Tailgating is going through a door without authorization. How does tailgating work? What are some of the factors used by successful tailgaters?

Today, people are lazy and forget to close doors, so many doors are equipped with an automatic closing mechanism. This has further promoted the habit of "open-and-forget" - especially if there are other people around. And in the age of litigation (especially in some large first-world countries), no doormaker would want to risk a lawsuit by someone who got caught in the doorway - so the doors close slowly and if something/somebody obstructs the movement, they will not close at all. 

People are also (mostly) nice. If someone follows you, most of us are told either to let them go first or at least pass the door to the next person. The question if the person is actually authorized to pass the doorway seems to be best left to the security staff. Other factors in tailgating include:

  • Picking the right door - while the main front door may be heavily guarded, there may be side entrances used occasionally by staff members to have a cigarette (especially as smoking inside gets banned). Blending in (see also the next point) may get one in without having to deal with any security measures. 
  • Dressing for success - here, it means picking a right look for the targetted institution. Wearing a toque blanche and a white outfit would work at a large shopping mall with several restaurants, a technician with a hardhat, a toolbox and some fancy gadgets would likewise be a good persona to enter a telecom office building. 
  • ID badges work, even fake ones - with today's technology, these are surprisingly easy to reproduce. Wearing a camera-ready mobile phone and clicking the button when passing someone wearing an ID card may be a working solution. 
  • Let Mohammad come to the mountain - if the attacker approaches a group of smokers at a side door, it would be suspicious. If he or she 'happens' to be there before others, much less so.



Awareness again - people must recognize the problem and if necessary, overcome their 'need to be nice'. Occasional 'raids' on more vulnerable spots by security personnel may be an idea (to catch those with lax manners). 

Likewise the protocols - quite often, workers spotting an intruder do not simply know who to inform. In the worse cases, they would keep silent just to "keep themselves out of hot water".

Technological means include better doors and good IDs, but also security cameras to capture the traffic at entrances.

Source: https://beta.wikiversity.org/wiki/Security_and_Privacy_in_a_Networked_World/No_Tech_Hacking
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Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2021, 2:51 PM