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

Rex Booth rex.booth at owasp.org
Mon Mar 2 15:59:20 EST 2009

Like Mark said, I don't think absolute assurance is the point of PCI or 
any other control framework.  Although there's clearly room for 
improvement (and as Eoin says, that starts primarily with developers), 
PCI takes some substantial steps in the right direction:

*5.2 Develop all web payment applications (internal and external, and 
including web administrative access to product) based on secure coding 
guidelines such as the Open Web Application Security Project Guide. 
Cover prevention of common coding vulnerabilities in software 
development processes, to include: PCI Data Security Standard 
Requirement 6.5*

I don't think a public, unsolicited attack on PCI is the route OWASP 
should take.  They're a big ally of ours right now and their reference 
to us grants us a lot of legitimacy in the eyes of many C-level folks.  
The last thing we want to do at this point is potentially alienate 
them.  If we want to work with them, I suggest reaching out privately.

McGovern, James F (HTSC, IT) wrote:
> 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.
> -Mark
> 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 
>> certification.........
>> Sure let them get certified, and hacked this is the cycle of life....
>> but its cool man, "get certified, go to the next level" :)
>> -ek
>> 2009/2/28 Daniel Cuthbert <daniel.cuthbert at owasp.org 
>> <mailto: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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>> -- 
>> Eoin Keary CISSP CISA
>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Ireland_AppSec_2009_Conference
>> OWASP Code Review Guide Lead Author
>> OWASP Ireland Chapter Lead
>> OWASP Global Committee Member (Industry)
>> Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
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> -- 
> Mark Bristow
> OWASP Global Conferences Committee member -
> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Global_Conferences_Committee
> AppSec US 09 Organizer -
> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_AppSec_US_2009_-_Washington_DC
> OWASP DC Chapter Co-Chair - http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Washington_DC
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