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PCI Secure Software Standard version 1.2 sets out new payment security requirements

Dec 13, 20223 mins

Changes include the Web Software Module to help payment software vendors and developers identify and implement security controls to protect against attacks.

A network of security components overlays a credit card payment made by laptop user.
Credit: Klingsup / Getty Images

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) has published version 1.2 of the PCI Secure Software Standard and its supporting program documentation. One of two standards that make up the PCI Software Security Framework (SSF), the PCI Secure Software Standard sets out requirements to help ensure that payment software is designed, developed, and maintained in a manner that protects transactions and data, minimizes vulnerabilities, and defends against attacks.

The latest version introduces minor changes to the standard relating to clarification/guidance and structure/formatting. It also introduces more significant changes regarding new or evolving content, chiefly the Web Software Module, a set of supplemental security requirements to address the most common security issues related to the use of internet-accessible payment technologies. Version 1.2 also adds a requirement that SSF company QA staff are either an SSF assessor or have completed SSF knowledge training. This comes ahead of the PCI DSS 4.0 regulation, which will come into full effect in March 2025.

Web Software Module helps app vendors, developers apply security controls

In a press release, Emma Sutcliffe, SVP standards officer, PCI SCC, stated that the PCI Secure Software Standard is designed to offer a more flexible approach to testing the security and integrity of payment software. “The Web Software Module was introduced to aid software vendors and developers in identifying and implementing appropriate software security controls to protect against common web software attacks,” she added.

The introduction of the Web Software Module marks the end of initial efforts to launch the Software Security Framework, stated Andrew Jamieson, VP solution standards, PCI SCC, with the next phase of development focusing on providing additional guidance, enhancing existing requirements, and addressing new and evolving payment technologies, threats, and attack techniques.

The four high-level requirement areas included in the Web Software Module are:

  • Documenting and tracking the use of open-source and third-party software components and APIs in payment software.
  • Controlling access to payment software web APIs and other critical assets.
  • Mitigating common web attacks.
  • Protecting communications between web-based payment software components.

PCI DSS 4.0 to introduce new credit card payment security rules

New credit card payment processing rules introduced by PCI DSS 4.0 will significantly tighten security rules for enterprises. Although they won’t come into full effect until 2025, any businesses that handle credit card data and payment processing will be required to implement enhanced levels of security. In November 2022, experts told CSO that enterprises shouldn’t put off their PCI DSS 4.0 compliance efforts until the last minute, with the new regulations representing notable changes. These include enhanced requirements related to compliance customization, email security deployment, multi-factor authentication, and continuous security processes.

UK Editor

Michael Hill is the UK editor of CSO Online. He has spent the past five-plus years covering various aspects of the cybersecurity industry, with particular interest in the ever-evolving role of the human-related elements of information security. A keen storyteller with a passion for the publishing process, he enjoys working creatively to produce media that has the biggest possible impact on the audience.

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