Hackers use social engineering techniques to gain unauthorized access to information. Piggybacking prevents this by using a wireless connection. It’s a situation where someone accesses a reserved area with permission obtained by the deception of an authorized person.

Keep reading the blog to know the piggybacking definition, its working procedure, advantages, disadvantages, and more.

What is Piggybacking Attack?

First things first, what is piggybacking? It is using a wireless connection to access an internet connection without authorization. Its objective is to gain free network access which is often exploited to attempt malicious activities like data breaching and dissemination of malware. It can also lead to slower internet speed for all the systems connected to the network. 

Even if piggybacking isn’t attempted with malicious intent, it’s still illegal because the user is taking undue advantage of a service they haven’t paid for.

How Does Piggybacking Work?

Piggybacking attacks were easier and more common in the past because Wi-Fi networks were unencrypted. Anyone within the signal’s range could access a network without entering a security password. So, hackers just had to be in the range of a wi-fi hotspot’s signal and select the chosen network from the options presented.

However, in today’s date, most Wi-Fi networks are encrypted and secured with passwords, making these attacks more challenging and less common. It’s still possible for threat actors to access a network if they have the password or can crack the encryption.

Tailgating and Piggybacking

In the cyber world, as per the tailgating and piggybacking definition, these are social engineering attack techniques used by malicious actors to gain access to restricted physical locations safeguarded by electronic systems. These systems are designed to limit access. The usual purposes are to access a company’s sensitive details about financing, employees, strategies, etc. It may also be used to inject malware into the network.

Both tailgating and piggybacking commonly attack mid-sized organizations with extensive enough staffing to blend in but not high-end security procedures found in bigger firms.

What Do Tailgating and Piggybacking Look Like?

Both of them are in-person social engineering attacks. In tailgating, attackers gain access to a restricted territory by entering unauthorizedly. You can imagine it as a situation where an employee swipes their ID card, and the perpetrator sneaks in behind them.

On the other hand, in piggybacking, the authorized person realizes that they’ve let an intruder in. However, they think the intruder had a legitimate reason to be there. You can imagine it as a situation where an employee is talking to a perpetrator claiming to have a meeting with someone in the office, and they let them in. 

Piggybacking Security: How to Prevent Piggybacking?

There are several ways to prevent piggybacking attacks. Let’s see what you can do.

Use Multi-Layered Security For Restricted Areas

Use biometrics to add an extra layer of security against piggybacking. This will restrict hackers from accessing your network quickly.

Update Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Software

Ensure your anti-malware and anti-virus programs are updated and patched. This will protect your data even if perpetrators gain access to your IT infrastructure.

Implement, Update, and Follow IT Policies and Procedures

If you’ve policies and procedures in place regarding the safety and protection of technology, ensure everyone follows them. You must also update them from time to time to reflect the latest threats.

Protect Login Credentials

Login credentials are beneficial to hackers, so they are always looking for them. They deploy various social engineering techniques to obtain them. You can use multi-factor authentication for additional security. 

Educate Your Employees

Schedule cybersecurity awareness training for employees of all seniority levels. It’s a cost-effective and practical way to prevent attacks like tailgating and piggybacking. Ensure each employee is well trained to understand the role they play in responding to and reporting threats.

Use Encryption

WPA and WPA 2 are robust encryption systems that can be used to minimize the probability of attackers intercepting a communication. 

Use a Password

Set a strong password that has to be used to access the wifi connection of your workplace. Also, change the default password that comes with your router and use something that isn’t too obvious to crack. You can use password-managing tools for this.

Avoid Broadcasting Your Wireless Network’s Name

Don’t broadcast your wireless network or SSID to passers-by. Instead select an unguessable SSID name to make it harder for hackers to crack the password. 

Restrict Internet Access to Specific Hours

Buy Wi-Fi routers that allow you to configure internet access to only specific hours of the day. This will minimize the chances of becoming a victim of piggybacking attacks.

Final Thoughts

Piggybacking is the use of a wireless connection to access an internet connection without authorization. The aim is to get free network access which is often exploited to attempt malicious activities like data breaching and dissemination of malware.

You can prevent this by using updated anti-malware and anti-virus programs coupled with encryption and strong policies. Piggybacking can also lead to ransomware, and phishing attacks attempted in your company’s name.