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What is Tailgating and How to Secure Yourself Against It?

While organizations take the utmost measures and put money into sturdy cybersecurity options and applied sciences to preserve cybercriminals at bay, human errors, innocence, and negligence stay among the many prime causes behind a number of cyberattacks and information breaches. 

Social engineering assaults that deceive workers into performing sure actions or sharing delicate enterprise information and info account for up to 98% of all cyberattacks

This reveals how cybercriminals proceed to take undue benefit of focused customers and workers, which stays one of many largest weaknesses of many organizations’ cybersecurity methods. 

One such frequent social engineering assault is tailgating. 

Also referred to as piggybacking, tailgating is one of many bodily safety breaches the place a malicious or unauthorized entity follows a certified entity into restricted firm premises. 

In this text, we’ll see tailgating in additional element—discussing what it is, the way it works, real-life examples, and how to forestall it from decreasing dangers of bodily breaches in your group. 

What Is Tailgating?


Tailgating is a type of social engineering assault that enables thieves, hackers, and different malicious entities entry and unauthorized entry into an unrestricted area. 

Hence, not like different on-line cyberattacks that digitally breach an organization’s community—in tailgating, the attacker bodily breaches an organization’s safety system to steam, entry, and compromise its confidential information. 

In easy phrases, in tailgating, an unauthorized individual merely follows or slips behind a certified individual to entry restricted firm premises. 

But how does tailgating work, and how do attackers trick approved people and get into restricted areas? Let’s discover out. 

How Does Tailgating Work? 

Tailgating is a standard social engineering assault involving the attacker making an attempt to entry or get into an organization constructing or space bodily, consisting of delicate info. 

Attackers might use coercion, deception, or trickery to induce a certified particular person into permitting them to get inside restricted and confidential firm premises. 

An attacker can do that in a number of methods. They can both wait round a safe exit to shortly sneak in when a certified individual unlocks the entry, pretending to be a certified entity themselves. 

Moreover, they might additionally disguise to be another person, like a repairman or a supply individual—asking approved people to allow them throughout the firm space. 

Some of the commonest tailgating strategies employed by an attacker embody: 

  • Pretending to be an worker with a misplaced or forgotten worker entry ID. 
  • Hiding close to a locked entry level and sneaking when a certified individual unlocks the doorway. 
  • Disguising to be a supply individual with a great deal of packing containers or packages in hand. 
  • Deliberately having their arms full or occupied—irrespective of who they faux to be, asking somebody to maintain the door or safety entry level. 
  • Trying to stroll precisely behind a certified particular person—anticipating them to preserve the door open for them to enter proper behind them. 
  • Accessing with a certified worker’s stolen ID or entry credentials—masquerading as a respectable firm worker. 

No matter the strategies, tailgating assaults work when an intruder good points bodily entry to an organization’s restricted space with out authorized permission—primarily to compromise, steal, and injury confidential info. 

What Is Physical Tailgating? 

As the identify suggests, bodily tailgating entails a bodily attacker making an attempt to entry a restricted group space for malicious functions. 

The attacker makes use of this social engineering method to achieve unauthorized entry by piggybacking or following a certified particular person. 

Thus, bodily tailgating is the place the attacker exploits human belief and habits, gaining entry into approved and safe firm premises—with out seeming suspicious. 

What Is Digital Tailgating? 

Digital tailgating is nothing however the typical or conventional cyberattack or social engineering assault that entails gaining unauthorized entry to digital programs or networks via both deception or stealing approved customers’ credentials. 

Common social engineering or digital tailgating assaults embody phishing, spear phishing, vishing, pretexting, baiting, and malware. 

Let’s get into extra element about understanding how bodily and digital tailgating differ by way of their mode of execution, goal victims, intent, and preventative measures. 

Physical vs. Digital Tailgating

Typically, conventional cyberattacks or social engineering assaults contain concentrating on or hacking a corporation’s community or programs via cybercriminal actions, equivalent to phishing, malware, and DDoS assaults. 

Conversely, bodily tailgating depends on the human ingredient—exploiting human habits fairly than technological loopholes. 

Here are a couple of distinguishable metrics that assist perceive the distinction between digital and bodily tailgating: 

  • Digital tailgating assaults are comparatively simpler to execute as they’re carried out by way of distant and on-line interactions. However, the mode of execution for bodily tailgating differs, because the attacker wants to be bodily current on the goal group’s premises—making it riskier than cyberattacks. 
  • While the intent of digital tailgating is primarily to concentrate on digital information theft to steal delicate enterprise info or disrupt operations, bodily tailgating facilitates bodily theft by way of unauthorized entry, doubtlessly main to different types of cyberattacks. 
  • While digital tailgating assaults can simply goal any type of firm, group, pc programs, or on-line enterprise, bodily tailgating assaults goal bodily infrastructures, like workplace buildings, information facilities, and analysis labs—principally, organizations having safety entry controls and delicate information. 
  • The preventative measures for digital tailgating assaults embody using firewalls, antivirus software program, and intrusion detection programs; stopping bodily tailgating contains worker coaching and consciousness, sturdy entry management programs, surveillance and safety cameras, and extra. 
  • By using refined strategies, digital tailgating assaults can get very advanced and technologically superior in nature. On the opposite hand, bodily tailgating assaults aren’t as advanced as they primarily depend on deceiving and manipulating human habits—making it a direct social engineering cyberattack. 

Now that we perceive the distinction between bodily and digital tailgating let’s take a look at some real-life eventualities and examples of tailgating assaults that occurred worldwide. 

Real-life Examples of Tailgating Attacks 

According to a survey by Boon Edam, over 74% of organizations fail to observe tailgating, and over 71% of them really feel they’re weak to tailgating assaults due to bodily breaches. 

Here are examples of real-life tailgating incidents and how they affected the worldwide corporations and organizations at Target. 

#1. Siemens Enterprise Security’s Breach by Colin Greenless

A Siemens Enterprise Communications Security consultant, Colin Greenless, tried accessing a number of flooring of the corporate constructing with the assistance of tailgating. 

Colin particularly tried accessing the info middle room at an FTSE-listed monetary establishment. He arrange a pretend workplace for himself on the third ground and pretended to be a working worker—working there for a number of days. 

Using tailgating and different social engineering assaults, Colin may get entry to very invaluable and delicate firm info.

#2. Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital’s Breach in New York City

This tailgating incident occurred when a dismissed resident from New York City’s Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital gained unauthorized access to Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s 5 working rooms. 

Cheryl Wang was ready to entry the working rooms by dressing in scrubs and with none identification badges inside two days to observe the operational procedures.

#3. A 2019 Breach by Yujhing Zhang

Yujhing Zhang, a Chinese woman, was caught trespassing the U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago membership in Florida in 2019. 

Once caught, Zhang was discovered carrying two Chinese passports, 4 cell phones, one pc, and different units. Moreover, Zhang was discovered carrying a malware-induced thumb drive and lied about getting on the property.

#4. Verizon Data Breach in 2005

Exploiting bodily tailgating and social engineering assaults, hackers may achieve unauthorized entry to Verizon’s inner community in 2005. 

The attackers pretended to be a vendor’s worker, convincing the safety guard to allow them to enter the corporate premises—later managing to steal delicate buyer info.

#5. The TJX Companies Data Breach in 2007

The TJX Companies, together with Marshalls and TJ Maxx, skilled an enormous information breach in 2007 involving bodily tailgating and cyberattacks. 

The attackers very well positioned rogue wi-fi entry factors in one of many retailer’s parking tons to get unauthorized entry to the corporate’s community. Hackers efficiently compromised and stole prospects’ thousands and thousands of bank card numbers and different confidential info.

Impact of Tailgating on Cybersecurity

Tailgating is one of the crucial vital threats to a corporation’s safety system. A profitable tailgating assault can disrupt the corporate’s income and pose large threats by way of information loss. 

Here’s how tailgating can impression your group’s cybersecurity posture: 

  • Theft of personal information when an attacker good points bodily entry to delicate info, like login particulars or paperwork left by an worker on their work desk. 
  • Theft of firm units when an attacker can efficiently steal an worker’s laptop computer or cell units left of their restricted workspaces. 
  • Sabotage of enterprise operations by an attacker when he accesses firm units to quickly or completely disrupt enterprise operations in return for a ransom. 
  • Theft or compromise of units, ensuing within the attacker putting in malware, ransomware, and keyloggers into the units by bypassing software-based defenses to prevalent cyberattacks. 

Thus, tailgating poses large cybersecurity dangers to an organization’s information, employees, and property—leading to surprising prices and lack of repute. Hence, taking preventative measures towards tailgating effectively prematurely is crucial. 

Tailgating Preventative Measures

Organizations are proactively taking measures to forestall tailgating incidents and dangers. In truth, in accordance to a report, the tailgating detection system market is anticipated to leap from $63.5 million in 2021 to a whopping $99.5 million by 2028

While this would possibly look like an enormous determine, listed below are a couple of cost-efficient and efficient steps you possibly can take to forestall tailgating from attacking and compromising your group’s safety.

#1. Enforce Security Awareness Training Programs


Many workers aren’t conscious of tailgating and different social engineering assaults. Hence, educating your workers about social engineering, what it means, indicators to establish tailgating, and how it may be prevented is essential. 

Convincing workers about their function in stopping tailgating may help induce a way of accountability and consciousness inside workers in securing the group’s information and system. 

Hence, incorporating and implementing cybersecurity coaching may help workers detect suspicious actions and keep away from social engineering assaults like tailgating of their workplaces.

#2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Ensure Doors Close Swiftly

As an worker, one of many best methods to keep away from changing into a sufferer of a tailgating assault is to remember and alert of your environment and folks round you—particularly when coming into restricted firm areas. 

Ensure you go searching when utilizing your ID Or coming into a password to unlock access-controlled doorways. It’s additionally essential to shut the door behind you swiftly and ensure that nobody with out a legitimate ID or entry sneaks in behind you when you enter the restricted space. 

At an organizational stage, utilizing security revolving doors may be extremely helpful in stopping tailgating dangers.

#3. Advanced Video Surveillance


When your organization contains a number of entrances and restricted areas, monitoring them may be difficult, and counting on human components like safety guards alone isn’t sensible. 

Hence, surveillance units like CCTVs and superior surveillance options can forestall tailgating by retaining a 24/7 verify on the corporate premises. 

Advanced video surveillance options use video analytics and Artificial Intelligence strategies to improve the effectivity of real-time safety measures. They assess people who enter the corporate entrances and examine the recorded video footage with the worker’s and contractors’ facial scans. This makes it simpler to detect an intruder as superior video surveillance works in actual time.

#4. Use Biometric Scans


Biometric scanners, equivalent to fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, iris recognition, voice recognition, coronary heart fee sensors, or different Personally Identifiable Information (PII), guarantee final safety by permitting just one approved individual to enter the restricted space. 

Since they scan a certified particular person’s distinctive bodily function, they show to be far more safe than passwords and PINs—stopping tailgaters from sneaking in or following a certified particular person.

#5. Issue Smart Badges


Smart playing cards or good badges are different crucial methods that may enable you increase your group’s bodily safety and keep away from the possibilities of tailgating. 

Smart badges use RFID expertise and are simply configurable to allow entry to totally different firm places by swiping or scanning them at particular entrances. This approach, it turns into simpler to decide who is granted entry to particular areas with out requiring them to retrieve a key at any time when they need to make any adjustments.

#6. Use Laser Sensors

Photosensors or laser sensors make it simpler to detect a number of folks strolling via or coming into an entrance on the similar time. They limit entry to an entrance to a single individual—considerably decreasing tailgating dangers. 

If an intruder tries to tailgate, the sensors will alert the safety personnel in cost—making it a wonderful safety answer to tailgating, particularly when there’s an enormous inflow of workers shifting in and out of firm premises or throughout firm occasions.

#7. Train Security Guards


Lastly, whereas coaching workers and making them conscious of tailgating and social engineering is essential—it’s additionally necessary to practice your organization’s safety guards and make them conscious of tailgating assaults and their impression on the group’s information, income, and repute. 

This will instill a way of accountability throughout the guards—making them extra alert and conscious to name out people with out ID badges or good playing cards and instantly report to the respective safety personnel in case they discover somebody suspicious.

Final Words 

Security isn’t one individual’s job. It’s solely when the complete group—from the highest senior safety personnel and IT groups to particular person workers and guards work collectively and contribute in direction of following one of the best safety practices—can it forestall assaults like tailgating. 

Tailgating is a critical risk to organizations—compromising their information safety and confidential info, costing them thousands and thousands and billions of {dollars} to compensate for the assault. 

So, if you happen to personal a big enterprise or a corporation in a number of places, make sure you unfold cybersecurity training and tailgating consciousness and make use of one of the best tailgating preventative measures mentioned on this article.

Next, take a look at one of the best cybersecurity certifications to upskill your self.

Vikash Gorayan

Vikash Gorayan is a technology enthusiast with a passion for gadgets and product management. He is constantly seeking new opportunities to learn and grow in his field.

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