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Attacks/Breaches

PCI Standards Expanded to Include Unattended Devices

New specs respond to emerging threats posed at kiosks, ATM devices

The PCI Security Standards Council is looking to put more needles in PINs.

In an announcement made yesterday, the standards group, which sets the guidelines for complying with the retail Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, said it is expanding the standards to include guidelines for protecting unattended kiosks, ATM-type devices, and other systems that require the input of a personal identification number (PIN).

The extension of the security requirements is a significant one, because it requires the retailer not only to secure data at its stores and warehouses, but also in any location where the customer may enter a PIN, such as self-service ticketing machines, kiosks, automated fuel pumps, and other devices that might not be operated solely by the retailer's employees.

"PIN-entry devices go well beyond the typical [point of sale (POS)] terminals we are all familiar with, and we are continually expanding into more and more areas," said Bob Russo, general manager, PCI Security Standards Council. "Any device that processes [PINs] is an important link in the transaction chain."

The Council did not make any reference to recent hacker exploits, but it is likely that the new standards were developed at least partly because of some highly publicized attacks on unattended systems and POS devices over the past two years. The infamous TJX security breach reportedly began at a store kiosk, and more recently, attackers have exploited flaws in unattended fuel pumps. (See Hacking the Real TJX Story and Gas Station ATM/Card Reader Likely Rigged in New ID Theft Case .)

The new PIN Entry Device (PED) Security Requirements are designed to ensure the security of devices that accept PIN entry, the Council said. Until now, the PCI requirements focused on traditional POS devices that operate in an environment attended by a merchant, cashier, or sales clerk.

The PED requirements will extend those requirements to unattended payment terminals (UPTs). Up until now, vendors have been manufacturing and having the encrypted PIN pads (EPPs) that go into UPTs evaluated by approved labs, and the payment card brands have been requiring the use of PCI SSC-approved EPPs. Having new and overarching UPT testing requirements will further protect the payment card industry, the Council said.

The PCI standards also will now extend to include host security modules (HSMs), secure cryptographic devices that can be used for PIN translation, card personalization, electronic commerce, or data protection and do not include any type of cardholder interface.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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