Major differences between PCI DSS 4.0 & 3.2.1 and exclusive changes in PCI DSS 4.0


PCI DSS or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is an organised data security panel that protects cardholders’ interests in all factors. It is a secure framework for protecting cardholder data, privacy, and credentials. It also sets robust barriers against fraud, discrepancies, and cyberattacks.

PCI DSS 4.0 is the exclusive version that brings many new conditions and features within its functioning. The PCI security standards council will release in its Quarter one of 2022. The ultimate aim of PCI DSS 4.0 is to add more compliance and flexible features to working PCI DSS.

Five solid changes integrated in PCI DSS 4.0 are mentioned here-

1. Organizations and businesses will have to alter, report and verify the PCI DSS domain of the in-scope environment or PCI DSS 12.5.2. They will require extra documentation for confirming the safety protocols.
2. There will be the setting of target risk assessment, especially for controls that utilize the customised strategy. The target risk analysis will occur every 12 months with full-fledged and authorized agreements approved by senior administration.
3. An annual risk examination for any controls will be set. It will have the flexibility for maintaining the regularity and credibility of controls.
4. There will be an arrangement of cipher suites and protocols supervision annually.
5. An annual survey will be adapted to remove conventional technologies and implement the exclusive ones.

Here is all about the other requirements of PCI DSS 4.0-

● Additional RFC

PCI DSS will integrate RFC in the payment community for checking and assessing documents. The PCI DSS committee will organise an RFC for safeguarding 4.0 with additional safety protocols. It will further consist of Report on Compliance (ROC) template, Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs), and Attestation of Compliance (AOC) validation documents.

● Enhanced authentication features

PCI DSS 4.0 will have an updated and multi-factor authentication system. It will secure the login portals by augmenting the passwords and their strengths. The authentication features will provide more security to PAN, cardholder’s IDs, service code, account number, CVV and expiration dates.

● Changes in Supporting materials

It will bring many supporting materials such as SAQs, ROCs, and AOCs for protecting the card company and holder’s integrity. These materials will form a rigid barrier against card breaches. They will protect against data infringement and security leaks. There will be moderations in training and strategies of 4.0.

● Making security a continuous Process

Security will be guaranteed in a continuous process PCI DSS 4.0. It brings a solid safety program for continuous compliance. It will set security frameworks at each level collaborating with dealers, service providers, payment companies, and users to make the payment chain agile and secure.

● Customized validation methods and procedures

Organizations can alter the validation methodologies for setting simple yet strong safety norms. There will be SAQ validation methods to mitigate and resolve risks. Earlier, there were options of only evaluating risks and setting short-term compensation controls. But with 4.0, users can document long-term customization in the payment protocol’s setting.

Five main differences between 3.2.1 and 4.0

PCI DSS released its 3.2.1 version in 2018, whereas the latest version of 4.0 is set to roll out in 2022. Although there are not many differences between 3.2.1 and 4.0, let’s look at a few basic ones.

● PCI DSS 3.2.1 does not meet the IT area needs, but the 4.0 version is well-versed in securing cloud and related IT infrastructure.
● 4.0 update is more suitable for dealing with serverless data, whereas 3.2.1 is incompatible.
● PCI DSS 3.2.1 has only primary controls for protecting payment gateways, but 4.0 brings advanced settings in reinforcing payment outlets.
● 3.2.1 comes with only basic encryption standards, whereas 4.0 has high multi-factor authentication features.
● 3.2.1 acquires basic compensation controls in regulating Qualified Security Auditors or QSA. The 4.0 version has a customised implementation approach in designing and setting security controls of entities.


PCI DSS is a critical security network for adding credibility and a techno-savvy approach to payment cards. PCI DSS 4.0 will be a trendsetter in the PCI DSS area as it will bring a more innovative and safe approach for cardholders. It will strengthen the security in the payment industry, granting rigid protocol against phishing, cybercrime and digital theft. PCI DSS 4.0 will expand the validation methodologies granting a safe payment experience in the offline and the online mode to the cardholders. It is going to be a significant landmark in the payment board.


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