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Scope Of PCI PIN Compliance

Security and compliance stand as something that must be adhered to without failure in the payment Industry. Also, regulatory compliance is constantly evolving amidst sprouting security vulnerabilities and new-born attacks. Hence, understanding the complexity of security standards in the payment division is a vital requirement that enterprises should consider!

While Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) entirely focuses on card data handling and connected security procedures, the protection of PIN blocks is a matter to consider and resolve. Yes, we are talking about PCI PIN Security Standard – a stringent standard for PIN Transaction Security (PTS). The tech blog navigates through the considered scope of PCI PIN Security requirement in detail.

What is PCI PIN Security Standard?

PCI PIN Security points to a standard sketched by the PCI Council on payment security to secure PIN data. PCI PIN security intends to protect all POS devices and terminals, including attended and unattended terminal devices. These standards are not only pertinent to online transactions, but offline payment card transactions handled at ATMs and other POS terminals.

PCI PIN Security requirements

As mentioned earlier, PCI PIN Security abstracts a set of standards for secure handling of PIN data during online and offline transactions. PIN marks a sensitive and unique piece of data, and if compromised with other card information, it can lead to financial defeats and losses. Also, the current attack scenario can compromise outdated and insecure payment terminals, proving the necessity of the standard.

The Standard intend to deploy controls for threats against PIN on various scenarios with Point of Interaction (POI) Devices and Acquirer/Interchange Switch Operations, Non-Compliant Hardware, Lack of Equipment control, Spanning from Device Tampering, Improper Key Management Practices, Malware, PIN Logging, Visual Compromise, Weak PIN block controls, Weak Keys, or Usage of Test Keys etc.

The highest level of encryption is what the standard wants to bring in. For this purpose, payment HSMs should get used by financial enterprises. And that includes encryption and key management of critical PIN data. The requirement sticks to the following: –

  • The standards require using cryptographic keys and effective key management measures, ensuring safe storage, transmission and destroying the keys.
  • The standards also intend to have procedures for identifying and maintaining security issues or events connected to compromised keys.
  • Additionally, all these procedures, roles, and responsibilities should go documented, reviewed, and audited at the required timelines.

Scope of PCI PIN Compliance

So, the very next question that arises would be – “Do I need to comply with the PCI PIN security requirements?”

Generally, the companies that use devices that handle or accept PCI PINs will require adhering to the standard requirements. They can be entities that have installed ATMs, POS terminals and other payment devices. In addition, entities involved in key management services like encryption support or injection facilities will require compliance with the standard. Likewise, companies utilizing asymmetric cryptography through remote distribution & certificate authorities should also pay special attention.

Still, you might be holding the query ‘Will I require PCI PIN Compliance?’ So, we need to address this and provide detailed knowledge on whether your entity should adhere to the seven control objectives of PCI PIN Security. Running down, you can unfold how each category of entities sticks with PCI PIN Security Requirement. Also, with this, you could well analyze and comprehend the complete scope of PCI PIN Compliance.

  • ATM’s

Automated Teller Machine or ATMs points to electronic banking machine that enables users to conduct payment transactions. ATMs read and process cardholder PINs for security. It uses the concept of PIN translation in systems with a point-to-point encryption. The ATM interface in the acquiring switch uses HSM (Hardware Security Module) to encrypt the PIN. And the use of HSM in ATMs insists on the need for PCI PIN compliance for ATM developers.

  • Point of Sale Terminals 

Everyone might have seen and used devices that accept card payments, especially in the retail industry. Any entity connected to the making of the POS devices gets included in the ‘PIN acquirer payment processors’ list. And hence, they would definitely require complete adherence to PCI PIN Security Standard. Many recognized banks and financial firms use these devices for their payment functions. Therefore, if your company falls under the particular scope, you will require full compliance with the standard.

  • Certification & Registration Authority Operations

There exists a pre-operational phase for the encryption key life cycle. Here valid user registration allows the registration authorities to generate an authentication code, PIN, or password. These service providers connected to public-key infrastructure, digital tokens, authentication, and messages should also comply with PCI PIN standards.

  • Remote Key Distribution Operations

We have talked only about the hardware processing companies that utilize cardholder PINs. There are other key distribution actions, and they are carried out in the backend by different entities. They use public-key cryptography to load keys from a remote end. They perform several operations with key usage constraints for cryptographic architectures like encrypting keys, data, authenticating messages etc. In fact, if your entity is connected to ATM remote key loading actions using asymmetric encryptions, you fall under the needy list of standard compliance.

  • Key Management Facilities

The injection of keys is another vital thing to consider in the functioning of card processing terminals. Different payment brands perform the action. The method implicates injecting data encryption keys into point-of-sale devices with solid security measures and operating procedures. If your entity sticks to providing injection facilities for any payment card handling terminals, you must adhere to the standard requirements.

  • Other Entities

PCI scope has not yet converged and is always open considering the changes in the payment card industry. The industry is ever evolving, and there is a change happening in the next second. Hence, PCI has kept the scope open, covering any entity that handles, stores or processes cardholder PIN and data. It typically means that any third-party relationships with a PIN processing or handling entity would take you to the needy compliance list. Indeed, they must also adhere to the security requirements of the particular standard.

Why do you require PCI PIN compliance?

A personal Identification Number or PIN marks a significant element for authenticating a user transaction. Any security hole at the transaction end might end up in the loss of critical or sensitive information regarding the user. Also, the POS agents will get impacted by non-conformities of the standard requirements. It can also turn worst for enterprises as they lose their credibility in conducting secure business. Such non-conformities can drive hefty penalties on the flip side.

Enabling PIN security controls could help eliminate challenges like lack of equipment controls, tampering devices, fragile key-management practices, insecure hardware, ATM & POI malware, weak PIN block controls, test keys and PIN logging. Therefore, payment brands need PIN agents to perform on-site compliance validation with the aid of a Qualified Pin Accessor (QPA) or simply a PCI PIN Assessor. Enterprises falling in the scope must also conduct a periodic or routine review of their compliance sticking with the latest standard requirements. Furthermore, any devices that face a shortfall in security need to go urgently patched against the standard.

Final Thoughts

So far, we have illustrated how PCI PIN Security scopes and how organizations fall into the requirement in detail. Organizations should understand that securing compliance is not a one-time activity but rather a continuous cycle of practices. Re-certification is essential every 24 months, but all standards, policies and procedures require documenting and furnishing throughout the year. With a clear picture of the aftermaths of non-compliance, enterprises can now turn their time for effective compliance against the standard requirements. Try out partnering an expert PCI QPA for your valuable attestation.

We can help you optimize cyber security. ValueMentor, with a full-fledged PCI PIN Compliance team, is ever ready to handhold you with a holistic and proactive security approach. Have a concealed security ring around your business, helping you alleviate risks, enhance security and meet compliance with various regulations. Get your customized consultation and security advice.

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