Tailgating (following someone into a building) 101

September 11, 2016 | Views: 4727

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When I had just finished grade 12, I needed a job for the summer. A subsidiary of the Toronto Star had hired me to distribute flyers advertising student jobs at the subsidiary.  Distribution of flyers was often done through questionable means, such as distributing flyers on school grounds, malls, and apartment buildings. I knew at the time it was wrong and I quit my job for that very reason. However, I have learned along the way many tips and tricks I used as an Enumerator at Statistics Canada. I had legal access to the inside of apartment buildings to perform my duties but it’s not always trivial to get into the building. Bellow I’m going to share a couple of tips and tricks I used in both of my jobs and how to get into low security buildings only.

  1. Dress the part. If your trying to sneak into an apartment building wear casual clothes. If your trying to sneak into an office building wear formal clothes. Your goal is to be so unremarkable that no one can identify you when you leave.
  2. “Arrive” when the person you want to tailgate is arriving or leaving. Waiting by the door causes suspicion.
  3. Hold open the door for them. They will feel grateful and are much more likely to return the favor.
  4. Don’t face specifically towards or away from the security cameras. Ignore their existence like anyone else in the apartment. It is far worse to be constantly facing away from the camera than for the security guard to see your face.
  5. If the person you want to tailgate tries to make conversation, respond with one word reply’s: Yep, Wow. No, Sure.
  6. If you see security, play it cool. The reason security get called at this stage is unusual behavior. Listen to them, make up some story about why you are ‘harrasing’ the tenants, and leave. DO NOT TRY TO CONVINCE SECURITY TO LET YOU IN
  7. Be persistent. While one or two people may not allow tailgating, the third person usually will.
  8. Be happy. A smile goes a long way in developing empathy that you can exploit
  9. Bring a clipboard. Print out some generic form. Odds are the tailgater will shoulder surf you to your clipboard. So long as it looks official you should have no problem getting in.
  10. If you absolutely need to get into a low security place, research a phone number of someone who lives there and order a pizza to their address. Tailgate the pizza delivery guy.

Let me know what else you want to see. Here are a couple of ideas

  • Ethical Philosophy: How does a philosopher’s definition of “ethical” clash with https://www.eccouncil.org/code-of-ethics/
  • A mathematical introduction to logic: how logic provides a foundation for hacking
  • Greedy Algorithms and hacking
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6 Comments
  1. I liked no. 10. Often it is quite this simple.

  2. What can happen if you are to get caught? I want to be aware of what can happen to allow further planning if necessary.

    • Firstly, only practice on apartment buildings you have permission in WRITING to enter. If you get caught, simply show them the signed documents with the building owners signiture and you should be off the hook. It is just as wrong to tailgate without permission as it is to physically pick the lock of the apartment building. Please do not try this without permission. Law changes from country to country and therefore I cannot determine the consequences of you getting caught.

      A smarter way of practicing this is to go to a mall and pretend the front doors are locked. Simply follow a customer into the mall. I promise you, if it came to real penetration testing through tailgating, following customers into a mall will provide you with the same skillset needed to tailgate into a low-security company.

      I hope this answers your question.

  3. A mathematical introduction to logic: how logic provides a foundation for hacking

  4. “A mathematical introduction to logic: how logic provides a foundation for hacking”
    That topic would be awesome to read.

    Great article.

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