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Understanding Tailgating in Cyber Security

by Marcin Wieclaw
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what is tailgating in cyber security

Tailgating is an undeniably covert but harmful security breach method that organizations must be aware of and actively work to mitigate. In the context of cybersecurity, tailgating occurs when an unauthorized individual gains access to a secure facility or system by following someone that has legitimate access.

This method of security breach can have severe consequences, including compromised data integrity and unauthorized access. It can also pose a severe threat to an organization’s reputation and financial well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Tailgating is a significant security breach method that can compromise an organization’s cybersecurity
  • Unauthorized individuals can gain access to secure facilities by following legitimate users
  • Tailgating can lead to compromised data integrity and unauthorized access
  • Organizations need to implement strict physical security measures, access control systems, and security awareness training to mitigate tailgating
  • Monitoring and evaluation are essential to detect and prevent tailgating incidents before they occur

What is Tailgating?

Tailgating is a form of security breach where an unauthorized person gains access to restricted areas by following closely behind an authorized person who has already been granted entry. In the context of cyber security, tailgating refers to physical access to a computer system, network, or data center without proper authorization.

This type of security breach occurs when an individual takes advantage of another person’s momentary lapse in security protocols or when an individual intentionally provides access to a non-authorized person. Tailgating is a low-tech tactic that can have high-impact consequences. Once an unauthorized person gains physical access to a system or location, they can steal data, install malware, or enable other forms of cyber attacks.

The potential consequences of tailgating include unauthorized access, theft of sensitive information, or damage to hardware. In addition to the immediate impact, tailgating can also lead to reputational damage, financial loss, and other legal consequences.

To prevent tailgating, organizations should implement strict physical security measures, including security personnel, access control systems, and security cameras. Security awareness training is also critical to ensure that employees are aware of the risks associated with tailgating and take appropriate precautions.

Risks of Tailgating in Cyber Security

Tailgating, a physical form of social engineering, can pose significant security risks in the context of cyber security. It involves an unauthorized person following an authorized individual into a restricted area without proper identification.

One of the major risks of tailgating is that it can compromise data integrity. With unauthorized access, tailgating can lead to theft of sensitive data or intellectual property. This can have significant financial consequences and can cause irreparable reputational damage to the organization.

Moreover, tailgating can potentially open doors for further security breaches. Attackers can use the information obtained from tailgating to launch more sophisticated attacks such as phishing or malware injection. This can lead to cascading consequences in terms of loss of data, productivity, and revenue.

The Impact of Tailgating on an Organization’s Financial Well-being

Tailgating incidents can result in significant financial losses for organizations. In addition to theft of valuable intellectual property, organizations also face the cost of investigating and mitigating the breach, potential legal fees and fines, and decreased productivity due to the breach. Organizations may also incur the cost of repairing their reputation in the market.

“Tailgating is a threat that must be taken seriously, as it can have serious financial ramifications for organizations of all sizes. It is important to implement strict security measures to prevent unauthorized physical access to restricted areas.”

Preventing Tailgating and Mitigating Risks

To prevent tailgating, organizations need to implement strict physical security measures, including access controls, CCTV surveillance, and physical barriers such as turnstiles and gates. In addition, organizations should provide regular security awareness training for employees to avoid falling prey to social engineering tactics such as tailgating.

Best Practices for Mitigating Tailgating Risks
Conduct security training to make employees aware of tailgating
Enforce strict access control policies, including identity verification and authentication
Implement strict physical security measures, including CCTV surveillance, turnstiles and gates
Deploy intrusion detection systems to detect and alert security personnel of unauthorized access attempts

In conclusion, tailgating is a covert security breach method that can have significant consequences for organizations. Appropriate security measures, including access controls, regular security awareness training, and strong physical security measures, must be put in place to mitigate this risk and safeguard organizations from potential financial and reputational damage.

Strategies to Mitigate Tailgating

As tailgating poses a significant threat to an organization’s cyber security, it’s crucial to implement effective measures to mitigate this security breach. Here are some strategies that can help:

1. Security awareness training

Employees are often the weakest link in the security chain, as they can unknowingly allow an unauthorized person to access secure areas. It’s essential to provide regular security awareness training to employees, educating them on the risks and consequences of tailgating and how to avoid it.

2. Access control systems

Access control systems are designed to prevent unauthorized access to secure areas. Implementing these systems can help prevent tailgating incidents by restricting access to authorized personnel only.

3. Physical security measures

Physical security measures such as security cameras, alarms, and security personnel can act as a deterrent to tailgating. By creating a visible security presence, unauthorized individuals are less likely to attempt to gain access to secure areas.

4. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation

Regular monitoring and evaluation can help detect and prevent tailgating incidents. This can involve reviewing security footage, conducting audits, and analyzing access logs to identify any irregularities.

By implementing these mitigation strategies, organizations can help protect their assets, reputation, and financial well-being from the risks of tailgating in cyber security.


What is tailgating in the context of cyber security?

Tailgating refers to the act of unauthorized individuals gaining access to a secure area by following closely behind an authorized person. In cyber security, it often involves physical access to sensitive areas or information, allowing unauthorized individuals to exploit security vulnerabilities.

What are the risks associated with tailgating in cyber security?

Tailgating poses significant risks to organizations’ cyber security. It can compromise data integrity, lead to unauthorized access, and potentially open doors for further security breaches. Additionally, tailgating incidents can damage an organization’s reputation and financial well-being.

How can organizations mitigate the risks of tailgating?

Organizations can implement various strategies to mitigate the risks of tailgating. These include conducting security awareness training to educate employees on the dangers of tailgating, implementing access control systems to restrict unauthorized access, and enforcing strict physical security measures such as ID badges and entry checkpoints. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation are also essential for detecting and preventing tailgating incidents.

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