PCI compliance requirement 5: Antivirus

Diana Kelley and Ed Moyle of Security Curve review PCI compliance requirement 5: "Use and regularly update antivirus software." To meet PCI compliance requirement 5, you must: Employ software that scans systems for malware. The compliance duo addresses common questions that they often see in their work as qualified security assessors, including, "What about UNIX, mainframes or HIPS?"

Watch the rest of the PCI compliance videos, as Diana and Ed review each requirement by itself.

Editor's note: This video is based on PCI DSS version 1.1. For updated information on the changes in PCI DSS version 1.2, see the following:

  • Version 1.2 of PCI DSS answers questions, raises others
  • PCI version 1.2 clarifications: How to get an early start on compliance audits

Read the full text transcript from this video below. Please note the full transcript is for reference only and may include limited inaccuracies. To suggest a transcript correction, contact [email protected].    

PCI compliance requirement 5: Antivirus

Ed Moyle: So, requirement five is a fairly easy one, this is “use anitvirus
software”. You probably already are. Most of the time we'll come in, we'll
see this. We'll evaluate to this, and most folks are already doing the
right thing from a technology perspective. They might need a little bit of
assistance getting to where they need to be from a documentation
perspective, but most of the time the technology for this is already in

We get a lot of questions about this though. People ask us,
"What about UNIX? What about mainframes? We have an old
Commodore 64 tucked away in the back office somewhere in a box
under the desk. Does that need to have antivirus software on
it?" The answer, obviously, is no. This requirement, it
even says in the requirement that it applies to systems that
commonly get viruses.

Diana Kelley: Windows.

Ed Moyle: Windows. It does. Point of sale systems, the same way, right? The point of
sale systems, if you have a phone based dialup, you require a
kind of a deal, one of the swiper boxes, or whatever, clearly
you don't have to use some kind of firmware or whatever that
does antivirus on that, because it's not going to get a virus.

Useful thing to point out though, if you’re using Windows as a
point of sale system for a point of sale, which a lot of folks
are, you have a point of sale application that's running on a
Windows desktop, you're going to want to use antivirus on that

Diana Kelley: Right, right, and also, although it may not be a just DSS requirements, if you do have a
lot of UNIX or using a lot of Macs inside your organization in
the payment system process, these operating systems can get
viruses. So you want to make sure that you're as protected as
possible. So, make your own assessments. Sometimes you may wish
to go beyond the standard.

Ed Moyle: One issue that comes up pretty frequently is spyware. The requirement
actually does specify that the package look for spyware. For some antivirus vendors, the spyware functionality costs extra. So make sure that the package that you use supports
looking for spyware and adware as well.

Diana Kelley: So your quick hits on antivirus are you want to get signatures
updated. Make sure that you've got it, along with spyware, on
every system that you find applicable. So you know you need
Windows, anything off of it you deem required, such as UNIX, and
then make sure that also you are looking in fact for the spyware
too and not just the antivirus.


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