What is Tailgating in Cyber Security?

Tailgating in Cyber Security

What is Tailgating in Cyber Security?

The level of threats in the cyber security space continues to increase. If you want effective protection from unwarranted breaches, you’ll need to understand the concept of tailgating.

Tailgating is not just a big party before the game; it’s a common threat to cyber security. But, what exactly is tailgating in cybersecurity, and what do we need to know to stay protected? Read on to learn more about keeping your system secure.

Listen to our audio to learn what tailgating is exactly:

Tailgating in Cyber Security

Tailgating in cyber security, in this context, refers to an unauthorized person following an authorized individual into a secure area. These entrances are controlled by security measures, such as badges, RFID badges, passwords, and even biometric scans.

These attacks sneak into unwarranted spaces, breaching protocol. These breaches are similar to malware, ransomware, and viruses that contain fraudulent requests but are physical. These types of violations will use this unauthorized access to gain otherwise protected information.

Once inside, they can commit all forms of criminal activity. They can steal personal information or compromise data in a multitude of ways. Using a variety of tactics, the assailant will gain entry into the space where data or private information is kept.

What Is a Tailgating Attack?

What Is a Tailgating Attack?

There is typically an access control system that regulates entry in tailgating attacks that are breached. These unauthorized accesses often occur when an individual hitches a ride off of someone else’s entry credentials.

The tailgating attack, also known as piggybacking, occurs when someone bypasses the need to present credentials.

Many cybercriminals study ways to manipulate human behavior to find vulnerabilities to execute a tailgating attack. This form of social engineering will allow individuals to gain control over employees.

In many instances, tailgating attacks can occur daily in seemingly innocent ways. Someone may misplace their credentials and use friendly strangers’ access codes to enter a facility or network.

But, in other ways, this can be more nefarious, ending in a data breach. For example, an individual may purposefully wait until an employee accesses an area and follows suit before the door closes.

Tailgating Attack Definition

Tailgating Attack Definition

Tailgaiting is a technique where an individual uses someone else’s information to gain access to a restricted or locked-off area. It’s an exploitative method of breaching any residential or corporate building security system.

Individuals will falsify their identities to deceive other employees. Thus, granting them access to classified information. This allows the individual to gain entry into restricted areas through deceitful methods.

Tailgating Attack Meaning

Tailgating Attack Meaning

Hackers use a mixture of security knowledge and social engineering to access these prohibited areas. These incidents involve fraud and manipulation to fool the employee into granting access.

They may fraudulently pose as forgetful employees and request company access codes. They might also blend into the environment and briefly befriend coworkers to receive a friendly entry.

Even though most of these instances are in-person interactions, it still constitutes a cyber attack. Mainly because it requires the access and use of encrypted data. Although an attacker may use a physical object, it possesses personal credentials attached to cyber security information.

What Are Common Tailgating Methods?

What Are Common Tailgating Methods

One way of gaining access to these perimeters is to pose as an employee. These hackers will dress the part and mingle with other employees to retrieve information.

They may also dress like an employee of a third-party company. For instance, hackers can dress as phone company employees. The uniform will give the pretense that the hacker is permitted to enter the premises.

In actuality, an imposter has successfully gained entry into a secure location. But, since the phone company’s employees repeatedly enter and exit the premises, no one is the wiser.

Examples of a Tailgating Attack

Examples of a Tailgating Attack

Mingling With Employees

Let’s say employees step outside for a break; the attacker may join the group and mingle with employees. The hacker builds trust and requests help upon re-entry.

The employees may believe the hacker has good intentions after a friendly encounter and allow entry without asking questions to avoid appearing rude.


The hacker may appear over-encumbered by items and request help with entry into the facility. The employees, with naturally kind-hearted spirits, may practice empathy and allow the hacker to enter.

They may also be carrying something enticing like a box of treats or pizza boxes. This will encourage employees to step in and help the hacker with entry. The tempting nature of the goodies will distract the employees from inquiring about his illegal entry.

False Courier

In addition, they may also pose as couriers to help deliver packages or items. This can also be coupled with an outfit or uniform to reinforce the lie. If the hacker is confident enough, they can cruise right into the entryway.

Forgetful Employee

As previously stated, an attacker may pretend to be an employee who forgot their ID or Badge. They will request an employee to give them temporary access.

If it’s a large company, employees may be unfamiliar with other departments. So, it’s easier to gain trust if several employees are under the same roof.

What Can Be Done To Mitigate Tailgating?

What Can be Done to Mitigate Tailgating

There is often a lack of educational resources to inform employees of the dangers of tailgating. This is making advancing threats more rampant in today’s work culture. It’s a simple strategy that can compromise entire companies without hacking into preventative security systems.

Employees are as much a part of security enforcement as IT professionals when protecting sensitive information. Thus, more steps need to be taken to help curtail these attacks.

How to Prevent Tailgating Attacks

How to Prevent Tailgating Attacks

Visitor Passes

In higher security buildings, entry points require visitors to present visitor badges. An individual must check in with the security team to obtain a visitor badge.

Biometric Information

One way to combat a tailgating attack is to implement biometric information. Employees can use their fingerprint scans to enter the facility. Only employees with fingerprint recognition will be given access, and there’s never the excuse of forgetting a badge.

Surveillance Equipment

Companies and local businesses need to implement modern surveillance equipment. Security teams can monitor and record any illegal entry.

Request Identification

One method of mitigating tailgating in cyber security is to request a badge or identification card. The request must be non-confrontational, as an individual may ensure the person works inside the facility.

If the individual denies the request, it’s safe to report their actions to the security team. In addition, security teams should continually monitor access points to prevent these entries.

Security Guards

The simple presence of a security guard on the premises can help deter any tailgating attackers. If employees can make a point of contact with a guard, they’ll avoid dealing with a direct confrontation.

The security team should handle all risks associated with the presence of a potential cyber-criminal.

Educational Resources

One straightforward way to deal with these threats is to introduce educational resources to help inform workers about how to mitigate these cyber security risks.

However, in doing so, companies and businesses need to ensure their employees’ safety throughout the process.

Direct, hostile confrontation with an individual may appear as a threat to a hacker. The response to the threat may endanger the lives of the employees. So, we want to present methods of diffusing these scenarios without the danger of violence.

A simple request for identification is more than enough to build company defenses without disrespect.


These small instances of social engineering can accrue into a company-wide compromise of sensitive information. It’s the responsibility of businesses to help educate their employees about these various encounters.

Hackers are always looking for tiny cracks in the security lines. It’s never too late to defend your company and educate your employees about the risks of tailgating in cyber security.