Comparison Shows Very Little Shift in PCI Failures

An audit of PCI weaknesses shows that retailers are still struggling with the same issues.

When a PCI audit firm released its annual summary of PCI audit weaknesses, a comparison with the prior year showed retailers are still struggling with the same issues.

For 2007, the most frequently failed credit card security requirements are regular testing, secure applications, protecting data and enforcing unique user IDs, according to a Sept. 17 summary of the audits from Verisign, of Mountain View, Calif.

Whats more interesting, though, is how little that list has changed from the prior year. Regular testing in 2006 was No. 2 instead of No. 1, and protecting data was No. 1 instead of No. 3.

The only real priority movement was with securing applications. Last year, it showed up as ninth in a list of 10 top PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) audit failures. This year, it rose to the No. 2 slot.

The most significant change is that, across the board, the percentage of retailers failing any of the top 10 categories has sharply dropped. The top failed category last year saw 79 percent of those assessments failing, while the 10th most-failed item last year was missed by 45 percent of retailers. The top four items last year were all missed by more than 70 percent of those evaluated.

This year, in contrast, the worst-offending item was only missed by 48 percent of the retailers being evaluated, while the 10th most missed was only missed by 27 percent.

"Overall trends show improvement. While almost no one passes a first review, failure rates for each of the 12 requirements dropped from the 70 to 80 percent range to the 40 to 50 percent range," said Verisigns Branden Williams. "Still, given looming deadline, a 50-percent failure rate is bad for the industry."

Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at


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