PCI-DSS 4.0 Simplified with Traceable

Payment data and credit cards are among the most valuable pieces of data an organization possesses, and attackers are constantly seeking ways to exploit them. This data is often utilized directly by attackers on other websites or bundled and resold to other criminals via dark web marketplaces.

PCI-DSS is a standard established by the PCI Security Standards Council, which standardizes security mechanisms within organizations by defining protocols for securing this highly sensitive data. Compliance with PCI-DSS 4.0 ensures that appropriate measures are taken to secure payment data.

Broadly, compliance requires organizations to build and maintain secure networks and systems, protect account data (e.g., cardholder details and sensitive authentication data such as PINs), maintain a vulnerability management program, implement strong access control measures, regularly monitor and test networks, and uphold an information security policy.

Achieving certification involves undergoing a PCI-DSS compliance assessment by a professional, independent auditor, but how can organizations meet each of these requirements?

  1. Install and maintain network security controls – Network security should be at the core of any organization’s security plan. PCI-DSS requires that your networks and networks that handle account data should have a clear security policy which defines the controls in place, configuration details, restricts access and any processes, procedures to enable updates and changes. Documentation is just as important as the security controls in place
  2. Protect account data – Account data is broadly defined as data either about card holders or that provide authentication mechanisms for a card (for example the magstripe on the back of your card or the PIN code you put into a machine). Storage of this data should be minimal, with authentication data being deleted as soon as authorization is completed. Access to account data should be restricted, secured and encrypted.
  3. Maintain a vulnerability management program – A vulnerability management program ensures you can react when a vulnerability is discovered and remediate and investigate findings. This includes scanning your software for vulnerabilities, updating any third party software as soon as it is available, triage vulnerabilities by severity, and rescan after remediation to check that the vulnerability is no longer present.
  4. Implement strong access control measures – Access control defines what someone has access to and what they don’t. For payment providers this is extremely important, access to account data should be restricted to only those who need to know, even internally in an organization. While it can be tempting to allow anyone access if they ask or sometimes by default, this is extremely risky, instead you should look to define a formal access control policy, limiting access by default, and establish identification and authentication methods to gain any access. This includes not just digital access but also physical access, for example in the case of card cloning machines attached to payment terminals in a retail store.
  5. Regularly monitor and test networks – After you adopt your network security policy it is important to review and monitor the network. You should conduct regular monitoring activities, with a clear audit log of any payment events. This log should be protected, and regularly reviewed to identify any suspicious activity. Testing should be done regularly, however this doesn’t need to be from an internal process, you can utilize third party tests such as an external penetration test.
  6. Maintain an information security policy – Finally you should always have in place both security controls and the documentation around them. Policies allow you to manage your full environment, ensuring constant compliance with PCI DSS, and that your security is a top priority. By formally identifying, managing, documenting and validating these policies in an attack scenario it becomes easier to react appropriately, to not panic, and to fully understand an incident.

While PCI-DSS outlines six areas of security, each area is complex and challenging to manage. Organizations must remain compliant, and any third parties they engage with must also comply.

A crucial initial step toward PCI DSS compliance is documenting existing processes, policies, and procedures. This facilitates identifying weaknesses, understanding standards, and enhancing overall security control. Once documentation is compiled, organizations can address each area, often with the assistance of third parties.

Traceable offers assistance in meeting PCI DSS 4.0 standards with its continuous API security platform.

  • API Discovery and Posture Management – Ensures you have full visibility into your APIs – both internal and third party APIs, including highlighting which endpoints handle sensitive data, e.g. PCI DSS account data. This visibility is key to understanding and maintaining your network security, and protecting account data
  • Attack Detection and Threat Hunting – As the traceable platform is connected to your APIs we fill our data lake, you can then explore activity on your API, monitoring every connection, you can discover new threats, seeing a full audit log of their activity both before and after an attack. Enabling you to easily meet the requirement to monitor and test networks.
  • Attack Protection – With our context-driven analysis, we can help understand the complexities of your APIs. Traceable automatically detects, blocks and alerts you to known and unknown API attacks, including business logic abuse, sensitive data exfiltration and access control issues, allowing you to rest assured that your API access control policies are being enforced, and enable you to start remediation as early as possible.
  • API Security Testing – Our API security testing enables you to regularly test your payment APIs, helping you to maintain your vulnerability management program, highlighting API vulnerabilities.

Excited to dive into PCI-DSS 4.0 updates and explore practical strategies for stronger data security? Join me, along with Richard Bird, in our upcoming webinar, ‘PCI-DSS 4.0 Explained: A Practical Guide to the Latest Standards.‘ Let’s unpack the changes together, share insights, and equip ourselves with actionable steps to safeguard against cyber threats.

Reserve your spot today and let’s embark on this journey towards enhanced security together.

PCI-DSS 4.0 Explained: A Practical Guide to the Latest Standards

PCI-DSS 4.0 Explained: A Practical Guide to the Latest Standards


About Traceable

Traceable is the industry’s leading API Security company helping organizations achieve API visibility and attack protection in a cloud-first, API-driven world. Traceable is the only intelligent and context-aware solution that powers complete API security – API discovery and posture management, API security testing, attack detection and threat hunting, and attack protection anywhere your APIs live. Traceable enables organizations to minimize risk and maximize the value that APIs bring their customers. To learn more about how API security can help your business, book a demo with a security expert.