Skip main navigation

Understanding Tailgating

In this video, you will learn about tailgating.
In this video, we’re talking about understanding tailgating into video number two. Now, what is tailgating? Tailgating is essentially, if an individual follows you past a secure door without authorization. If an individual is following you past a checkpoint or locked gate in a vehicle or any form of an individual or group of people that follow behind you to bypass the area that they should have used some sort of form of authentication. And authentication can be a key, a key card, an ID, anything like that, in order to get past a locked door, a gate, into a building, past the security checkpoint, et cetera. And it’s a pretty common practise.
A lot of times, you’ll see people just fall right in behind you. But is it really a problem? So according to, more than half of the respondents said they interviewed believed that the cost of the breach from tailgating to be approximately $150,000 and up. Others say it’s too high to be measured. Now, why is this so effective? So essentially, people are inherently nice. If you’re walking into a building and someone’s right behind you, people tend to hold the door open for them. Or sometimes, people feel obligated. If a person asks you to hold the door to let them in, people tend to comply with the request. Again, people tend to be nice about that.
Sometimes, people just aren’t paying attention. Someone will walk in, and someone walking right behind them even, though it’s a secure area. And people don’t really care or pay attention to that a lot of times. Sometimes, it can be social engineering attacks. Social engineering is a very powerful form of attack. And it’s highly effective in tailgating. Things like if a group of people are outside the building smoking and someone walks up to the group, maybe ask for a cigarette, or maybe hands someone a cigarette, just sort of smoking and talking with the group. And when everyone’s done, everyone walks back in the building and that person just keeps a conversation going and falls right in. That’s a form of tailgating.
And that is actually a legitimate way that certain people used to get inside buildings. Again, using social engineering. So what can we do to prevent this? Well, one thing we could do is policy. If someone tries to come in, you go through a secure door and someone asks you, hey, could you hold the door open? You can explain to that individual
that there’s a company policy: unfortunately, everyone needs to use a key card or their ID to come in. You can apologise. You can be polite about it. But tell them, “I’m sorry. I can’t let you in. Company policy forbids it. You’re going to have to use your ID or badge.” If the person says, “Well, I forgot my key. It’s in the car or it’s inside the office. But if you buzz me in, I’ll go run over and grab it.” Again, that can be a form of social engineering.
So if someone said they forgot their badge, their key, what you could do is you could escort them to the security booth or to the receptionist if there is one at the front desk. And you could tell them, “This person will be able to help you get into the building.” Be mindful. Be mindful of who’s trying to enter behind you. Did that person buzz in? Are they falling right in behind you without using their authentication to get in? And report. Don’t be afraid to report tailgating. If you see someone tailgating in that didn’t do what they were supposed to, don’t be afraid to report it.
Because again, we did see those statistics: $150,000 and up lost to tailgating. So these are all serious problems that can be easily mitigated. So that was all about tailgating. Pretty short video, but very important. Now, in the next video, we’re going to be talking about dumpster diving.

In this video, you will learn about tailgating. Tailgating is when an individual can pass a secure door, checkpoint, or locked gate without authorization.

Here are some ways you can prevent tailgating:

  • if someone tailgates you, explain security policies (e.g. they must have an ID to enter)
  • if tailgaters claim to have forgotten their ID, escort them to security
  • try to be conscious of who is behind you when you enter a secure place
  • don’t be afraid to report suspected tailgating

Reflect and share: Now that you have learnt about tailgating and why it can be an effective technique, what actions will you take to prevent tailgating?

This article is from the free online

Cyber Security Foundations: Why Cyber Security is Important

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now