tssci security

More on Ambiguous Security Standards

When I finished reading through PCI DSS v1.1 the other night (for like the fifth time), several requirements continue to jump out at me. To understand the PCI requirements, we first need to understand what is subject to PCI.

From the standard, PCI DSS requirements are applicable if a Primary Account Number (PAN) is stored, processed or transmitted. If a PAN is not stored, processed or transmitted, PCI DSS requirements do not apply.

A couple weeks ago, Mark Curphey blogged about Ambiguous Security Standards; standards that make "catch all statements." In the comments, Clint Garrison points out the updated standard (v1.1) specifies:

1.1.6 Justification and documentation for any available protocols besides hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), and secure sockets layer (SSL), secure shell (SSH), and virtual private network (VPN) 1.1.7 Justification and documentation for any risky protocols allowed (for example, file transfer protocol (FTP), which includes reason for use of protocol and security features implemented

Next up, what CardSystems Solutions failed to do,

3.2 Do not store sensitive authentication data subsequent to authorization (even if encrypted)

This requirement only applies to authentication data, not cardholder data. Sensitive authentication data includes the full magnetic stripe, CVC2/CVV2/CID, and PIN/PIN Block.

During transmission, sensitive cardholder data must be protected using encrypted tunnels. This is covered under:

4.1 Use strong cryptography and security protocols such as secure sockets layer (SSL) / transport layer security (TLS) and Internet protocol security (IPSEC) to safeguard sensitive cardholder data during transmission over open, public networks. Examples of open, public networks that are in scope of the PCI DSS are the Internet, WiFi (IEEE 802.11x), global system for mobile communications (GSM), and general packet radio service (GPRS).

So what about internal networks that have direct access to cardholder data? Does the data no longer have to be encrypted?

This requirement is laughable to me:

5.1 Deploy anti-virus software on all systems commonly affected by viruses (particularly personal computers and servers) Note: Systems commonly affected by viruses typically do not include UNIX-based operating systems or mainframes.

So, basically what this is saying is install A/V on Windows workstations and servers... What about Linux and Mac?? Oh wait, they don't get viruses.

Then there's this requirement:

6.6 Ensure that all web-facing applications are protected against known attacks by applying either of the following methods:

Note: This method is considered a best practice until June 30, 2008, after which it becomes a requirement.

So which method is it? One or the other or both? Installing a WAF lets you skimp on code review? What about maintaining the WAF after installation? This requirement should be reviewed and changed to specify what is required and like Requirement 1.1.6/7, should have an extra clause.

Many companies have been adopting two-factor authentication for remote access as a company-wide policy. Under the PCI,

8.3 Implement two-factor authentication for remote access to the network by employees, administrators, and third parties. Use technologies such as remote authentication and dial-in service (RADIUS) or terminal access controller access control system (TACACS) with tokens; or VPN (based on SSL/TLS or IPSEC) with individual certificates.

For which employees is this required, since PCI DSS only applies to the cardholder data environment and its system components?

8.5.12 Do not allow an individual to submit a new password that is the same as any of the last four passwords he or she has used.

I would like to add to this requirement the need for non-repudiation when an individual submits a request for a new password. Anybody can ask for a password reset using most common "password reset forms." If you know the username and email address you can reset anyone's password. Not enough in my opinion.

I wish more organizations implemented Role-based access control. No one should be running as Administrator or root user on their local machine. This PCI requirement states:

10.1 Establish a process for linking all access to system components (especially access done with administrative privileges such as root) to each individual user.

Group and system accounts are the worst because there is little to no ability to do this. Keep these accounts with as few users as possible and designate someone to be responsible for its security and maintenance.

I hate hearing the words "We don't scan against production." Frankly, I don't care to either. There's just something annoying about, "If you bring down production with your tests, you're dead meat/fired/a goner." Well, if your production environment was built properly, you shouldn't have this problem. People who say this are likely responsible for the most delicate, insecure network or system around. Seriously.

Under the PCI DSS, it's required you:

11.2 Run internal and external network vulnerability scans at least quarterly and after any significant change in the network (such as new system component installations, changes in network topology, firewall rule modifications, product upgrades).

Note: Quarterly external vulnerability scans must be performed by a scan vendor qualified by the payment card industry. Scans conducted after network changes may be performed by the company's internal staff.

11.3 Perform penetration testing at least once a year and after any significant infrastructure or application upgrade or modification (such as an operating system upgrade, a sub-network added to the environment, or a web server added to the environment). These penetration tests must include the following:

I think it's great companies are using tools and processes for increasing security during development and staging phases. But if you're not testing your production network, your efforts are for granted. Your adversaries are not attacking your development and staging environments, they're attacking your production systems.

This last requirement I have some trouble understanding, since it's under Requirement 12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security.

12.3.10 When accessing cardholder data remotely via modem, prohibition of storage of cardholder data onto local hard drives, floppy disks, or other external media. Prohibition of cut-and-paste and print functions during remote access.

So.. do you do this technically or make it policy? and how do you enforce that?

Posted by Marcin on Sunday, September 16, 2007 in Security.

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