I saw that Verizon reported that poor password management was the root cause of many 2011 data breaches. I'm assuming...
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact TechTarget at 275 Grove Street, Newton, MA.
this would mean many of these organizations would have been non-compliant with PCI DSS, HIPAA, and other mandates too. Can you outline the key password compliance best practices? What do the most widely applicable mandates require?
Ask the Expert!
Got a vexing compliance problem for Mike Chapple or any of our other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are anonymous.)
Generally speaking, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is the only major compliance mandate that specifies direct requirements for password security. These requirements are found in Requirement 8 of the PCI DSS. The general password security best practices found in this section include the following provisions:
- Shared, group or generic passwords and accounts are explicitly prohibited. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as it is a standard security best practice. Sharing passwords eliminates individual accountability and jeopardizes the security of protected systems.
- User passwords must be changed at least every 90 days. This is one of the trickiest password provisions of PCI DSS, as it is a major inconvenience to users. In most organizations not required to comply with PCI, password policies typically specify either annual or semiannual password changes. PCI DSS is much stricter.
- Passwords must be at least seven characters and contain a mixture of letters and numbers. This is another standard security practice that most organizations already follow. There’s no requirement here for the use of punctuation, upper/lowercase or special characters.
- Users may not reuse any of their last four passwords. This requirement essentially prevents a user from recycling a password more than once per year.
If you’re subject to PCI DSS, these practices should be old hat for you. Failing to comply with any of them will result in failing your PCI DSS audit. And, if you’re working toward compliance with a different standard that doesn't provide specific guidance, they’re also an excellent set of controls you can easily defend as industry standard best practices.
Dig Deeper on Password Management and Policy
Related Q&A from Mike Chapple
It's hard to tell if a company is a HIPAA business associate, but a closer look at HHS documents helps. Expert Mike Chapple discusses a specific case...continue reading
There was speculation in the security world over whether the FedRAMP certification would be helpful or not. Now that it's in full use, Mike Chapple ...continue reading
Medical device companies are part of the health industry, but does that make them a HIPAA covered entity or business associate? Expert Mike Chapple ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.