Ever walked through a door and held it open for the person behind? Common courtesy, right? But in cybersecurity, this seemingly innocent act has another name:TAILGATING.


While it might not seem like a big deal when walking through a door, this same behaviour can lead to serious security breaches in the digital world. Tailgating, in cybersecurity, is when someone gains unauthorised access to restricted areas or information by ‘piggybacking’ on someone who has legitimate access. It’s a simple concept that plays a huge role in the safety of our personal and professional online information. Understanding tailgating is the first step in recognizing the subtle ways our security can be compromised, which is why it is so important in cybersecurity. So without further ado, get your notepads ready, and let’s talk tailgating…




When we translate tailgating into CYBERSECURITY terms, the principle is the same but applies to digital areas. Here, tailgating might not involve a physical act of following someone, but the aim of it is quite similar: gaining unauthorised access. For example, an unauthorised user might gain access to restricted digital areas by exploiting a session that an authorised user has left unsecured or by manipulating the authorised user into unknowingly granting them access. This could be anything from a Zoom Call to entering bank accounts. (Or maybe even CIA files…)


This form of tailgating is particularly concerning as one can manipulate individuals’ trust into breaching security protocols. It highlights the importance of strict adherence to security procedures, such as not sharing passwords or leaving computer sessions open and unattended. Awareness and training are key defences against tailgating, teaching individuals to recognise and prevent seemingly small actions from becoming massive security risks. In cybersecurity, vigilance against tailgating helps protect sensitive data and systems from unauthorised access, maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of digital information.


So next time you log-in to your desktop, make sure NO-ONE ELSE is peeking down your shoulder ready to attack.



The risks of tailgating in cybersecurity are countless and can lead to serious consequences. When unauthorised individuals gain access to secure systems or data, it can result in data breaches, theft of private information, and EVEN financial loss.

One REAL-WORLD example of the risks associated with tailgating is the infamous ‘TARGET’ data breach in 2013, where hackers gained access to the retailer’s network through a third-party vendor (e.g. suppliers, manufacturers etc). Although not a case of tailgating in the traditional sense, it demonstrates how attackers can exploit weak links in security to gain unauthorised access, leading to the theft of millions of customers’ credit and debit card information. Just imagine you were a customer there. It’s NOT a great feeling, is it?


And in 2019, a staggering 71% of people believed their company was at high risk of a data breach specifically due to tailgating. The Infrastructure Security and Resilience (ISR) Forum gives its opinion on the financial impact, with 41% of security leaders estimating that JUST ONE incident of tailgating gone wrong could cost a company anywhere from $500,000 to a whopping $2 million!

These incidents really go to show the importance of awareness and prevention measures in cybersecurity.That being said, let’s quickly move on to how we can prevent tailgating from occurring…




Preventing tailgating attacks, both physical and digital, requires a combination of strong security policies, employee education, and the right technology. For organisations looking to safeguard their data and systems, here are a few practical steps you can follow:


  1. Managing Access Systems: Implement robust access control systems that ensure ONLY authorised individuals can enter physical premises or access digital resources. This could involve key cards for physical entry and secure login credentials for digital access.


2. Security Awareness Training: Regularly educate employees about the IMPORTANCE of security protocols, including the RISKS associated with tailgating. Training should emphasise the need to not hold doors open for strangers and to not share login credentials or leave devices unattended. (You don’t wanna hold your house door open for a robber, do you?)

Researchers from Stanford University and a top cybersecurity organisation found that approximately 88% of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake. So make sure you don’t fall within that percentage, otherwise the repercussions are EXTREMELY COSTLY.


3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): For digital systems, use MFA to add an EXTRA LAYER of security. Even if an unauthorised user tries to tailgate their way into a system, MFA requires a second form of verification, making unauthorised access significantly more difficult.


4. Surveillance Systems: You can install cameras and monitoring systems at critical entry points to deter tailgaters any attempts they tried making. In digital systems, you could use logging and monitoring tools to track access and identify suspicious activity.


5. Clear Policies and Procedures: Develop and enforce clear security policies that outline the steps employees should take if they suspect a tailgating attempt or breach. This includes reporting procedures and immediate actions to reduce potential damage.


If you’re able to combine these key strategies to your organisations, tailgaters won’t even be able to take a sniff into your database, let alone try tailgating. 



As you navigate through the digital world, remember that your awareness and actions play a pivotal role in not just your security but in maintaining the integrity of the vast digital landscape we all share. Understanding the ins and outs of tactics like tailgating is crucial in building a safer, more secure digital future for everyone.

If you’ve made it thus far, we REALLY appreciate it, and hope it bridged that knowledge gap you had ten minutes ago.



If you’re serious about a career as a cybersecurity OR this article helped out A LOT, the UTE conference in Cebu, Philippines is a no-brainer to attend to. This isn’t just any old event; it’s your ticket to really get a taste of the world of cybersecurity, as well as other upcoming topics that could POTENTIALLY impact your future. PICTURE THIS: a place where you can get the latest info, try things out for yourself, and listen to some of the top players in cybersecurity, all ready to share their knowledge with you. And it’s all happening on the August 23rd and 24th 2024 in Cebu.


And you WON’T just be sitting through baseless note-taking sessions. NO. Rather, you’ll be joining a community where each individual gets the chance to learn and take part in workshops and network with the highest-level of individuals. So, here’s your chance: Secure your spot NOW and be part of the future of cybersecurity. Your future into this promising and exciting field begins with one ticket to the UTE Conference.