Visa Announces New Data Encryption Practices

Visa has announced new global best practices for data field encryption, also known as end-to-end encryption - a much-discussed solution in the wake of the Heartland Payment Systems breach.

Announced by the global credit card company on Monday, these best practices are designed to further the payment industry's efforts to develop a common, open standard while providing guidance to encryption vendors and early adopters. Data field encryption protects card information from the swipe to the acquirer processor with no need for the merchant to process or transmit card data in the "clear."

Visa's Jennifer Fischer, senior business leader in the card company's risk area, says encryption is not being touted as a silver bullet for anyone, "But we see it as a way to supplement and help, in many cases, augment existing security measures."

Data field encryption can be another layer to enhance a merchant's security by eliminating any clear text data either in storage or in flight.

In addition to issuing these encryption best practices, Visa is chair of the ANSI X9F6 standards working group and is helping to develop a much-needed industry data field encryption standard. Fischer notes that Visa is also working with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council in reviewing its recent study by PriceWaterhouseCooper on emerging technologies use in the payments industry. Encryption was cited as one of the top four emerging technologies being looked at within the payment stream to protect data.


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