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In spy movies, it’s very common to see criminals use Tailgating and Piggybacking to pass over inner and outer security barriers, getting companies exposed to theft and sabotage.

It goes like this: A friendly employee keeps a door open to an unidentified visitor (mostly disguised as another employee). The lab, database, or other confidential room is open to this malicious individual capable of causing great harm to it. 

Have you seen it?

Let’s hope it stays in movies. Learn more about Tailgating and Piggybacking to avoid happening to you.


What is the Difference Between Tailgating & Piggybacking

Tailgating is the act of infiltrating somewhere without permission by following he/she with access. On the other hand, Piggybacking is taking advantage of an innocent to let him/her get in.

These two terms are often mixed and confused. Reputable online sources claim they’re the exact same thing… But they are clearly not.

Tailgating is more about brute-force while Piggybacking focuses on Social Engineering. After all,  it is easier and less risky to politely ask permission to an authorized member. 

Bigger companies, with thousands of employees, are highly-vulnerable to these two methods of infiltration. 

Is your company vulnerable as well?


How do Tailgating and Piggybacking Work?

These two may occur in the online or offline world, in a quite similar fashion. 

Physically, the criminal would identify those with higher authority, get close and sneak in or naturally interact with them. The idea here is to follow get access to the site with or without permission of the victim, to then steal, corrupt, or erase important devices and files within.

Also virtually, brute force is the most frequent, with Zero-day attacks climbing the ranks as most powerful. In the case of silent menaces, Trojan horse malware is hidden as files that are introduced into and executed on the company’s network.

You might think this technique is dumb and that no-one in your company would fall on it. And that’s what makes Tailgating and Piggybacking so dangerously common.

This is not the case, according to this survey, +70% of security executives thought they were vulnerable to security breaches by tailgating, each producing a loss close to $150,000.

Being said… Why do hackers and thieves execute Tailgating and Piggybacking?

Besides monetary reasons (stealing valuable information or devices), others might cause damage to your organization as a pure act of revenge or vandalism. 

A successful Tailgating and Piggybacking procedure could ruin an entire company and even cause physical damage.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at this real case of Tailgating and Piggybacking.

In 2019, a Chinese resident accessed a restricted area of the Mar-a-Lago Trump Resort.

She passed over the first-line staff by using the language barrier as her tool. When captured, it was reported that she carried “four cell phones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive, and a thumb drive containing malware.” 

Our imagination is there to guess what would happen if she never got caught that day. 

Take into account this was Presidential-level security. You can start now with the following security protocols, guaranteeing more probabilities to never let this happen to you. 


How to Prevent Tailgating & Piggybacking Cyberattacks

It’s kept clear that organizations must hold accountable and train their members and employees to minimize the risk of tailgating and piggybacking cyberattacks.

.These politics would cover restrictions both to access entry points and exit gates.

While the exact strategy to approach depends entirely on your physical and virtual design (should be consulted with a professional), the following 8 security systems could serve as a great starting point, independently of your model:

  1. Smart Cards
  2. Biometry
  3. Network Firewalls and Monitoring Tools
  4. Two-Factor Authentication
  5. Cloudflare
  6. Akismet Spam Manager
  7. Wordfence
  8. Jetpack

Even so, all the most advanced and costly security measures can be penetrated if someone else lets the “door open.

This is why awareness should be the ninth system you put in place to prevent infiltrations. More specifically, teaching members and employees to stay vigilant for suspicious characters (ex-employees included).

And you… Are you aware of the dangers that tailgating and piggybacking represent?

Don’t worry. Nothing will ever happen to you by staying vigilant.

But if you ever let someone in by mistake, we’ll jump right away to help you solve this emergency!