Australia: Payment Card Industry Forensic Investigator (PFI) Companies and their role

Engaging a Payment Card Industry Forensic Investigator (PFI) is crucial when a payment card security breach is identified or suspected. PFIs play a vital role in investigating, containing, and remediating security breaches to protect businesses and their customers.

A PFI should be engaged when a payment card security breach or compromise has been identified or suspected. This can occur through various means such as receiving notifications from payment brands or other organizations or detecting signs of a breach internally. Businesses should act quickly to engage a PFI as soon as a breach is suspected to limit the damage and prevent further data loss.

Roles and Functions of a PFI:

PFIs are independent forensic investigation companies certified by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to perform forensic investigations related to payment card security breaches. The primary role of a PFI is to:

  1. Investigate: PFIs conduct a thorough investigation into the cause and extent of the security breach, identifying how the compromise occurred and what data was affected.
  2. Contain: PFIs work to contain the breach, preventing further data loss and helping businesses to secure their systems.
  3. Remediate: PFIs provide guidance on remediation efforts, helping businesses to address vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with PCI DSS requirements.
  4. Report: PFIs prepare a final report outlining the findings of the investigation, which is submitted to the affected payment brands and the merchant's acquiring bank.

How PFI Operate:

PFIs follow a systematic process during their investigation:

  1. Engagement and scoping: The PFI and the affected business define the scope of the investigation and sign an engagement agreement.
  2. Data collection: The PFI collects relevant data, such as log files, system images, and network traffic, to analyze and identify the root cause of the breach.
  3. Analysis: The PFI analyzes the collected data to determine how the breach occurred, what systems were affected, and what data was compromised.
  4. Remediation: Based on the findings, the PFI provides recommendations on how to address the vulnerabilities and prevent future breaches.
  5. Reporting: The PFI prepares a final report for the payment brands and the merchant's acquiring bank, detailing the investigation's findings and remediation steps taken.

PFI Companies with Offices in Australia:

  1. Stratica
  2. Kroll
  3. Trustwave
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