The Hannaford Breach and PCI Compliance

More on this yet to come, but the Hannaford breach may be the perfect illustration of where false reliance on "PCI Certification" could get a company in big trouble. See my previous post on the Legal Implications of PCI here.More to come, but long story short, the company's chief executive said the data "was illegally accessed from our computer systems during transmission of card authorization." This means the data was likely not encrypted in transit. In this case the ambiguity appears to be in section 4.1 of the PCI Standard, which requires "Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks" and also states "Sensitive information must be encrypted during transmission over networks that are easy and common for a hacker to intercept, modify, and divert data while in transit" Section 4.1. provides examples where encryption is required, including, the Internet, WiFI, global systems for mobile communications and GPRS. So the question is, does the encryption requirement include open "internal" networks of a merchant that may be "easy and common" for a hacker to intercept. Or did Hannaford get a rubber stamp of approval without actually complying with 4.1. or only partially complying with 4.1? If all of the supposition is true, it appears that Hannaford (or its Qualified Security Assessor) interpreted 4.1 to mean that only transmission across "public" networks like the Internet required encryption of data before transmission.. and perhaps not its internal networks that may have been vulnerable... More details here, here and here.