Australia lagging in data security compliance: PCI Security Standards Council

Lack of fines and public naming and shaming to blame for Australia's lag in adopting measures to protecti customers from credit card breaches.

A lack of financial penalties and a mandate to publicly admit data breaches may be clouding the real state of credit card payment and customer information security in Australia, according to a senior executive from the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council.

In Australia for the AusCERT conference this week, Bob Russo, general manager at the Security Standards Council, said the industry group had identified Australia as lagging behind in the adoption of its Data Security Standard (DSS) aimed at protecting customers and brand reputations from credit card breaches.

“Australia is one of the countries we have targeted this year to make sure there is awareness here, and better adoption in the area,” he said.

Russo said a major contributor to the lag in DSS adoption was the lack of local laws mandating that an organisation must publicly declare any breaches in the security of its customer records.

"One of the biggest differences between North America and here is that [North Americans] tend to publicise all the breaches we have," he said. "Consequently, there is a lot of awareness in North America, as opposed to Australia, where breaches are not well publicised at all,” he said.

Additionally, a lack of significant fines, levied by financial institutions on their merchants for any breach in the security of customer records, has resulted in there being no impetus for adopting the PCI security standard, Russo said.

“[Merchants] haven’t seen any fines yet, so there is really no ROI there for them when they go to management and say they have to spend money to comply with the [PCI standard],” he said. “As there doesn’t seem to be any reports on [security] compromises, then the ability to affect brand reputation isn’t there.”

However, Russo said it was likely that financial institutions would soon begin levying fines on merchants for non-compliance of the PCI standard.

“Consumers are getting smarter and if they find out their information has been breached by a merchant at some point there is a good possibility that they will not frequent that merchant,” he said. “Merchants should be looking at this as a grace period to get themselves prepared and compliant.”

Internationally, increasing numbers of financial, and related organisations -- such as network providers -- were realising the benefits of the PCI standard, Russo claimed.

When the PCI Council formed in September 2006 it had five core members -- American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa. , Russo says the organisation now has some 500 participating organisations.

“We have found in the US that no merchant who has been compliant has been breached, and if they have been breached they were not compliant at the time of the breach,” Russo said.

See also the Security Standards Council's Six steps towards PCI DSS compliance.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags data securitypci standard

More about American Express AustraliaCERT AustraliaetworkVisa

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Tim Lohman

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts