February 26, 2014, Andrew Barratt, Managing Director, Europe
With the spate of cyber attackers on US retailers recently, Coalfire’s European Managing Director, Andrew Barratt considers how the attacks on retailers differ outside the US and what the potential impact of similar attacks is in a world where chip and pin technology is more widely deployed.
Working in both the US and Europe gives us a good perspective on the payment security landscape. The US has a much higher rate of credit card usage than most European countries; loyalty schemes and reward incentives are much more mature and embedded in American consumer culture. In Europe, card usage is increasing but the type of card varies by country: in the UK, credit card use is moving in a similar direction as the US and includes a high rate of debit card usage - cards are now quickly replacing cash. The UK now even has a variety of innovative mobile technologies trying to disrupt the card market. On the other hand, Germany is different story. Credit card usage is very low (consumer culture is quite averse to borrowing) and the debit scheme is a closed system. However both of Europe’s large economies moved away from using the magnetic stripe years ago.
EMV – or chip and pin as it is more commonly referred to in the UK - has been in heavy use since 2006, which has helped lower the impact of brick and mortar retail breaches significantly. EMV technology doesn’t rely on sending the full track information to the payment processor meaning that the data is easier to secure.
With retailers adopting more of the security controls detailed in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the widespread adoption of chip and pin for authenticating customers, huge losses from face to face retailers are less common.
Large US retailers are being targeted for smash and grab style payment card data breaches because the data is easier to use fraudulently. If a cyber-attack steals a lot of magnetic stripe data, this can be used to clone cards, which can then be used in stores to make fraudulent purchases.
When transactions are authenticated using EMV’s chip and pin verification method, less data is transmitted to the processor. If this data is stolen it is considerably harder to be used fraudulently (not impossible but much harder.) EMV is not without its flaws and a number of attacks have been demonstrated by Professor Ross Anderson’s research team at Cambridge University. These typically attack the card reader and try to grab the pin as it is sent to the smart card on the chip for verification.
For US retailers, minimizing exfiltration possibilities should be a high priority. Lock down and monitor the outbound connections!
The fraud bubble has squeezed attackers’ focus on e-commerce operations in the UK, service providers and other businesses that handle lots of cardholders not present transactions. As the cost of implementing attacks against the smart card declines, Europe serves to be a good learning ground for the US. If the US adopts a future EMV model adoption can be considered with lessons learned overseas for more consumer protection.
Andrew Barratt — Managing Director, Europe
Coalfire started in 2001 with a simple idea – cyber threats are increasing, compliance mandates are getting more complicated, and a well-designed cybersecurity program can help fuel your overall success.
Coalfire helps organizations comply with global financial, government, industry and healthcare mandates while helping build the IT infrastructure and security systems that will protect their business from security breaches and data theft. The company is a leading provider of IT advisory services for security in retail, payments, healthcare, financial services, higher education, hospitality, government and utilities.
The Coalfire Board of Directors provides invaluable guidance for the organization and reflects Coalfire’s dedication to achieving success for our customers.
Coalfire’s executive leadership team comprises some of the most knowledgeable professionals in cybersecurity, representing many decades of experience leading and developing teams to outperform in meeting the security challenges of commercial and government clients. With diverse backgrounds in IT systems security, governmental security, compliance, and reducing risk while implementing the latest enabling technologies (such as the Cloud and IoT), our leaders understand the challenges customers face.
With a passion for quality, Coalfire uses a process-driven quality approach to improve the customer experience and deliver unparalleled results.
Created in honor of the late co-founder of Coalfire, the Richard E. Dakin Fund at The Denver Foundation is supporting scholarship programs at several universities for promising college students studying cybersecurity and related fields.
Security is a team game. If your organization values both independence and security, perhaps we should become partners.
The increased need for cyber security has become a common enterprise priority across the globe. However, industry requirements for effective cyber risk management are as distinct as the individual entities under fire. Enterprises and government organizations need more than an off-the-shelf audit to provide an effective threat assessment. They need industry- and organization-specific insights, tools and processes to protect digital assets and ensure compliance.
Coalfire can help cloud service providers prioritize the cyber risks to the company, and find the right cyber risk management and compliance efforts that keeps customer data secure, and helps differentiate products.
“Success” at a government entity looks different than at a commercial organization. Create cybersecurity solutions to support your mission goals with a team that understands your unique requirements.
The financial services industry was built upon security and privacy. As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, a strong vault and a guard at the door won’t offer any protection against phishing, DDoS attacks and IT infrastructure breaches.
The continuum of care is a concept involving an integrated system of care that guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of care. Interoperability is the central idea to this care continuum making it possible to have the right information at the right time for the right people to make the right decisions.
Maintaining network and data security in any large organization is a major challenge for information systems departments. However, in the higher education environment, the protection of IT assets and sensitive information must be balanced with the need for ‘openness’ and academic freedom; making this a more difficult and complex task.
When it comes to cyber threats, the hospitality industry is not a friendly place. Hotels and resorts have proven to be a favorite target for cyber criminals who are looking for high transaction volume, large databases and low barriers to entry.
The payments industry is undergoing rapid changes and unfortunately, an increasing risk for data breaches. Cyber criminals are growing increasingly businesslike, and payments leaders need to move quickly to cover their cyber risk.
The food and beverage industry is under attack from cyber criminals intent on stealing payment information. The food and beverage industry makes up the highest percentage of breach investigations, at nearly 73 percent, according to Visa.
The global retail industry has become the top target for cyber terrorists, and the impact of this onslaught has been staggering to merchants. To secure the complex IT infrastructure of a retail environment, merchants must embrace enterprise-wide cyber risk management practices that reduces risk, minimizes costs and provides security to their customers and their bottom line.
Private enterprises serving government and state agencies need to be upheld to the same information management practices and standards as the organizations they serve. Coalfire has over 16 years of experience helping companies navigate increasing complex governance and risk standards for public institutions and their IT vendors.
Technology innovations are enabling new methods for corporations and governments to operate and driving changes in consumer behavior. The companies delivering these technology products are facilitating business transformation that provides new operating models, increased efficiency and engagement with consumers as businesses seek a competitive advantage.
Cybersecurity has entered the list of the top five concerns for U.S. electric utilities, and with good reason. According to the Department of Homeland Security, attacks on the utilities industry are rising "at an alarming rate."
Cyber risk management, advisory, technology and compliance services. Manage risk and maximize return on investment to prevent data breaches and theft. Coalfire’s solutions are led by a team of industry experts that help enterprise organizations understand a wide range of compliance and risk management initiatives, which enables a consistent cybersecurity framework across the organization.
Expert assessments that provide an accurate understanding of what you are trying to protect, the inherent and residual cyber risk to your enterprise and the maturity of the your security program and underlying controls
Customized services to help CISOs and Senior Management develop cybersecurity strategy, implement controls, and govern a security program
Adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity
Make more informed security-related decisions
Design, engineer, and scale with confidence
Certification and Accreditation (C&A) process for DoD
Get FedRAMP authorized with the leading 3PAO
Reducing Financial IT Security Risk
Meet your FISMA authorization needs
General Data Protection Regulation
Health data protection for all shapes and sizes
The most rigorous approach to meeting HIPAA requirements
An internationally recognized approach to information security
ITAR, EAR, and DFARS Advisory and Assessment
Cyber security for electric grid critical infrastructure
Protect Controlled Unclassified Information for Nonfederal
Payment Application Security Validation
PCI Data Security Standard Compliance
Establish and report controls to differentiate your organization
Demonstrate your commitment to cybersecurity
Malware and Vulnerability Research, Open Source Tools, and Opinions
Understand vulnerabilities and implement remediation before they’re exploited
Obtain, preserve, and examine digital evidence
Protect sensitive information systems with regular check ups
Secure the design, development, and deployment of your applications
Test your organization’s defense against a simulated real-world attack
Employ solutions for prevention and recovery
Secure physical and digital IoT solutions with advisory, assessment and technical testing for makers, operators and users to empower the way we live and work.
Control your Compliance
Easily identify IT vulnerabilities
Streamlining PCI Compliance