Spring is here, people are in high spirits, and everyone is getting out and about a bit more, including throughout the work day. This month we are focusing on the security topics of piggybacking or tailgating, which are common mechanisms used by thieves and hackers to gain unauthorized access to our physical spaces and locations. Here’s how to prevent it.

Tailgating occurs when an intruder sneaks into a protected zone with a person or a group of persons without their knowledge.

Piggybacking, on the other hand, happens when an intruder goes inside a location accompanied by a person who has access and who is fully aware of the fact that he lets in another person.

What does this look like?

  • An employee props open a door to their location, but does not monitor who uses it to access the location.
  • When an employee gives access to an unauthorized individual claiming to have forgotten their key, access card, etc.
  • When an unauthorized individual disguises themselves as a technician and convinces an employee to let them come in through a door that leads to a secure area.
  • When an unauthorized individual approaches a door that leads to a secure area carrying a large, heavy-looking object, such as a big cardboard box, and politely asks an employee to open and hold the door for them.

Why should you care?

  • Employee safety could be compromised.
  • The intruder could use the physical access to hack our information systems and gain access to confidential data.
  • Valuable goods such as computers, phones, mobile devices, etc. could be stolen.

What can you do to help?

  • Do not prop open doors to our buildings.
  • If you find a door that does not automatically close or has a broken lock, contact building maintenance.
  • If you find a door that is propped open, please close it.
  • Never hesitate to challenge unfamiliar people in your workplace or office building. People often avoid doing this as it makes them feel uncomfortable or rude, or they are afraid they will be mistaken. Circumvent this discomfort by approaching the encounter as an opportunity to meet someone new, and address unknown individuals with a friendly greeting and question as opposed to a confrontational or accusatory manner. Employees or visitors with a legitimate right to be there will not be offended by a friendly approach, and will likely respect your commitment to workplace security. Unauthorized individuals will shy away from any sort of attention, and are likely to leave on their own if they are directly addressed.
  • Report any suspicious individuals.

Need to report something? Contact your local safety or security team, or the IT Support Center at 970-754-4357.