PCI Penetration TestingAs part of the mandated PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), regular assessment of systems and processes must be carried out to maintain the protection of cardholder data. Any business that handles card data has specific responsibilities to ensure the safety of any information they hold. Both internal and external penetration testing must be done at least once a year. Further testing is also required if any significant changes are made to the infrastructure.
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What is PCI Pen Testing?A penetration test uses various methods to test your business systems for vulnerabilities. PCI penetration testing or pen testing helps identify and fix any possible issues across the network and business infrastructure. Primarily, you use experts to identify potential problems by attempting a cyber attack. It is a way of resolving issues before someone else finds them and causes a data breach. External and internal testing covers the network from all angles so that you know your business data is as secure as possible. A pen test has to be performed on the complete cardholder data environment (CDE). The tests include all systems that may have a security impact on the CDE. Conducting this type of testing gives you valuable insight into the business systems and allows for improvements and security patches to be implemented to fix identified problems.
Which systems require PCI Pen Testing?PCI pen testing on the cardholder data environment will have to cover every system involved in the process. It also includes anything that has a potential impact on the data, even if it is not directly involved in the payment process. Pen testing can also cover other parts of the infrastructure, such as application systems and web application systems. In the case of data breaches, prevention is always the best way forward. By being proactive with penetration testing, you are taking the best steps to protect corporate data and customer card information.
Penetration testing processExperts will use penetration tools and processes to try and identify and exploit any weaknesses in the infrastructure of systems. The stages of pen testing are:
- Planning - Test parameters are defined, and systems intelligence is collected.
- Scanning - Tools scan systems to evaluate the responses to potential threats.
- Access - Staged attacks to gain access and identify system vulnerabilities. At this point, tests are also conducted to see if maintained access to systems is possible.
- Analysis - After the test completion, a full analysis of the results is compiled into a comprehensive report.