Securing online gambling: Navigating PCI compliance

In today’s business landscape, accepting credit cards is crucial for competitiveness. This is especially true in sectors like online gambling.

Increasing incidents of credit card fraud, identity theft and data breaches have pushed businesses to employ a secure environment for card transactions. Failure to protect this sensitive information can result in a loss of trust from customers towards both merchants and financial institutions.

As a bridge to ensuring this trust and security, adherence to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards becomes essential. Every credit card transaction processed by your business needs the protection these standards offer. For online gambling businesses, where transaction volume and frequency are notably high, this compliance is even more crucial.

However, irrespective of the size of your online gambling business, all businesses, from start-ups to large corporations, must comply. This ensures the security of your customers’ cardholder information and maintains your standing as a trustworthy organization in the online gambling space.

PCI compliance: An overview

PCI compliance is a set of security standards designed to protect card transactions against data theft and fraud. It is established by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). The standards are comprehensive, covering a wide range of security measures to ensure the safe handling of sensitive data.

Significant revisions and updates have been made to the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in its version 4.0, released in the first quarter of 2022.

In January 2022, a draft preview of the standard was provided to Participating Organizations, Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs) and Approved Scanning Vendors (ASVs). The council then released the final versions of the standard, which included validation documents and the initial phase of standard translations, for March 2022.

Notably, PCI DSS v3.2.1 will remain in effect until March 31, 2024. This transition period of two years allows organizations time to adapt and implement the new standards. After this period, PCI DSS v3.2.1 will be retired and v4.0 will become the exclusive active version of the standard.

PCI DSS 4.0 introduced a variety of updates since its inception. Key points among these updates are:

  1. Evolved terminology for network security: The standard has shifted its terminology from “firewalls” to “network security controls.” This change acknowledges a wider array of technological solutions that achieve the security outcomes traditionally associated with firewalls.
  2. Broadening of requirement 8: Requirement 8 now encompasses the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for any access to the cardholder data environment. This expansion signifies a stronger emphasis on authentication measures.
  3. Enhanced flexibility in compliance: The revised standard offers greater flexibility, allowing organizations to demonstrate compliance through various methods tailored to their specific security goals.
  4. Introduction of targeted risk analyses: Organizations are now granted the latitude to decide the frequency of certain security activities. This addition is designed to align security practices more closely with each entity’s unique business needs and risk profile.

PCI’s Web Application Firewall

Under PCI 4.0, the role of Web Application Firewalls (WAF) in securing online platforms is more pronounced. A WAF is a security system that monitors, filters and blocks potentially harmful traffic to and from a web application. It acts as a gatekeeper, ensuring that only safe traffic reaches the application, which is crucial for online gambling sites handling sensitive user data.

A WAF is particularly effective in protecting against common web attacks. These include SQL injection, cross-site scripting and other vulnerabilities that can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to data.

The PCI DSS outlines specific criteria regarding WAFs to bolster online security. One of those criteria is Requirement 6.4.2, which necessitates the deployment of an automated tool dedicated to continuously detecting and thwarting web-based attacks targeting web applications. This is a significant enhancement from the previous requirement that only called for periodic vulnerability scans of web applications.

Another critical aspect is Requirement 6.6, which stipulates that all web-facing applications must be shielded from known threats. This can be achieved through several methods. One option is to conduct a thorough analysis of all custom application codes for common vulnerabilities, undertaken either by the organization itself or by an external expert specializing in application security.

Alternatively, organizations can install an application-layer firewall as a frontline defence for their web-facing applications. The use of automated source code review tools, along with both automated and manual web vulnerability assessment tools, is also a viable approach.

When opting for a WAF, ensure that it is configured correctly to provide effective protection. However, it’s crucial to note that merely employing a WAF is not sufficient to fulfill the entire spectrum of PCI DSS’s web application security requirements. Comprehensive strategies encompassing multiple layers of security measures are necessary to fully adhere to these standards.

Plan with Continent 8 Technologies

Understanding and adhering to the intricate requirements of PCI compliance might seem daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

For businesses in the online gambling sector, it’s essential to evaluate your current security measures critically. Are your web-facing applications adequately protected against potential threats? If the answer is anything but a “yes,” you should start planning to get it done.

Planning ahead is vital to ensure that your business not only complies with PCI requirements but is also fortified against a broad spectrum of cyber threats. By taking proactive steps now, you can secure your operations and maintain the trust of your customers in this rapidly evolving digital landscape.

This is where C8 Secure steps in. We offer comprehensive Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) solutions tailored to the unique needs of online gambling enterprises. Our services are designed to provide robust security layers, encompassing everything from automated vulnerability assessments to advanced application-layer firewalls. By leveraging these solutions, you can safeguard your web applications against both known and emerging threats.

Our WAAP solutions represent a proactive approach to online security that aligns with the stringent standards set by the PCI and beyond.

To support operators ensure they are PCI compliant, Continent 8 is offering 3 months FREE WAAP services for the first 50 customers to sign up to a 15-month contract*.

Learn more here: Waap solution for PCI compliance


*T&Cs apply. Limited-time offer; subject to change. First 3 months free, when signing up to a 15 month contract.

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