Cybersecurity encompasses dozens of security measures to protect against cyber attacks. While some of these security measures cover all types of cyber attacks, others focus on specific types of cyber attacks like tailgating. Tailgating has become increasingly common in recent years. Not to be confused with the dangerous driving activity of the same name, tailgating is a type of cyber attack. What is tailgating exactly, and how does it work?

What Is Tailgating?

Also known as piggybacking, tailgating is a type of cyber attack in which an authorized user, such as an employee, unknowingly gives a bad actor access to a protected system. It’s known as “tailgating” because the bad actor essentially follows the authorized user into the protected system. Bad actors often consist of hackers or other individuals who seek to cause malicious harm. With tailgating, they can gain access to databases, online accounts, networks and other protected systems.

How Tailgating Works

During a tailgating attack, a bad actor will take advantage of an authorized user to gain access to a protected system. There are different ways in which it can be carried out. Some forms of tailgating involve the use of a keylogger. The bad actor may deploy a keylogger on the authorized user’s computer, after which the bad actor will capture his or her login credentials to a protected system.

Tailgating can also be carried out through physical means. Bad actors, for instance, can physically follow an authorized user to his or her computer. After the user leaves, they can take control of his or her computer. Regardless, all forms of tailgating involve a bad actor taking advantage of an authorized user to gain access to a protected system. The bad actor will follow the user to the protected system, after which the bad actor will perform a malicious activity.

Ways to Prevent Tailgating

You can prevent tailgating in several ways. Setting user privileges, for example, can lower the risk of tailgating attacks. If you have dozens of employees, you can set user privileges for them. User privileges grant users the right to perform specific tasks while prohibiting them from performing other tasks.

Because tailgating attacks often involve malware, such as keyloggers, you can use antivirus software to prevent tailgating. Running antivirus software on all your devices will give you peace of mind knowing that they are protected from malware, which could otherwise be used to carry out a tailgating attack.

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