The Coalfire Blog

Welcome to the Coalfire Blog, a resource covering the most important issues in IT security and compliance. You'll also find information on Coalfire's insights into the unique cybersecurity issues that impact the industries we serve, including Cloud Service Providers, RetailFinancial Services, Healthcare, Higher Education, Payments, Government, Restaurants, and Utilities.

The Coalfire blog is written by the company's leadership team and our highly-credentialed security assessment experts. We look forward to your comments, so please join the conversation.


  • PCI DSS 3.0 ROC Reporting Template Released

    February 11, 2014, Matt Getzelman, PCI Practice Director

    Heads up for our PCI customers: the PCI SSC released the “ROC Reporting Template for v3.0” this last weekend and it is available here. This document supports the PCI DSS 3.0 standard and must be used by all QSA organizations to create and submit a Report on Compliance (ROC).  What does this mean? 

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  • Target Hackers Broke in Via HVAC Company?

    February 06, 2014, Adam Shnider, VP, West Region, Professional Services

    When I first heard about the account used to gain access to the Target environment, my first reaction was to laugh at the ridiculousness of the HVAC vendor having an impact on the CDE like it seems to (or is rumored) to have had in the recent breach.  Then I started thinking with the PCI controls, including 8.5.6, requirements for revoking vendor access, how could an HVAC vendor account be the culprit for such a broad attack and how could this affect our customers.

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  • Are you ready for PA-DSS 3.0?

    January 20, 2014, Dan Fritsche, Principal, Retail and Financial Services

    There’s been a lot of chatter about PA-DSS 3.0 among several early-adopter application vendors. As of January 1, 2014 it’s permissible to validate against 3.0 in place of a 2.0 validation. Longevity of the 3.0 validation and the desire to be validated first on a new standard seem to be driving the move to 3.0. The expiration date of a 3.0 validation is October 28, 2019 vs. October 28, 2016 for a 2.0 validation.

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  • Detecting and Preventing Compromises in Retail Payment Systems

    January 14, 2014, Mike Weber, Vice President, Coalfire Labs

    Information Week’s Matthew Swartz published an article on the recently- confirmed payment card breaches at Target, Nieman Marcus and three other unnamed  retailers. This article and many others reveal that these attacks involve sophisticated malware and some even suggest it is the work of the same gang.  To be clear, Coalfire and the Coalfire Labs group that I lead are not involved in these investigations. But we do perform security audits and digital forensics investigations for many retailers. And based on that experience, we can confidently say this: all retailers are targets, and many retailers have already been compromised..

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  • Free and low-cost tools for PCI DSS Compliance

    December 12, 2013, Steven Weil, Senior Security Auditor

    Complying with the PCI DSS requires policies and processes plus implementing and managing a variety of software tools. As a QSA who has performed many PCI assessments for merchants and service providers, I’ve seen and assessed a variety of free and low-cost (under $200) software tools that help our customers comply with PCI DSS.

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