What is Tailgating?

Tailgating or piggybacking is defined: When an unauthorized individual follows an authorized individual through a smart card protected door.

Tailgating can range from simply following a person through doors to putting on a disguise to trick people into opening doors. Delivery people, repair men, people struggling with big boxes, people who look busy and important… the list of ways to fool us into opening or holding doors are endless.

One of the most common and widespread security issues affecting universities today is a social engineering attack known as tailgating. This attack is when an unauthorized person follows an authorized individual to enter a secured area.

Tailgating is often utilized by criminals who take advantage of a helpful employee or student holding a door open for someone such as a visitor without a badge, or someone in a uniform appearing to be a worker. It may seem like a kind gesture and something you would do without thinking twice about, however, these lapses in security can negatively affect your safety and that of the WPI community. Data breaches, financial loss, theft or property destruction, as well as damage to the reputation of the university can all be committed by these tailgaters.

Due to the large size of our campus, it’s easy to assume that an individual entering a building is an employee, contractor, or student which is why these breaches are often so successful. Criminals know that most individuals will shy away from confronting a stranger as it can lead to an uncomfortable situation.


What you can do to prevent Tailgating and keep our campus safe:

  • Always be aware of anyone following you through a door especially into a smart card protected area.
  • Never hold open a door that requires smart card authentication to enter.
  • Report any suspicious individuals to Campus Police at (508) 831-5433.
  • Report any doors that do not automatically close or shut properly to Facilities at (508) 831-5500.