Tailgating attacks are among the most underestimated attacks observed in a working environment. Organizations, from MNCs to small startups, face tailgating issues now and then. While advanced cyber-attacks that include technology gain all the attention, these social engineering attacks hide in plain sight.
Companies from across the globe pay millions of dollars to keep their data intact. They create biometric verification so only authorized users can access the data. They have server security and online protection programs to stay protected from hackers and online data theft. But all of that is only useful if physical security is maintained.
So what exactly is tailgating? Why should you be worried about it? How to stay safe from tailgating and, more importantly, minimize its impact. These are some questions that we will address in this post.
What is Tailgating? Should You Be Worried?
Tailgating is a social engineering attack carried out physically to gain access to a restricted area or system. It is common in companies where there are set classifications of authorized users. More importantly, an attack can happen when there are a lot of people working together.
Suppose you have just taken your lunch break and are returning to your system. Your PC is on the 4th level of your building which only you and your colleagues can enter. Now if someone from floor 2 wants to access your PC, they will follow you to your floor, and as soon as you put in your biometric information to access your workstation, they will snoop in! Through tailgating, a non-authorized individual tries to follow the personnel with access and snoops in on their first opportunity. They try to get physical access to the system or data available to use it for their leverage or simply destroy it for other users.
Piggybacking is another term that you may compare with tailgating. However, there is a slight difference.
Difference between Tailgaiting and Piggybacking
- Tailgating happens when someone gains access to a restricted area or system independently. Piggybacking involves someone with authority.
- In Tailgating, you are followed by the individual who wants access to your files without you knowing. While piggybacking, someone with authority to access your area holds the door for the attacker so they can enter and gain access to your system.
If you work in an organization with an open-door policy and sensitive information is involved, you are prone to tailgating attacks. So yes, you should be worried. However, more importantly, you should be attentive to these attacks. People nowadays have even combined these tailgating attacks with modern cyber attacks.
Due to the lack of time, the attackers now simply install malware on your system and gain remote access to it to comb through your data later. It sounds like a scene from a movie, but it is not!
Tailgating is real, and you should be worried about it!
How to Stay Safe From Tailgating?
There is no other way to stay safe from tailgating than to keep your eyes open. This is why minimizing the tailgating attacks on their premise is the biggest concern for many companies. However, it all depends on team member awareness and the code of conduct being followed in an organization.
You see, these attackers take pride in misusing basic human etiquette. For instance, keeping the door open for someone walking right behind you is a common courtesy. However, the same should not be true when someone is unauthorized to access your floor. Attackers make the most of this human tendency and enter even the areas they cannot access. So, to be safe from tailgating, you need a systematic authority classification and awareness. When you know how an attacker attacks, they are more likely to handle the situation efficiently.
Examples of Tailgating Attacks & What You Should Do To Prevent Them
Here are a few ways an attacker might use a tailgating attack and what you should do in such situations –
- An attacker might follow you back to your system so they can access your floor without worrying about getting caught. If you have the courtesy to leave the door open for someone walking behind you, it might cost you all the data.
- An attacker might come to your floor or desk disguised as a delivery guy or someone else. Hence, to avoid such scenarios giving instructions to leave deliveries with the security staff is better.
- An attacker might ask you to open the door as a favor. The favor might be asked based on how many items they hold or simply to meet you. If it is not someone you know or trusts, do not let them in without proper authorization.
- An attacker might fake that they have lost their ID or access card to trick you into letting them in. In such cases, the best thing to do is to inform your administrator so that they can handle the situation better.
- An attacker might follow you to your desk, trying to help you with stuff in your hands. In such cases, do not lead them straight through your desk or an area they are not authorized to go to. Take their help until you find someone from the same department as you.
There can be N number of scenarios that one might encounter. The fundamental thing to remember is to not let anyone unauthorized or unknown around your system. Since tailgating is a physical, social engineering attack, your employees’ social skills can put it to rest.
How to Minimize the Impact of Tailgating Attacks?
Understandably, an employee can only sometimes be present at their desk. So, if you fall for the trap and someone gets access to your system even after taking all the precautions, there are some things you can do to ensure that the attacker gets nothing out of your system.
Here are some tips to help you minimize the impact of tailgating.
- Always keep your desktop locked when you leave your desk. If you are the employer, make it mandatory for your employees to do so.
- Never leave your passwords written on the notepad or anywhere else on the desk.
- Keep changing your passwords in a fixed time interval so it is hard to guess for anyone.
- There have been cases when attackers have used LNK files to induce malware. So, always use a dedicated security suite on your PC. This way, even if someone tries introducing malware on your computer, it is detected instantly. For instance, you can use T9 antivirus, which provides 360-degree protection from malware and viruses.
- Ensure that none of your crucial data lies on the desktop or in the open. Keep classified data hidden so that even if an attacker is in, they cannot find the files.
Imply these effective tips on your system, and you will surely be able to keep your data safe even if there’s a slight error in security. Installing a security program is a must if you have sensitive data on your computer. Hence, the first thing you should do after reading the post is download T9 antivirus software and run a scan on your computer. It can scan if your PC has tempered files or induced malware.
The process of using the T9 Antivirus is quite simple –
- Download the application on your computer and install it.
You can find the option to start a scan on the home screen.
Run a quick scan and wait for the results!
Besides these scans, you have real-time security shields for online and offline viruses, which helps you stay protected against malicious cyber attacks like phishing, smishing, baiting, & whaling. It is one of the ways an antivirus can protect you from hackers and attackers.
Taking precautions is not a choice but a necessity. Ensure you take care of your PC security and avoid tailgating issues at your workplace. That is all for this one, catch you in the next! Be safe.