The Payment Card Industry Hardware Security Module (PCI HSM) specification defines a set of logical and physical security compliance standards for HSMs specifically for the payments industry. The payShield 9000 HSM from Thales e-Security was one of the first HSMs to be successfully validated against the PCI HSM standard.


Certification Objectives

HSMs play a critical role in securing payment transactions, so it is essential that the HSMs themselves are kept secure throughout their lifecycle—from manufacturing and shipment to operation and decommissioning. The PCI HSM compliance certification standard provides HSM vendors with a strict set of security requirements and a rigorous process for having platforms assessed against these requirements.


PCI HSM compliance certification is increasingly becoming a fundamental requirement for various payment processes, including PIN processing, card verification, card production, ATM interchange, cash-card reloading and key generation.


The payShield 9000 HSM has feature-rich software certified to the PCI HSM standard. It addresses all the processes below and more.


To be PCI HSM compliant, a platform must address the following physical security requirements:

Tamper-detection and response mechanisms

Resilience to abnormal environmental and operating conditions

Protection of sensitive data within the device

Preventing disclosure of sensitive information by external monitoring techniques

Protection of cryptographic keys inside the device, even if the security boundary is breached

Software and Settings

HSM software, configuration and management must address the following logical security requirements:

Resilience against unexpected command sequences or operating modes

Secure firmware management

Strong authentication prior to running sensitive services

Secure key management and key separation to prevent misuse and eliminate cleartext exposure of sensitive data and PINs

Secure audit trail

Supply Chain

The HSM vendor is required to provide evidence to the PCI HSM evaluation team that effective processes are in place to ensure that the HSM is secured at all times, from the time of manufacture to packaging and shipment to the end user.