[Owasp-leaders] PCI, more ego than brains...

McGovern, James F (HTSC, IT) James.McGovern at thehartford.com
Mon Mar 2 15:13:11 EST 2009

So, can we get a project started to recommend publicly how PCI can be
made better?


From: owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org
[mailto:owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org] On Behalf Of Mark Bristow
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 11:11 AM
To: owasp-leaders at lists.owasp.org
Subject: Re: [Owasp-leaders] PCI, more ego than brains...

I have a love hate relationship with PCI.

On the one hand (as has been pointed out already) compliance with PCI
DSS does not make one secure.  If the objective of PCI DSS was to secure
web applications I'm not sure that it succeeds.

On the other hand I don't suspect that PCI was meant necessarily to
secure web applications.  PCI is more about liability and risk.  Before
PCI if you were breached, there were a handful of semi-applicable laws
and regulations that may have been grounds for a lawsuit by the effected
parties, assuming they ever knew they were effected.  At least with PCI
if a processor is found to be non-compliant there is a direct liability
for that non-compliance and any additional lawsuits have additional
grounds for their case.  

As a security purist I would absolutely prefer that every application
out there was 100% secure but as a realist and consultant you have to be
more pragmatic.  A very small percentage of people out there will make
themselves secure for the sake of security.  There has to be a risk
analysis that shows it costs more (direct or indirect cost) to be
insecure then the cost of the security investment for action to be
taken.  To it's credit PCI adds to the breach costs causing that risk
decision to fall more often (but not always) on the side of security.

All that said, I'd love it if the standards were a bit more robust.  Due
to the position of the credit card companies they really have an
opportunity to effect real change in the industry.  If your breach
results in the loss of your card processing capability it really effects
the bottom line and therefore gets alot of attention.  It'd be nice if
they leveraged this position a bit more but I'll take what I can get.

 I'm sure at least one website out there mitigated at least one
vulnerability in an effort to be PCI compliant.  Small victory?
Absolutely at least it's a step in the right direction.


Eoin wrote: 

	Its all cool baby......
	I'm PCI compliant or so they say.... so I can hit the hackers
with my rolled-up cert when they come knocking on my web application.
	If the payment card industry did nothing (did not introduce PCI
DSS) we would be complaining about the same thing, web insecurity.
	PCI certification is not going to save us (them). The insecurity
is contained in the creation, application and deployment of the building
blocks of the web, PCI is never going to fix this or any other
	Sure let them get certified, and hacked this is the cycle of
	but its cool man, "get certified, go to the next level" :)

	2009/2/28 Daniel Cuthbert <daniel.cuthbert at owasp.org>

		When I see stuff like this, it really does ram home the
point of how little people actually get it.
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		OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org

	Eoin Keary CISSP CISA
	OWASP Code Review Guide Lead Author
	OWASP Ireland Chapter Lead
	OWASP Global Committee Member (Industry)
	Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

	OWASP-Leaders mailing list
	OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org

Mark Bristow

OWASP Global Conferences Committee member -
AppSec US 09 Organizer -
OWASP DC Chapter Co-Chair - http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Washington_DC
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