Protecting your customers and business with PCI DSS ahead of Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is almost here, kicking off the holiday shopping season and raising online transactions to a yearly high. While the flurry of activity benefits most online businesses, it also entails heightened security challenges as cyber criminals attempt to exploit data handling and storage vulnerabilities brought on by this busy time of year.  

This post will give you a better idea of the main threats and how the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) can help alleviate your security concerns, maintain customer trust, and uphold your brand’s reputation.

5 security threats to be aware of this holiday season

With consumers spending a record $11.3 billion during Cyber Monday in the US last year, online business owners and firms like Deloitte predict that 2023’s spending will be even higher. But to enjoy the festive season to its full extent, it’s imperative to be aware of the risks.

Whether it’s the volume of transactions overwhelming your security systems or sophisticated attacks taking advantage of the spike in sales, existing threats are heightened on the busiest shopping day of the year. Here are five common examples of threats that you should be prepared for ahead of time:

1. Malware attacks

Malware is ever-prevalent, and the threats evolve all the time. With online credit card activity likely to be at a yearly high this Cyber Monday, criminals can cause considerable damage by deploying malware to steal customers’ personal details and financial data. At a minimum, you should ensure your anti-malware software is up to date.

2. Credit card skimming

Card skimming attacks, or ‘magecart attacks,’ occur when criminals steal credit card details and other information from checkout pages and payment forms on compromised websites. To protect against this, you should ensure that you take steps to reduce the risk of third parties injecting the offending code into your website.

3. Compromised third-party vendors

The threat from third parties doesn’t end at credit card skimming. Modern websites and apps usually have hundreds- even thousands- of third-party dependencies. Keeping close tabs on these vendors is crucial in order to maintain the security of the code on your own properties.

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4. Unauthorized access

Weak access controls, especially IDs and passwords for individuals with access to cardholder data, heighten the risk of serious data breaches, fraud, and theft. Putting strict rules and protocols in place helps prevent unauthorized access to your customer’s sensitive information.

5. Insecure network configurations

Unauthorized access is a greater risk if your business’s website or app’s network is not configured properly. Installing robust network configurations and firewalls will further help to protect cardholder data from unauthorized access.

These are just a handful of threats that are enhanced during Cyber Monday, and the steps you should take to ensure customers are safe should go far beyond this list. Luckily, the PCI DSS framework takes into account all these threats (and more) in order to protect against attacks all year round.

The role of PCI DSS in securing transactions this Cyber Monday

PCI DSS’s stringent measures, such as robust encryption protocols and secure access controls, become particularly vital in handling the heightened volume of transactions that occur on Cyber Monday. By adhering to PCI DSS during peak sales periods, you not only safeguard the integrity of card transactions but also demonstrate a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of security, even during challenging and high-demand scenarios.

How to tell if your business is PCI DSS compliant

You can determine whether your business is PCI DSS compliant by assessing your security setup against the framework’s 12 requirements, which are: 

  1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
  2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
  3. Protect stored cardholder data
  4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
  5. Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs
  6. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
  7. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
  8. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
  9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data
  10. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
  11. Regularly test security systems and processes
  12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security for all personnel

For a full list of the 6 goals and 12 requirements and more information on how to implement them into your business, check out our PCI DSS checklist

If you’re worried your business will fall behind on any of these, don’t worry, Thoropass can help!

Ensuring PCI DSS compliance with Thoropass

Thoropass enables you to build unwavering trust in your business’s PCI DSS compliance journey with a solution that blends automation and expertise. Using Thoropass to comply with the requirements significantly expedites the certification process while minimizing workload and stress.

Our end-to-end experience ensures a smooth path to compliance with templates, collaborative tools, and guided workflows, leading you to PCI DSS certification. 

With Thoropass, achieving and sustaining PCI DSS compliance is not just a checkbox—it’s a streamlined and efficient process that fortifies your business against security threats while ensuring a hassle-free certification journey. Find out more about PCI DSS with Thoropass.

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