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What Is A Tailgating Attack? – How To Protect Yourself From Cyber Tailgating In 2023

What is tailgating?

In today’s digital age, the security landscape is constantly evolving, with new threats emerging regularly. One such threat that individuals and organizations need to be aware of is a tailgating attack. This article explores the concept of tailgating attacks, their types, potential consequences, and measures to prevent them.


In cybersecurity, a tailgating attack is when someone unauthorized follows an authorized person to get into a restricted area. It exploits the trust placed in individuals with authorized access, allowing the attacker to bypass security measures and gain entry. Understanding tailgating attacks is crucial in protecting sensitive information and maintaining robust security protocols.

Types of Attacks

Tailgating attacks can be classified into two main types: physical tailgating and cyber tailgating.

Physical Tailgating

Physical tailgating occurs when an unauthorized individual physically follows an authorized person through secured doors or checkpoints. This type of attack is commonly seen in offices, data centers, and other restricted areas. Attackers may blend in with a group of authorized personnel or take advantage of a distracted employee to gain entry.

Examples of physical tailgating include an unauthorized person entering a secure facility by following an employee through a controlled entrance or an individual posing as a delivery person to gain access to an office space.

Cyber Tailgating

While physical tailgating involves unauthorized physical entry, cyber tailgating focuses on unauthorized virtual access. In this type of attack, the attacker gains access to secure systems or networks by exploiting vulnerabilities in digital infrastructure. This can occur through techniques such as social engineering, phishing, or exploiting weak passwords.

An example of cyber tailgating is when an attacker gains access to a company’s network by using stolen credentials or manipulating an authorized user into divulging sensitive information through deceptive means.

Common Targets of Tailgating

Tailgating attacks can target both individuals and organizations. Individuals who often access restricted areas, such as employees with access to secure facilities, are vulnerable to physical tailgating. Similarly, organizations that have assets, intellectual property, or confidential data are at risk of being targeted by cyber tailgating attacks.

Risks and Consequences of Tailgating

The risks and consequences associated with tailgating attacks can be significant. By gaining unauthorized access, attackers can compromise sensitive information, steal assets, or sabotage critical systems. Physical tailgating can lead to unauthorized entry, theft, or even acts of violence, while cyber tailgating can result in data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage.

Prevention Measures

Protecting against tailgating attacks requires a proactive approach.

To prevent tailgating attacks, individuals and organizations should implement the following measures:

  1. Access Control Systems: Implement robust access control systems that require multiple layers of authentication, such as keycards, biometric scans, or PIN codes, to restrict entry to authorized individuals only.
  2. Security Awareness Training: Conduct regular security awareness training sessions to educate employees and individuals about the risks associated with tailgating attacks. Teach them to be vigilant and recognize suspicious behavior.
  3. Visitor Management Procedures: Establish strict visitor management procedures, including the issuance of visitor badges and escort policies, to make sure that unauthorized individuals cannot enter restricted areas without proper supervision.
  4. Physical Security Measures: Enhance physical security by installing surveillance cameras, alarms, and security personnel to track and respond to suspicious activities promptly.
  5. Cybersecurity Measures: Implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and regular software updates, to prevent cyber tailgating attacks.
  6. Clear Security Policies: Develop and enforce clear security policies that outline the expected behavior of individuals within the organization. This includes instructions on not allowing unauthorized individuals to follow them into restricted areas.
  7. Regular Security Audits: Conduct regular security audits to identify any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in existing security protocols. Address these issues promptly to minimize the risk of tailgating attacks.
  8. Employee Vigilance: Encourage employees to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities or individuals they encounter. Foster a culture of security where everyone takes responsibility for maintaining a secure environment.
  9. Collaboration and Reporting: Promote collaboration between employees, security personnel, and management to share information and promptly report any incidents or security breaches related to tailgating attacks.
  10. Continuous Monitoring: Continuously track access logs, surveillance footage, and cybersecurity systems to detect any unauthorized access attempts or suspicious behavior.
  11. Regular Security Assessments: Conduct regular security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and address them before they can be exploited by attackers.
  12. Physical Barriers: Install physical barriers like turnstiles, security gates, or mantraps to prevent unauthorized individuals from tailgating authorized personnel.
  13. Security Culture: Foster a strong security culture within the organization by promoting the importance of following security protocols, being mindful of tailgating risks, and creating a sense of shared responsibility for maintaining a secure environment.
  14. Periodic Training Refreshers: Conduct periodic training refreshers to make sure that employees stay updated on the latest security practices and remain vigilant against tailgating attacks.
  15. Regular Review of Policies: Regularly review and update security policies and procedures to adapt to evolving threats and make sure they remain effective in preventing tailgating attacks.
tailgating attack


These types of attacks are a risk to people and organizations, both physically and in cyberspace. Understanding attacks and risks makes individuals and organizations more secure. This includes preventing tailgating attacks.

Remember, security is a collective effort that requires constant vigilance, proactive measures, and a commitment to maintaining a secure environment.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Can tailgating attacks only occur in physical environments?

No, tailgating attacks can also occur in virtual or digital environments through techniques like social engineering or phishing, known as cyber tailgating.

Q2: Are tailgating attacks common in organizations?

Tailgating attacks can occur in organizations of all sizes and industries. It is important for organizations to be aware of this threat and take appropriate measures to prevent such attacks.

Q3: How can I recognize a tailgating attempt?

Signs of a tailgating attempt may include an individual attempting to closely follow an authorized person through a secure door or checkpoint without proper authentication, or someone attempting to gain access to restricted areas without a valid reason or proper identification.

Q4: What should I do if I suspect a tailgating?

If you suspect a tailgating attack, it is essential to prioritize your safety and the security of the area. Immediately notify security personnel or the appropriate authorities about your suspicions. Do not confront the suspicious individual yourself.

Q5: Are there any technological solutions available to prevent tailgating ?

Yes, there are advanced technological solutions available to enhance security and prevent tailgating attacks. These solutions include biometric access control systems, facial recognition technologies, and intelligent surveillance systems that can detect tailgating attempts and raise alarms.

Q6: Can tailgating attacks be prevented entirely?

You can reduce the risk of tailgating attacks by using physical security measures, cybersecurity protocols, and employee awareness.

Q7: What are the legal consequences of a tailgating attack?

The legal consequences of a tailgating attack can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the attack. Often, tailgating attacks can be considered a form of unauthorized access or trespassing, which can lead to criminal charges and legal penalties.

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