their profitability — and they are getting really good at it.
Consider several well-published network data breaches over the last few years:
- February 15, 2005 - ChoicePoint - ID thieves accessed 145,000 accounts.
- April 12, 2005 - LexisNexis - 280,000 passwords compromised.
- April 28, 2005 - Wachovia, Bank of America, PNC Financial Services and Commerce Bancorp saw 676,000 accounts compromised by dishonest insiders.
- November 2006 - UCLA – 800,000 current and former student Social Security Numbers stolen by computer hacker.
- July 2005 through January 2007 – TJX – 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers stolen.
- July 3, 2007 Fidelity National Information Services (Jacksonville, FL) 8.5 Million Records lost due to data breach.
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