tailgating in cyber security

What is Tailgating in Cybersecurity and How to Prevent it?

While we prioritize online precautions to defend against phishing and cyberattacks, it’s imperative not to neglect the significance of addressing physical security breaches. Among these breaches, one prevalent concern is tailgating, which exposes organizations to security risks. Tailgating involves unauthorized access to restricted areas, as individuals like hackers, thieves, and malicious actors exploit unsuspecting employees. Organizations are proactively countering this threat. This comprehensive blog delves into the realm of tailgating in cybersecurity, elucidating its nature, mechanisms, and effective measures for mitigation.

What is Tailgating in Cybersecurity?

Tailgating is a type of social engineering attack where an unauthorized person bypasses a company’s security measures to physically access, steal, or compromise its data. These individuals often manipulate authorized employees into allowing them entry to areas protected by passwords, thus gaining access to sensitive information.

TechTarget also refers to this as piggybacking, where an unauthorized individual follows an authorized person into secure parts of a company. This exploit is a result of the ingenuity of the follower and the carelessness of the person being followed.

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How Does Tailgating Work?

Tailgating operates discreetly to avoid arousing suspicion. The tactics used in these attacks can be quite ordinary. For instance, an attacker might disguise themselves as a delivery person or repair worker. They could then convince an employee to grant them access to an area restricted to authorized personnel only. Their excuse could be related to carrying items, which prevents them from adhering to any biometric authentication at the entry point. Unassuming employees might comply, unwittingly facilitating the unauthorized person’s entry. Alternatively, a simpler approach involves the unauthorized person closely shadowing an employee without their knowledge, effectively “tailgating” them.

Some common methods of tailgating attacks include:
  1. Impersonating an employee and claiming to have forgotten their ID to gain entry.
  2. Following closely behind an employee into a secure area and expecting them to hold the door open.
  3. External individuals like service providers, delivery personnel, or painters requesting access to authorized zones.

Now that we’ve explored how tailgating functions, let’s delve into the factors that make an organization susceptible to cybersecurity threats.

Factors Making Enterprises Prone to Cybersecurity Threats

In the absence of strong cybersecurity measures, organizations become vulnerable to cyberattacks that can compromise sensitive data. The following factors highlight how an enterprise might be exposed to cybersecurity threats, including the tangible risk of tailgating:

  1. Outdated Threat Protection Software

    Maintaining advanced and regularly updated threat protection software is crucial for an organization’s defense against various threats, including tailgating. This software plays a pivotal role in recognizing and mitigating tailgating activities. Organizations that overlook this aspect create openings for security breaches. Implementing a comprehensive threat detection mechanism not only strengthens security but also significantly reduces the chances of successful tailgating attempts.

  2. Inadequate Cybersecurity Prevention Practices

    Every organization must establish a robust cybersecurity prevention framework. This framework encompasses strategies, protocols, and technologies designed to thwart cybercrimes and security breaches. An effective cybersecurity prevention system not only identifies potential threats but also responds promptly, minimizing the impact of security incidents.

  3. Lack of Comprehensive Employee Training

    Regular and thorough training sessions on security protocols are imperative for every organization. When employees are well-informed about security practices, they become an integral line of defense against various threats, including tailgating. These sessions ensure that employees not only understand security protocols but also comprehend the potential consequences of security breaches. By fostering a culture of vigilance and accountability, organizations can significantly reduce vulnerabilities arising from human error or lack of awareness.

In conclusion, addressing these factors is paramount to establishing a resilient cybersecurity posture. By embracing advanced threat protection measures, robust prevention practices, and comprehensive employee training, enterprises can effectively mitigate the risk of cybersecurity threats, including the ever-present danger of tailgating attacks.

What Are the Impacts of Tailgating?

Tailgating emerges as a significant breach in security, providing unauthorized individuals a gateway to infiltrate a company’s database or unleash damaging consequences. Let’s delve into the potential harm inflicted by tailgating:

  1. Unauthorized Server Room Access: Tailgaters exploit opportunities to infiltrate server rooms, quietly establishing backdoors into the company’s network.
  2. Compromising Sensitive Data: These intruders gain access to an organization’s treasure trove of sensitive customer data, financial assets, or proprietary secrets.
  3. Covert Surveillance: Tailgaters may discreetly plant cameras to surveil restricted areas, capturing vital operational insights.

Who Is Prone to Tailgating Attacks?

Certain organizations are more susceptible to falling victim to tailgating attacks, often marked by an inadequate and fragile security infrastructure. Common vulnerabilities include:

  1. Lenient ID Checks: Entities with lax employee ID checks create blind spots, making it challenging to trace and intercept attackers.
  2. Knowledge Gaps: Companies lacking comprehensive training in security protocols and cybersecurity expose themselves to potential breaches.
  3. Weak Package Screening: Entities admitting outsiders without thorough scrutiny, such as delivery personnel or packages, open doors to threats.
  4. Complex Subcontractor Networks: Businesses engaged with multiple subcontractors inadvertently introduce security vulnerabilities.

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How to Prevent Tailgating?

Mitigating tailgating demands a blend of advanced technologies and security practices:

  1. Electronic Access Control: Employing electronic access control devices ensures only authorized personnel access secure zones.
  2. Badge Readers: Badge readers validate company-issued credentials, denying entry to unauthorized individuals. Placing them at entry and exit points safeguards sensitive spaces and devices.
  3. Turnstiles: Installing turnstiles enforces single-person entry, thwarting tailgaters attempting to exploit authorized personnel.
  4. Camio Surveillance: Implementing intelligent video monitoring like Camio detects suspicious activity, alerting security teams in real time.
  5. Access Control Management: Enforcing strict access control protocols guarantees secure zone entry only for authorized individuals.
  6. Rack Occupancy Sensors: Sensors detecting unexpected occupancy trigger immediate alerts for action.
  7. Open-Path Video Readers: Employing open-path video readers confirms authorized entry into secure perimeters.
  8. Physical Barriers: Introducing physical barriers ahead of secure perimeters effectively prevents unauthorized access, complementing tech solutions.
  9. Comprehensive Surveillance: Deploying surveillance cameras across premises adds an extra security layer.
  10. Employee Awareness: Educating employees about tailgating risks, emphasizing security mindfulness, enhances prevention effectiveness.

In conclusion, comprehending tailgating’s potential consequences and implementing a mix of technology solutions and employee education significantly bolsters an organization’s resilience against this security breach.