PCI DSS Compliance

Organizations are required to protect the credit card data of their customers in order to comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) mandates. The fallout from a data-security breach can be very disruptive and possibly even devastating. The loss of data irreparably damages consumer’s trust in the brand and adversely impacts stakeholders. At the same time, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is continuously evolving, making compliance a challenge. Most small businesses don't have the expertise required to implement the necessary security measures in order to achieve compliance. However, the consequences of non-compliance are becoming increasingly costly. The fallout from a data breach can far outweigh the immediate costs of fixing the problems that allowed the breach to happen. If cardholder data were disclosed, the organization has to notify the people affected, resulting in additional financial losses and even legal exposure.

According to the Verizon Business RISK Team 2009 Data Breach Investigation Report, "organizations struggled most with requirements 10 (track and monitor access), 11 (regularly test systems and processes), and 3 (protect stored cardholder data)". Packet General offers its solutions as ready-to-deploy secure appliances that enable compliance with the following PCI DSS mandates:



PCI DSS Requirement

Packet General


Implement only one primary function per server.


Disable all unnecessary and insecure services and protocols (services and protocols not directly needed to perform the device’s specified function).


Configure system security parameters to prevent misuse.


Remove all unnecessary functionality, such as scripts, drivers, features, subsystems, file systems, and unnecessary web servers.


Encrypt all non-console administrative access. Use technologies such as SSH, VPN, or SSL/TLS for web-based management and other non-console administrative access.


Render PAN, at minimum, unreadable anywhere it is stored (including on portable digital media, backup media, in logs) by using any of the following approaches:

§ One-way hashes based on strong cryptography

  • Truncation

  • § Index tokens and pads (pads must be securely stored)

  • § Strong cryptography with associated key-management processes and procedures

  • §The MINIMUM account information that must be rendered unreadable is the PAN.


If disk encryption is used (rather than file- or column-level database encryption), logical access must be managed independently of native operating system access control mechanisms (for example, by not using local user account databases). Decryption keys must not be tied to user accounts.



Verify that cryptographic keys are stored securely (for example, stored on removable media that is adequately protected with strong access controls).



Verify that cardholder data on removable media is encrypted wherever stored.



Protect cryptographic keys used for encryption of cardholder data against both disclosure and misuse:


Restrict access to cryptographic keys to the fewest number of custodians necessary.


Store cryptographic keys securely in the fewest possible locations and forms.


Generation of strong cryptographic keys


Secure cryptographic key distribution


Secure cryptographic key storage


Periodic cryptographic key changes - As deemed necessary and recommended by the associated application (for example, re-keying); preferably automatically - At least annually


Retirement or replacement of old or suspected compromised cryptographic keys


Split knowledge and establishment of dual control of cryptographic keys.


Prevention of unauthorized substitution of cryptographic keys


Use strong cryptography and security protocols such as SSL/TLS or IPSEC to safeguard sensitive cardholder data during transmission over open, public networks.


Ensure that all system components and software have the latest vendor-supplied security patches installed. Install critical security patches within one month of release.

√ [2]


Establish a process to identify newly discovered security vulnerabilities (for example, subscribe to alert services freely available on the Internet). Update configuration standards as required by PCI DSS Requirement 2.2 to address new vulnerability issues.

√ [2]


Verify that processes to identify new security vulnerabilities include using outside sources for security vulnerability information and updating the system configuration standards reviewed in Requirement 2.2 as new vulnerability issues are found.



Limit access to system components and cardholder data to only those individuals whose job requires such access. Access limitations must include the following:



Restriction of access rights to privileged user IDs to least privileges necessary to perform job responsibilities[3]

√ [3]


Assignment of privileges is based on individual personnel’s job classification and function

√ [3]


Ensure proper user authentication and password management for non-consumer users and administrators on all system components as follows:



Control addition, deletion, and modification of user IDs, credentials, and other identifier objects.


Immediately revoke access for any terminated users.


Enable accounts used by vendors for remote maintenance only during the time period needed.


Change user passwords at least every 90 days.


Require a minimum password length of at least seven characters.


Use passwords containing both numeric and alphabetic characters.


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.


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


Implement automated audit trails for all system components to reconstruct the following events:



All actions taken by any individual with root or administrative privileges


Invalid logical access attempts


Creation and deletion of system-level objects


Record at least the following audit trail entries for all system components for each event:



User identification


Type of event


Date and time


Success or failure indication


Origination of event


Identity or name of affected data, system component, or resource


Synchronize all critical system clocks and times.


Secure audit trails so they cannot be altered.


Limit viewing of audit trails to those with a job-related need.


Protect audit trail files from unauthorized modifications.


Use file-integrity monitoring or change-detection software on logs to ensure that existing log data cannot be changed without generating alerts (although new data being added should not cause an alert).


Retain audit trail history for at least one year, with a minimum of three months immediately available for analysis (for example, online, archived, or restorable from back-up).


[1]Logical access control is used even though disk encryption is not used.

[2]Packet General provides a security update service (comes bundled with the solution).

[3]Packet General solutions use RBAC

[4]Smart-cards are used for two factor authentication as well as for key management.

[5]In order to clarify the mandate, the language of this mandate has been substituted by the corresponding "test procedure" recommended by the PCI council.

Note #1: The red characters indicate a strong match between a built-in product feature and a PCI mandate.

Note #2: The broad headings "7.1", "8.5", "10.2", "10.3" are listed without check marks, because the sub-mandates of each heading are intended to address the directives accordingly.

MySQL Database

PCI-GENERAL™PCI-GENERAL™ is a secure MySQL database appliance that has been designed from ground up to enable compliance. The appliance transparently encrypts MySQL data, provides FIPS compliant key management and creates irrevocable logs for audit purposes. PCI-GENERAL™ has enabled several tier-1 merchants to achieve compliance with the PCI mandates.  


File Data

File-GENERAL™ transparently encrypts all file types before storing them. Access to highly sensitive files is granted by a duly authorized File-GENERAL™ administrator. Each file access is logged, time stamped and cryptographically signed. The logs are cryptographically signed and stored in an encrypted vault to provide non-repudiation. File-GENERAL™ has a proven track record of enabling organizations to become compliant.


Transfer File Data

Vault-GENERAL™ is a secure file vault that allows merchants to exchange cardholder data files in a secure and PCI compliant manner. Vault-GENERAL™ eliminates headaches that are associated with creating a homegrown file transfer server. Vault-GENERAL™ is a ready to deploy appliance specially designed to handle sensitive data and is also available as service.