Do you already know who we are talking about? If not, you need to catch up really quickly, as social engineering, i.e. sneaking into areas with restricted access, is becoming increasingly popular. And why would that be important to an event organizer? Truth be told, it is immensely important!
In the United States, there was a man who managed to trick others into believing that he was a US Army sergeant stationed at an army base. He was provided with board and lodging, entertainment, etc. There was also the case of a man who was fired from a corporation, accused of stealing. However, he was able to reinstate himself and start stealing again, as he had kept his company uniform. Now, if the two mentioned cases are still not enough to make you convinced how easy it is to trick the society, then the case of Frédéric Pierre Bourdin – a fraudster who adopted over 500 different identities, should do the trick.
Tricking to increase your living standard is not the only purpose, though. Social engineering is slowly becoming a very peculiar type of entertainment. It may seem tempting to sneak into elite, forbidden, or simply unique places. During our seven-year career in the event business, we have seen enough to know it is true.
The most frequent type of intruders are relatively harmless “gatecrashers”. Who are they exactly? This term has been circulating in our industry for quite some time and denominates people who take advantage of the fact that there are things to get for free when visiting a particular venue. Pens, calendars, meals... Nothing escapes the eye of a true gatecrasher.
Unfortunately, a mass offensive aimed at catering may significantly deteriorate the quality of your event. Unexpected and unstoppable attacks of gatecrashers will dry your food reserve for those attendees of your event that have really come to enjoy it.
These are the most frequently observed types of gatecrashers:
- The Ghost – Penetrates the premises unseen. They carefully hide the fact that they don't have badges, they are not conspicuous, and effectively blend into the crowd. You could actually mistake them for a real attendee... But why would an attendee need two textile bags?
- The Journalists – This type is a master of social engineering. They do not try to penetrate deeper into a conference facility, like a thief would, but they arrive at the reception area and make contact with hostesses, pretending to be from the media. It is sometimes an effective strategy and a hostess is impressed enough not to inquire what kind of media they represent, out of politeness. During our work, we encountered such “journalists”, who were actually quite advanced in their masquerade. They even went as far as using business cards with logos of non-existent newspapers. One can be truly surprised to see the great pains people go to, in order to leave with a pack of cookies and drink a cup of espresso...
- The Ladder Man – They say that a ladder can get you anywhere. The Internet is full of proofs that it is a true statement. It is enough to wear a reflective jacket, a cap dirty with white paint, and carry a ladder on a shoulder. It is very convincing camouflage because it does not arouse suspicion. In addition, the organizer usually does not know all the employees of the facility, and the verification of such a person takes time, which is lacking during the event. Unfortunately, this is so effective a strategy that only strict control of people entering the event area can end it, which is not always possible.
How to deal with intruders
What can be done to prevent the aforementioned situations from happening? First and foremost, event attendees should be equipped with badges. If you intend to provide catering, make sure that access to meals is limited and verified. The best method is to use the Event Check-in module featured in CONREGO event registration platform. This way, you will be able to verify access rights of attendees to selected zones, at a relatively low cost, as well as prevent unlimited distribution of goods, and effectively eliminate the risk of having intruders wander around your facility as they please.
What is your experience in dealing with intruders at events?