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What is a Tailgating Attack?

A physical security threat known as a tailgating attack occurs when an attacker enters a secure area. You do this by trailing someone who has been granted authorised access to the area, such an employee. Check out our cyber security course to learn more about Tailgating attacks.

How Does It Work?

A common form of social engineering attack is tailgating. Social engineering attacks involve the use of coercion, fraud, or deception to persuade someone to behave against their own or the organisation’s best interests.

An attacker can get access to the secure area through a tailgating attack using a number of methods. An employee may be tricked into believing they have authorised access, followed through an open door without the employee’s knowledge, or coerced into opening it with bribes or other forms of compulsion.

The Threat to an Organization

The physical security of an organisation is the primary threat posed by tailgating. When a tailgating attack is successful, the attacker can enter a restricted area and get past the organisation’s physical defences, such as fences and locked doors.

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An organisation can face a variety of threats as a result of this physical access. Among the situations are:

What is a Tailgating Attack?
  • Device Theft: Anything within the restricted region can be stolen by an attacker, including laptops, cell phones, and other equipment. These pilfered goods may be sold or utilised in subsequent attacks.
  • Data Theft: Employees can leave confidential documents on their desks or, in a secure location, leave their computers unlocked. Sensitive data inside the company could be taken by an intruder with physical access.
  • Compromised Devices: An attacker can get around software-based safeguards against cyberattacks by gaining physical access to a device. This access can be obtained through tailgating attacks, which give the attacker the ability to install malware such as keyloggers or ransomware.
  • Sabotage: An attacker may be able to disrupt an organisation’s activities if they get access to its devices and other infrastructure. These damaging acts could be meant to be temporary or permanent, and they could be used to demand ransom from the organisation.

Common Tailgating Methods

Tailgating attacks are commonly carried out by trickery. Among the more common pretexts used by tailgaters are the following:

  • Lost/Forgotten ID: A tailgater may pose as a worker who has left their employee ID at home or has misplaced it. Then, “just this once,” they would request permission to enter the building from an employee.
  • Delivery Driver: The problem with posing as an employee is that the real employee can refuse to admit someone they don’t know. Taking on the persona of a package-carrying delivery driver is another common pretext.
  • Hands Full: A tailgater may purposefully approach the door to the secure area with their hands full, whether or not they are posing as a delivery driver. When someone appears to be having difficulty, people are more inclined to hold the door for them.
  • Open Doors: For whatever reason, an employee may hold a door open. This presents an opportunity for a tailgating attacker to enter the restricted region.
  • Copied ID: An attacker could be able to duplicate the login credentials needed to open the door to the protected area if they manage to take a user’s ID or device. This would provide the attacker the opportunity to enter by posing as an authorised employee.

How to Protect Yourself from Tailgating Attacks

Companies can take the following precautions to defend themselves from these attacks:

What is a Tailgating Attack?
  • Employee Training: Preventing tailgating attacks can be achieved by teaching staff members not to hold open doors. Workers should constantly insist that other workers, including those they know, put on a badge.
  • Physical Defences: Businesses can use physical barriers like turnstiles or access control vestibules to prevent tailgating. These prevent tailgating by only allowing one person to pass at a time.
  • Access Controls: Biometric access control systems use distinctive physical traits to identify workers. This guards against ID theft and duplication.
  • Monitoring Systems: Tailgating attacks can be identified, stopped, and discouraged with the use of security personnel or video surveillance.

Conclusion 

Tailgating is a social engineering attack that aims to gain physical access to secure places within an organisation. By using cunning, deceit, force, or other strategies, an attacker might be able to get past physical defences and enter a location from which they can launch additional attacks. But tailgating is only one of the numerous risks that a business can encounter from social engineering. Check out the best cyber security training online to discover more about the different forms of social engineering risks and how to counter them.

Finally, Phishing is the most significant social engineering problem that most organisations must deal with. Phishing employs email and other communications systems to infect computers with malware and steal confidential data.

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