What is Tailgating in Cyber World


In the cyber world, “tailgating” refers to a deceptive social engineering technique used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to secure areas or systems. Also known as “piggybacking,” this tactic involves an individual without proper authorization following closely behind an authorized person to gain physical access to restricted areas or digital systems.

Physical Tailgating:

In the physical realm, tailgating occurs when an unauthorized individual exploits a momentary lapse in security by closely following an authorized person through a secure entry point, such as a locked door or access-controlled area. This could happen in office buildings, data centers, or any location with restricted access. The unauthorized person takes advantage of the trust placed in the authorized individual, effectively bypassing security measures.

Cyber Tailgating:

In the cyber world, tailgating takes on a different form. It refers to a social engineering technique where a hacker manipulates an individual’s trust to gain unauthorized access to digital systems, sensitive information, or networks.

a) Impersonation: Cyber tailgating often involves impersonation tactics. The attacker might pose as a trusted person, such as an employee, service technician, or delivery person. By pretending to be someone with legitimate access, the attacker can deceive individuals into granting them entry or sharing sensitive information.

b) Phishing Attacks: Another common form of cyber tailgating is through phishing attacks. Hackers send deceptive emails or messages, masquerading as reputable sources or trusted entities. The messages may request sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, or account details. When unsuspecting users provide the information, the attackers gain unauthorized access.

c) Shoulder Surfing: Cyber tailgating can also involve observing or eavesdropping on an authorized person’s actions. By physically or virtually observing someone entering passwords, accessing secure systems, or performing sensitive tasks, the attacker can later exploit that information to gain unauthorized access.

Preventing Cyber Tailgating:

To mitigate the risks associated with cyber tailgating, individuals and organizations can adopt several security measures:

1.) Awareness and Training: Educating employees and individuals about the dangers of tailgating and implementing regular training sessions can help raise awareness and promote a security-conscious culture.

2.) Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implementing MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring additional verification steps, such as a unique code or biometric authentication, to access digital systems or sensitive information.

3.) Strict Access Control: Maintaining strict access control measures, including physical security controls and secure entry points, helps prevent unauthorized individuals from entering restricted areas.

4.) Vigilance with Communication: Encourage individuals to verify the identity and authorization of unfamiliar or unexpected individuals seeking access to sensitive information or secure areas.

5.) Phishing Awareness: Promote phishing awareness and encourage individuals to scrutinize incoming messages, emails, and requests for sensitive information. Training individuals to recognize and report suspicious activities can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber tailgating attacks.


By understanding the tactics employed by cyber attackers and implementing robust security measures, individuals and organizations can protect themselves against the risks associated with cyber tailgating.

Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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