At this time, enabling the PCI DSS standard from within AWS Security Hub enables this compliance framework only within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) account you are presently administering.

This blog post showcases a solution that can be used to customize the configuration and deployment of the PCI DSS standard compliance standard using AWS Security Hub across multiple AWS accounts and AWS Regions managed by AWS Organizations. It also demonstrates how to disable specific standards or controls that aren’t required by your organization to meet its compliance requirement. This solution can be used as a baseline for implementation when creating new AWS accounts through the use of AWS CloudFormation StackSets.

Solution overview

Figure 1 that follows shows a sample account setup using the automated solution in this blog post to enable PCI DSS monitoring and reporting across multiple AWS accounts using AWS Organizations. The hierarchy depicted is of one management account used to monitor two member accounts with infrastructure spanning across multiple Regions. Member accounts are configured to send their Security Hub findings to the designated Security Hub management account for centralized compliance management.

Figure 1: Security Hub deployment using AWS Organizations

Figure 1: Security Hub deployment using AWS Organizations

Prerequisites

The following prerequisites must be in place in order to enable the PCI DSS standard:

  1. A designated administrator account for Security Hub.
  2. Security Hub enabled in all the desired accounts and Regions.
  3. Access to the management account for the organization. The account must have the required permissions for stack set operations.
  4. Choose which deployment targets (accounts and Regions) you want to enable the PCI DSS standard. Typically, you set this on the accounts where Security Hub is already enabled, or on the accounts where PCI workloads reside.
  5. (Optional) If you find standards or controls that aren’t applicable to your organization, get the Amazon Resource Names (ARNs) of the desired standards or controls to disable.

Solution Resources

The CloudFormation template that you use in the following steps contains:

Solution deployment

To set up this solution for automated deployment, stage the following CloudFormation StackSet template for rollout via the AWS CloudFormation service. The stack set runs across the organization at the root or organizational units (OUs) level of your choice. You can choose which Regions to run this solution against and also to run it each time a new AWS account is created.

To deploy the solution

  1. Open the AWS Management Console.
  2. Download the sh-pci-enabler.yaml template and save it to an Amazon Simple Storage Services (Amazon S3) bucket on the management account. Make a note of the path to use later.
  3. Navigate to CloudFormation service on the management account. Select StackSets from the menu on the left, and then choose Create StackSet.
     
    Figure 2: CloudFormation – Create StackSet

    Figure 2: CloudFormation – Create StackSet

  4. On the Choose a template page, go to Specify template and select Amazon S3 URL and enter the path to the sh-pci-enabler.yaml template you saved in step 2 above. Choose Next.
     
    Figure 3: CloudFormation – Choose a template

    Figure 3: CloudFormation – Choose a template

  5. Enter a name and (optional) description for the StackSet. Choose Next.
     
    Figure 4: CloudFormation – enter StackSet details

    Figure 4: CloudFormation – enter StackSet details

  6. (Optional) On the Configure StackSet options page, go to Tags and add tags to identify and organize your stack set.
     
    Figure 5: CloudFormation – Configure StackSet options

    Figure 5: CloudFormation – Configure StackSet options

  7. Choose Next.
  8. On the Set deployment options page, select the desired Regions, and then choose Next.

    Figure 6: CloudFormation – Set deployment options

    Figure 6: CloudFormation – Set deployment options

  9. Review the definition and select I acknowledge that AWS CloudFormation might create IAM resources. Choose Submit.
     
    Figure 7: CloudFormation – Review, acknowledge, and submit

    Figure 7: CloudFormation – Review, acknowledge, and submit

  10. After you choose Submit, you can monitor the creation of the StackSet from the Operations tab to ensure that deployment is successful.
     
    Figure 8: CloudFormation – Monitor creation of the StackSet

    Figure 8: CloudFormation – Monitor creation of the StackSet

Disable standards that don’t apply to your organization

To disable a standard that isn’t required by your organization, you can use the same template and steps as described above with a few changes as explained below.

To disable standards

  1. Start by opening the SH-PCI-enabler.yaml template and saving a copy under a new name.
  2. In the template, look for sh.batch_enable_standards. Change it to sh.batch_disable_standards.
  3. Locate standardArn=f”arn:aws:securityhub:{region}::standards/pci-dss/v/3.2.1″ and change it to the desired ARN. To find the correct standard ARN, you can use the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) or AWS CloudShell to run the command aws securityhub describe-standards.
Figure 9: Describe Security Hub standards using CLI

Figure 9: Describe Security Hub standards using CLI

Note: Be sure to keep the f before the quotation marks and replace any Region you might get from the command with the {region} variable. If the CIS standard doesn’t have the Region defined, remove the variable.

Disable controls that don’t apply to your organization

When you enable a standard, all of the controls for that standard are enabled by default. If necessary, you can disable specific controls within an enabled standard.

When you disable a control, the check for the control is no longer performed, no additional findings are generated for that control, and the related AWS Config rules that Security Hub created are removed.

Security Hub is a regional service. When you disable or enable a control, the change is applied in the Region that you specify in the API request. Also, when you disable an entire standard, Security Hub doesn’t track which controls were disabled. If you enable the standard again later, all of the controls in that standard will be enabled.

To disable a list of controls

  1. Open the Security Hub console and select Security standards from the left menu. For each check you want to disable, select Finding JSON and make a note of each StandardsControlArn to add to your list.

    Note: Another option is to use the DescribeStandardsControls API to create a list of StandardsControlArn to be disabled.

     

    Figure 10: Security Hub console – finding JSON download option

    Figure 10: Security Hub console – finding JSON download option

  2. Download the StackSet SH-disable-controls.yaml template to your computer.
  3. Use a text editor to open the template file.
  4. Locate the list of controls to disable, and edit the template to replace the provided list of StandardsControlArn with your own list of controls to disable, as shown in the following example. Use a comma as the delimiter for each ARN.
    controls=f"arn:aws:securityhub:{region}:{account_id}:control/aws-foundational-security-best-practices/v/1.0.0/ACM.1, arn:aws:securityhub:{region}:{account_id}:control/aws-foundational-security-best-practices/v/1.0.0/APIGateway.1, arn:aws:securityhub:{region}:{account_id}:control/aws-foundational-security-best-practices/v/1.0.0/APIGateway.2"
    

  5. Save your changes to the template.
  6. Follow the same steps you used to deploy the PCI DSS standard, but use your edited template.

Note: The region and account_id are set as variables, so you decide in which accounts and Regions to disable the controls from the StackSet deployment options (step 8 in Deploy the solution).

Troubleshooting

The following are issues you might encounter when you deploy this solution:

  1. StackSets deployment errors: Review the troubleshooting guide for CloudFormation StackSets.
  2. Dependencies issues: To modify the status of any standard or control, Security Hub must be enabled first. If it’s not enabled, the operation will fail. Make sure you meet the prerequisites listed earlier in this blog post. Use CloudWatch logs to analyze possible errors from the Lambda function to help identify the cause.
  3. StackSets race condition error: When creating new accounts, the Organizations service enables Security Hub in the account, and invokes the stack sets during account creation. If the stack set runs before the Security Hub service is enabled, the stack set can’t enable the PCI standard. If this happens, you can fix it by adding the Amazon EventBridge rule as shown in SH-EventRule-PCI-enabler.yaml. The EventBridge rule invokes the SHLambdaFunctionEB Lambda function after Security Hub is enabled.

Conclusion

The AWS Security Hub PCI DSS standard is fundamental for any company involved with storing, processing, or transmitting cardholder data. In this post, you learned how to enable or disable a standard or specific controls in all your accounts throughout the organization to proactively monitor your AWS resources. Frequently reviewing failed security checks, prioritizing their remediation, and aiming for a Security Hub score of 100 percent can help improve your security posture.

Further reading

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. If you have questions, please start a new thread on the Security Hub forum.

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Author

Pablo Pagani

Pablo is the Latam Security Manager for AWS Professional Services based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He developed his passion for computers while writing his first lines of code in BASIC using a Talent MSX.

Author

Rogerio Kasa

Rogerio is a Senior SRC Consultant based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has more than 20 years experience in information security, including 11 years in financial services as a local information security officer. As a security consultant, he helps customers improve their security posture by understanding business goals and creating controls aligned with their risk strategy.

Categories: Security