Technology Briefing Series
PCI Myths: Common Mistakes
and Misconceptions About PCI
M1 - PCI just doesn’t apply to us …
Myth: PCI just doesn’t apply to us,
• “… we are small, a University, don‟t do
e-commerce, outsource “everything”,
not permanent entity, etc”
Reality: PCI DSS DOES apply to you if you “accept,
capture, store, transmit or process credit and debit
card data”, no exceptions!
At some point, your acquirer will make it clear to you!
M2 - PCI is confusing
Myth: PCI is confusing and not specific!
• “We don‟t know what to do, who to ask,
what exactly to change”
• “Just give us a checklist and we will do
Reality: PCI DSS documents explain both what
to do and how to validate it; take some time
to read it.
Whether you get it now, you will need to do it
later. Otherwise, data and $ loss is yours!
M3 - PCI is too hard
Myth: PCI is too hard …
• “… too expensive, too complicated, too
burdensome, too much for a small
business, too many technologies or even
Reality: PCI DSS is basic, common sense, baseline security
practice; it is only hard if you were not doing it before.
It is no harder than running your business or IT – and you‟ve
been doing it!
M4 - Breaches prove PCI irrelevant
Myth: Recent breaches prove PCI irrelevant
• “We read that „media and pundits agree –
massive data losses “prove” PCI
Reality: Data breaches prove that basic PCI DSS security is
not enough, but you have to start from the basics.
PCI is actually easier to understand than other advanced
security and risk matters. Start there!
M5 – PCI is Easy: Just Say “YES”
Myth: PCI is easy: we just have to “say Yes”
on SAQ and “get scanned”
• “What do we need to do - get a scan and
answer some questions? Sure!‟”
• “PCI is about scanning and questionnaires”
Reality: Not exactly - you need to:
a) Get a scan – and then resolve the vulnerabilities found
b) Do the things that the questions refer to – and prove it
c) Keep doing a) and b) forever!
M6 – My tool is PCI compliant
Myth: My network, application, tool is PCI
• “The vendor said the tool is „PCI
• “My provider is compliant, thus I am too”
• “I use PA-DSS tools, thus I am PCI OK”
Reality: There is no such thing as “PCI compliant tool,
network”, PCI DSS compliance applies to organizations.
PCI DSS combines technical AND process, policy,
management issues; awareness and practices as well.
M7 – PCI Is Enough Security
Myth: PCI is all we need to do for
• “We are secure, we got PCI!”
• “We worked hard and we passed an
„audit‟; now we are secure!”
Reality: PCI is basic security, it is a necessary baseline,
but NOT necessarily enough.
PCI is also about cardholder data security, not the rest of
private data, not your intellectual property, not SSNs, etc.
It also covers confidentiality, and NOT integrity and
availability of data. There is more to security than PCI!
M8 – PCI DSS Is Toothless
Myth: Even if breached and also found
non-compliant, our business will not
• “We read that companies are breached
and then continue being profitable; so
why should we care?”
Reality: Possible fines + lawsuits + breach disclosure costs
+ investigation costs + CC rate increases + contractual
breaches + cost of more security measures + cost of credit
monitoring = will you risk ALL that?
Summary: Eight Common PCI Myths
1. PCI just doesn’t apply to us,
2. PCI is confusing and not specific!
3. PCI is too hard
4. Recent breaches prove PCI irrelevant
5. PCI is easy: we just have to “say Yes”
on SAQ and “get scanned”
6. My network, application, tool is PCI
7. PCI is all we need to do for security!
8. Even if breached and then found non-
compliant, our business will not
PCI Compliance for Dummies
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