PCI Free Blog

What Do I Do After My Data Security Has Been Breached?

The title of this blog is a question that I hope you never need the answer to, but the fact is, breaches are occurring.  Chances are someone out there in the blogosphere has been breached or will be breached at some time.  In the event your computer network is breached and sensitive stored data hacked and stolen, there are some specific procedures to follow.  Whether the breach is confirmed or only suspected action must take place quickly to be sure of compliance with the PCI DSS or payment card industry data security standard as well as the PA DSS or payment application (software) data security standard and PCI PIN or payment card industry personal identification number security.  Visa Inc outlines the following procedure to adhere to after a suspected or confirmed data breach.

The first step is to attempt to immediately contain and limit further exposure to minimize further data loss.  Conduct a thorough investigation to assess the breadth and scope of the breach and determine what specific data has been compromised.  At the same time the integrity of the evidence left behind that may provide clues to catching the culprit or preventing future breaches must be preserved.  Don’t access or log on to the compromised system or systems or change any passwords.  Visa “highly recommends [the] compromised system not be used to avoid losing critical volatile data.” Instead of turning off compromised systems, remove and isolate them from the network by disconnecting their network cable.  Maintain any activity logs or other evidence and document all actions taken post-breach.  If your network is wireless you should change the SSID or service set identifier on your WAP or wireless access point and any other systems that may be using this connection.  Put everyone on high alert and monitor all traffic containing credit card information. 

Tune in next week for more procedural steps on what to do following a suspected or confirmed data breach.  Remember that PCI compliance protects you at the same time that being PCI compliant protects the integrity of the whole electronic payments network.  See our homepage to learn how you can obtain this valuable protection absolutely free.

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