what is a tailgating attack?

A “tailgating attack” is a form of social engineering that emphasizes physical elements over virtual ones. Tailgating is essentially a social engineering attack in which the attacker follows a legitimate individual into a prohibited area where they are not allowed to be. People frequently picture nefarious cybercriminals acting from afar when considering data breaches. However, allowing someone without authorization to enter your property, possibly through a tailgating attack, puts businesses in danger of having their confidential or sensitive information leaked.

Most cyberattacks are the result of social engineering risks. According to research, these attacks are becoming more frequent. Phishing, a common type of social engineering, is where more than 90% of successful cyber threats begin.

Most people can recognize a straightforward phishing scam. But can you or your coworker spot tailgating?

Let’s dive in to learn what is tailgating and how you can prevent it yourself. 

Tailgating Definition

In a physical, social engineering attack known as tailgating, a person tries to enter a space that is off-limits to them.

In the real world, tailgating meaning is when a car follows another very closely, posing danger and discomfort to the front motorist.

A tailgating attack involves sneaking into a prohibited place while using another person. It is possible to do so by closely following someone (“Hey! Please hold the door. As with phishing or pretexting, attackers can also trick people by posing as someone else.

However, tailgating is not like other Social Engineering attacks. To gain access to private information, money, etc., is a physical intrusion. In this way, it resembles baiting more.

Tailgating Is an Example of What Type of Attack?

Tailgating is an example of a social engineering attack.

Social engineering is a form of hacking that targets people by exploiting human nature and weaknesses in making decisions. Social engineers use manipulation to get access to your data and resources.

The attacker uses the victim’s credentials to access the network. Tailgating occurs when someone enters a building or room with another person who has legitimate authorization to access the building or room but remains close enough behind them so that they can enter without being challenged by security measures.

For example, if you have to enter your username and password to get into a secure area, someone could stand behind you and watch as you type in your information. They could then use that information themselves to gain entry.

What Is Tailgating Social Engineering?

Tailgating social engineering is an attack that takes advantage of the trust and familiarity between two parties.

Tailgating social engineering is a physical intrusion by following an authorized user into a restricted area or facility. It’s also known as piggybacking or piggybacking, and thieves commonly use it to access restricted buildings and areas, such as data centers, warehouses, and factories.

Examples of Tailgating Social Engineering

An example of tailgating social engineering is when an attacker follows an authorized user through the door without scanning their credentials. This is generally easier than impersonating someone and harder for security personnel to detect because it requires being close enough to the victim without being obvious.

In another example, hackers use spear phishing emails with malicious attachments that hold exploits for vulnerabilities in common software programs like Adobe Reader or Microsoft Office. The attachment may also be a ZIP file containing malware that can infect your computer if you open it. Opening these attachments allows hackers access to your computer. It allows them to collect information, such as passwords or personal details, that they can use in future attacks against you or others who use the same network.

What Are Common Tailgating Methods?

A standard method of tailgating cyber attacks is to impersonate an employee with similar clothing or appearance, such as wearing a uniform or carrying a backpack identical to those used by employees, and then following them through the door.

Other common methods include:

  • Using a fake ID badge with similar markings as those issued by your target organization (e.g., logos). The attacker may also impersonate someone else’s badge number when speaking with security guards or receptionists;
  • Using stolen credentials from another individual; and
  • Using fake credentials purchased online from criminals specializing in identity theft and data breaches.

How To Prevent Tailgating?

Tailgating can be easy to prevent if you’re aware of it. Here are some tips to ensure security tailgating :

Train Your Employees

The most crucial step in preventing tailgating is educating your employees on the importance of following security procedures. Conduct regular training sessions and ensure all employees understand their role in keeping your facility safe.

Improve Physical Security

Ensure all entrances and exits are secure with good physical security measures such as locks, alarms, surveillance cameras, and guards if necessary. This will help ensure that only authorized people can access these areas of your building or campus.

Know About Social Engineering

One of the reasons why people tailgate is because they know someone who works in the company, and they think this person will let them go through without checking their credentials. This is called social engineering, and you should ensure all your employees are aware of the dangers involved. If they know that they might get fired if they let someone go through without checking their credentials, it will discourage them from doing so.

Use Security Cams

Security cameras can help deter tailgating because they’re installed at every entrance and exit of every building with an alarm system. This way, security personnel can view the footage and see who’s trying to get into the building without authorization and report it immediately so that they can stop them from entering further into the building once they’ve gained access through the front entrance or lobby area where security cams aren’t installed yet.

Visitors Credentials

A visitor’s credential allows someone access to your facility with limited privileges. For example, they may be allowed in certain areas and only in others if accompanied by an employee with proper credentials.

Final Words

The tailgating attack relies on unauthorized users with limited or moderately privileged access to a computer system or network to gain the same access to sensitive areas of the system by piggybacking on the authorized access of another user. It is essential for corporate network security, especially for public systems and high-risk enterprises.

So, it’s always better to be careful with what you download and to protect your gaming account with a complex password.