Friday, June 13, 2008

PCI compliant but still hacked

The malware on the store servers stored up records of these purchases in batches, then transmitted them to an unnamed offshore Internet service provider, the letter states. Foreign crime rings have been blamed in a number of other payment card fraud cases.
Hannaford said in its letter that it was certified a year ago as meeting card security standards and was recertified on Feb. 27. Eleazer said that was the day Visa first notified Hannaford of unusual card activity and began its investigation. That the standards did not stop the thieves, she said, "speaks to the increasing sophistication of the criminal element that propagates these attacks," she said.
It looks to me like Hannaford made the mistake of allowing "multi-level access" in a "single level" network. Servers that handle payment card data must be prevented from access to an unauthorized network or end-point.

These servers and the processors they communicate with should have been in a "PCI trust zone." All other systems would have been in an "untrusted zone." Then it would be a simple matter for IDP/NAC appliance to detect and prevent this type of breach.