Example of Tailgating as a Social Engineering cyber attack
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Tailgating is an example of piggybacking. It is a sort of social engineering attack that is somewhat different from the others due to its virtually completely bodily in its attack magnitude.
Any such assault entails an attacker asking for entry to a restricted space or content of a company’s physical or digital files. An example seen in tailgating is an attacker asking staff to “hold the door” to a restricted space due to forgetting their entry or id card and even merely asking staff to borrow their machine.
What is a Tailgating attack?
A tailgating attack is said to be a social engineering effort by the cyber threat actors who trick the staff of an organisation into assisting them in gaining illegal or unwarranted access to the company’s work environment. Tailgating attacks, a subset of social engineering cyber threats, continue to pose significant risks to organizations.
Tailgating is also defined as a widespread security breach in which unauthorized personnel (cyber criminals) get passage to the premises of an organization either accidentally or forcefully by manipulating the authorized user, thereby causing huge damage to the organization through a data breach, data manipulation or theft and malware attack by the deployment of malicious software geared towards stealing confidential information for malicious purposes.
The attacker tends to request entry into a restricted area where software-based electronic devices control access. Since only the people who are authorized can have access, cybercriminals will then confuse, trick or fool one of the people with authorized access by following the staff behind to gain entry.
Employees put on ID cards or badges in most organizations within the business premises for ease of identification by passers-by who get to know that they belong to such a company.
This is no way to restrict cybercriminals from being one step forward in manipulation and fraudulent practices by managing to find ways to enter the restricted areas even with the high-security regulations.
Example of Tailgating Attack
Cyber attackers are adopting many ways to defraud unsuspecting folks to gain unauthorized entry into the restricted company environment.
For instance, a social engineer can fake being a supply agent from an e-commerce firm or somebody from a food vendor with some boxes in their hands as an excuse to ask workers to open the door.
The social engineer would fake to make it look uneasy to open the door and ask any approved individual to assist him as a courtesy to get the right to enter the restricted premises.
Another way Tailgaters enter an unauthorized place is by hanging around places where people engage in tea breaks and smoking. The Social engineer would appear like every other staff, engaging in discussion with any workers.
At the end of the break, the social engineer will still engage the worker in dialogue and consequently follow him/her to enter the building as the staff opens the door, unsuspecting.
From the above mode of operation (Tailgating), it is evident that cybercriminals plan their attacks carefully within the social engineering space.
Ways of Preventing Tailgating
Most organisations tend to be too busy that they overlook Tailgating activities. It is important to think about how the mindset of cybercriminals works and the prevailing vulnerabilities that require speedy attention.
To keep vigilant and remain secure, the points outlined below can be followed by organisations to prevent social engineering attacks, especially Tailgating:
- Do not allow people you do not know to follow you into your workplace. Sometimes, they may claim to be friends to gain access. Make sure such persons access the place with their credentials.
- Ensure your system and all other devices are locked before leaving the work premises.
- If any stranger claims to come from any place for supply, you should not allow such persons to gain entrance with you.
- Avoid misplacing your identity card or your means of accessing your work environment. Tailgaters may take undue advantage of this. Always keep them safe and highly secure.
- Implement cybersecurity measures in your workplace to avoid potential dangers in the work environment.
- Train and retrain your workers on these security traits and how to overcome or avoid them.
Statistics on Examples of Tailgating Attacks
Below are statistics and examples that highlight the prevalence and impact of tailgating attacks.
Frequency of Tailgating Attacks:
According to cybersecurity reports, tailgating attacks occur in 32% of reported security incidents. These attacks often go unreported, making it challenging to estimate the true frequency.
Impact on Organizations:
Tailgating attacks cost organizations an average of $1.2 million per incident. The financial impact includes losses due to data breaches, theft, and malware infections.
Common Entry Points:
Office entrances and exits are the most common entry points for tailgating attacks, accounting for 75% of reported incidents.
Other entry points include parking garages, loading docks, and secure areas within the premises.
Methods Employed by Tailgaters:
Impersonation: 45% of tailgating attacks involve the tailgater posing as a delivery person, maintenance worker, or a fellow employee.
Social Engineering: In 28% of cases, tailgaters use social engineering tactics such as engaging in casual conversations or asking for assistance.
Examples of Tailgating Attacks:
a. Delivery Person Impersonation:
A tailgater dressed as a delivery person approaches an office building with a package.
They claim to have a delivery for an employee and ask to be let inside.
Once inside, the tailgater gains access to secure areas and possibly steals sensitive data.
b. Maintenance Worker Ruse:
A tailgater wearing a uniform resembling that of maintenance staff enters a building.
They carry a toolbox or equipment, giving the impression that they are there for a repair.
Employees assume they have legitimate reasons to be there, allowing them to access restricted areas.
c. Badge Borrowing:
A tailgater approaches an employee, claiming to have forgotten their ID badge.
They ask to borrow the employee’s badge to gain access to secure areas.
The unsuspecting employee hands over their badge, granting unauthorized access.
d. Casual Conversation Approach:
A tailgater strikes up a friendly conversation with an employee near an access-controlled door.
As the conversation continues, the employee swipes their access card to enter the secure area.
The tailgater seizes the opportunity to enter without authorization.
Industries Vulnerable to Tailgating:
Healthcare and financial services sectors are particularly vulnerable to tailgating attacks due to the need for strict access controls to protect sensitive patient and financial data.
Tailgating attacks are not limited to specific regions but occur globally.
Reports suggest that urban areas with dense corporate offices may see higher instances of tailgating.
Employee Awareness and Training:
Organizations that provide regular cybersecurity awareness training to employees report a 40% reduction in tailgating incidents.
Implementing biometric authentication systems for access control.
Enhancing employee awareness through training programs.
Conducting regular security audits and reviewing access logs for anomalies.
Installing security cameras at entrances and exits to monitor access.
Using turnstiles and mantraps to prevent unauthorized access.
Tailgating can result in legal consequences for both the tailgater and the organization.
In cases of data breaches or theft, organizations may face fines and legal action.
Summary of Example of Tailgating
Tailgating was defined earlier as a widespread security breach in which unauthorized personnel (cyber criminals) gain access to the work environment by force or accidentally take undue advantage of unsuspecting staff by manipulating the same (staff), thereby causing huge damage to the organization through data breach/loss, data manipulation or theft and malware attack by the deployment of malicious software geared towards stealing confidential information for malicious purposes. A good way of preventing this is being extremely careful of and about people around you when exiting and entering your workplace and using your gadgets.
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