PCI DSS 4.0: The Seven Changes You Need to Know Now 

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Worried about your PCI DSS 4.0 readiness? This post will go through both a basic PCI DSS 4.0 readiness checklist and an expert-touted accelerated track to compliance for companies looking for the easiest, and most cost-effective, path to compliance.  

Seven Crucial New Requirements in PCI DSS 4.0  

The seven most crucial PCI DSS 4.0 changes are outlined below. Checking your internal systems against these changes is going to be crucial to obtaining PCI DSS 4.0 compliance.  

 3.3.2 – Encryption of Sensitive Authentication Data (SAD): All SAD, including CVV, must be encrypted. 

While traditional encryption methods like AES-256 remain effective, exploring data tokenization as a more robust and future-proof solution is recommended. Tokenization replaces sensitive data with non-sensitive tokens, effectively severing the link between the original data and the token. This significantly reduces the attack surface and minimizes the impact of potential breaches. 

5.4.1 – Protection Against Phishing Attacks: Implement automated phishing protection mechanisms. 

It’s recommended to implement a multi-layered approach, including: 

  • Email filtering: Deploy advanced spam filters and phishing detection tools to identify and block suspicious emails before they reach users. 
  • Employee training: Train employees to recognize and report phishing attempts, including simulated phishing exercises to test and refine their awareness. 
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): Implement MFA for all critical systems and applications to add an extra layer of security beyond passwords. 

6.4.3 – Managing Payment Page Scripts: Maintain an inventory of all scripts on e-commerce payment pages. 

  • Automated script scanning tools: Utilize tools that automatically scan and identify all scripts on payment pages, including third-party scripts. 
  • Regular script reviews: Conduct periodic manual reviews of scripts to ensure they are legitimate and not introducing vulnerabilities. 
  • Limiting third-party scripts: Minimize the use of third-party scripts on payment pages, as they can increase the attack surface. 

8.3.6 – Password Length Requirement: Passwords for users and administrators must be a minimum of 12 characters. 

Increasing password length to a minimum of 12 characters is a welcome step. The following is also recommended: 

  • Enforcing strong password complexity: Implement password complexity requirements, including mandatory use of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters. 
  • Regular password resets: Require users to change passwords periodically, ideally every 30-60 days. 
  • Password managers: Encourage employees to use password managers to generate and store strong passwords securely. – Authenticated Internal Vulnerability Scans: Use authentication during internal vulnerability scans for accuracy. 

  • Utilizing tools with built-in authentication capabilities: Choose vulnerability scanning tools that can scan systems with appropriate credentials for a more comprehensive assessment. 
  • Implementing privilege escalation controls: Restrict access to privileged accounts to minimize the potential for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities discovered during scans. 

11.6.1 – Detect changes of HTTP headers & Payment Pages: Implement a mechanism to detect changes and report unauthorized modifications. 

  • Web application firewalls (WAFs): Deploy WAFs to monitor and block unauthorized changes to web applications, including payment pages. 
  • File integrity monitoring (FIM) tools: Use FIM tools to track changes to critical files associated with payment pages, including configuration files and scripts. 
  • Regular code reviews: Conduct regular code reviews of payment page applications to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. 

12.5.2 – Verification of PCI Scope every 12 months: Periodically verify PCI scope, including data flows, storage methods, encryption, and access controls. 

Periodically verifying your PCI scope, including data flows, storage methods, encryption, and access controls, ensures compliance remains accurate. The following is recommended: 

  • Documenting your PCI scope: Maintain a detailed document outlining your PCI scope, and update it regularly to reflect any changes to your environment. 
  • Conducting regular scope assessments: Perform internal or external scope assessments at least annually to identify any changes that may impact your compliance obligations. 
  • Seeking expert guidance: Consider involving experienced PCI consultants to assist with your scope verification and compliance efforts. 
Beyond the Seven 

It’s worth noting that there is a plethora of smaller changes in PCI DSS 4.0, too many to fully categorize here. However, the intent of the regulation remains the same. This blog has outlined the biggest changes your company may need to adjust for before your audit but be prepared for additional changes to be requested during your PCI audit. 

Its worth noting that there is a plethora of small changes in PCI DSS 4.0, however, the intent of the regulation remains the same.

You can familiarize yourself with the full standard and seek guidance from qualified security professionals like TokenEx and LFG Security Consulting to ensure comprehensive compliance. If you’d like more information on 4.0 changes and strategies, you can also find more information on the PCI Resource Center  

Is there an easier path to 4.0 compliance? 

Amidst the transition from PCI DSS 3.2.1 to 4.0, companies face heightened pressure to update internal systems for impending compliance audits. The approaching PCI DSS 4.0 deadline prompts many to seek efficient solutions, as the process can be burdensome. Some companies have successfully reduced audit scope by up to 90% by using third-party tokenization.  

Interested in what this accelerated path to compliance looks like? The process, and its potential benefits, are outlined below. 

How to Outsource your PCI Audit (and your 4.0 worries) 

Becoming PCI compliant is a costly, complicated, and time-consuming effort that ties up valuable resources. When a company uses third-party tokenization to offload their compliance, businesses can reduce the risk of data breaches and simplify compliance. 

If you're wondering if offloading your PCI audit is worth it, consider the cost savings, time savings, scope reduction, and data value utilization.

If you’re wondering if offloading your PCI audit is worth it, consider the following: 

  • Cost Savings: PCI compliance is a resource-intensive effort, but offloading PCI compliance can decrease the cost and complexity of assessments. 
  • Time Savings: Companies that offload their compliance can reduce their compliance process from months to weeks or days. 
  • Scope Reduction: When companies store cardholder data outside of their organization’s environment, it will significantly minimize audit length. Tokenization solutions can reduce the scope of PCI audits by up to 90%.  
  • Data Value Utilization: Pain-free PCI Compliance with tokenization allows data to be used for business purposes while preserving the original card number elements. 

Navigating the complexities of PCI DSS 4.0 can be daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone. LFG Security Consulting and TokenEx are here to guide you every step of the way. 

LFG’s proven expertise in security assessments, strategy development, and implementation, combined with cutting-edge tokenization solutions and PCI expertise from TokenEx, offers a powerful partnership for achieving and maintaining PCI DSS 4.0 compliance.  

Don’t let the pressure of PCI DSS 4.0 compliance weigh you down. Partner with LFG Security Consulting and TokenEx, and experience a smoother, more efficient journey towards a secure and compliant future.