Tailgating cybersecurity describes preventing a cyber attack where an unauthorized person tries to gain access to a secured area or system by following someone who has legitimate access. This can be done physically, by following someone through an access point, or electronically, by trying to piggyback on their session or using their credentials.
Not knowing how to prevent tailgating cybersecurity threats can spell disaster for merchants of all sizes and in all industries. These threats will harm more than just your digital infrastructure. They compromise your customers’ payment and personal data, significantly harming brand reputation. This is why putting measures to prevent tailgating cybersecurity is an important part of a broader ecommerce fraud prevention strategy.
This article educates you about the cyber security threats you face, and how to prevent them, so you can protect your business.
What are tailgating cybersecurity threats?
Tailgating cybersecurity threats are activities and events from an external and unauthorized source that access, steal, compromise, or disturb business and customer data, digital infrastructure, and online presence. They are considered a form of social engineering attack.
Intentional attacks come from organized criminals that do things like steal sensitive trade secrets and use them as leverage for blackmail. Employees may be an unintentional cybersecurity threat–for example, by having weak passwords. Physical tailgating cybersecurity threats, such as unauthorized access to a corporate office, are also very common.
It’s important for cybersecurity professionals to remember that tailgating threats are also not all intentional or planned. As an example, natural disasters can provide an opportunity for cyber attacks as criminals exploit vulnerable systems while the people responsible for digital defense are occupied with emergency response.
Who is vulnerable to tailgating cybersecurity threats?
Large organizations that see frequent employee churn are the most vulnerable. Companies in shared offices with no physical barrier to infrastructure (computers, phones, etc.) also suffer frequent attacks.
Businesses of any size that don’t have a policy of locking laptops, using two factor authentication, or training employees to recognize strategies like phishing attacks remain vulnerable to tailgating cybersecurity threats as well.
What are common examples of tailgating cybersecurity threats?
Outside of physical access, the most common type of tailgating attack is to find ways to socially engineer an identity through deception.
Smishing is a type of cyber attack where criminals send fake text messages in an attempt to trick victims into giving them personal information or money. The text messages may look like they’re from a legitimate source, like a bank or a company, and they may even use brand logos or other familiar images to make them appear more convincing. But make no mistake, smishing is a dangerous form of fraud that can have serious consequences.
If you receive a smishing text, do not reply to it or click on any links. Just delete it. And if you’re ever unsure about whether a text message is legitimate, contact the company or organization directly to confirm before taking any action.
The goal of a whaling attack is to gain access to sensitive information or funds by impersonating a senior executive or other authority figure.
Whaling attacks are often carried out by email, using carefully crafted messages that appear to be from a legitimate sender. The messages may contain attachments or links that lead the recipient to a malicious website. Once the victim clicks on the link or opens the attachment, their computer can be infected with malware or they may be directed to a fake website that looks identical to the legitimate site.
Baiting is a cyber security term that refers to the practice of luring someone into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious email attachment. The goal of baiting is to infect the person’s computer with malware.
While bait can take many forms, common baiting tactics include sending phishing emails and creating fake websites. Phishing emails are designed to look like they’re from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a well-known company. These emails often contain a link that takes the person to a fake website that looks identical to the real one. Once on the fake website, the person is typically asked to enter sensitive information, such as their login credentials or credit card number.
Cyber criminals also use baiting to spread malware through the use of fake websites. These websites may offer free downloads, such as music, movies, or games. However, the downloads are actually malicious software that can infect the person’s computer.
Pretexting is a type of cyberattack where attackers pose as someone else in order to gain access to sensitive information. By impersonating a trusted person or organization, pretexting can fool victims into revealing confidential information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
What do tailgating cybersecurity threats look like?
Tailgating in cybersecurity often take the form of criminals tricking employees into providing sensitive information. There are a few ways this happens:
Asking for help
Criminals will often send emails to employees pretending to be someone else in the business looking for information to complete an important task. For example, asking for payment information like credit cards and account numbers in order to make a payment for a past due invoice.
By impersonating a vendor such as a restaurant or third-party service provider, criminals can physically enter a building. Once there, they will look for unsecured equipment to steal or download information.
Working in public areas like cafes or libraries is now common. Criminals can quickly access systems if employees leave their technology unattended to go to the bathroom or order a cup of coffee.
How to improve security to prevent tailgating cybersecurity attacks
By raising awareness and implementing tailgating cybersecurity attack prevention measures, merchants can decrease the threat to their systems and data.
Security to physical spaces
For physical buildings, companies should have a strict policy in place that only allows authorized personnel to enter secured areas. They should also have a system in place that requires employees to badge in and out of these areas. This will help to track who is coming and going and will make it more difficult for unauthorized people to gain access.
Another way to prevent tailgating is by installing security cameras. This way, if someone does try to tailgate, they will be caught on camera and can be dealt with accordingly. By having a strict policy in place and tracking who is coming and going, they can help to keep their business secure.
Biometric tailgating cybersecurity is a tactic used to limit access to a physical building, or to protect online accounts and systems. They work by verifying someone’s identity using physical or behavioral characteristics. This can include things like fingerprint scanners, iris recognition, and voice recognition.
Educate employees on tailgating cybersecurity
Ensure employees are educated on how to identify and prevent social engineering and tailgating. By educating employees on these security protocols, you can help to prevent potential security breaches.
An employee’s vulnerability to manipulation by a clever cybercriminal negates the investment in a robust cybersecurity infrastructure. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, so it is important to keep up with the latest security measures.
This covers a wide range of tailgating cybersecurity measures designed to maintain secure data through data governance processes. First, protect passwords–make sure strong passwords are used and keep them secure. Second, make sure computers are secure by using a firewall and antivirus software. Third, don’t share confidential information with unauthorized individuals. This includes sharing passwords and other login information.
By being aware of your surroundings, using physical security measures, and keeping strong policies around online data and account access, you can help to prevent tailgating cybersecurity threats and keep your business safe.