Clickjacking: Understanding and Preventing it

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, Clickjacking is a deceptive technique that cybercriminals employ to trick users into clicking something different than what they perceive they are clicking on. Clickjacking is also known as a user interface (UI) redressing attack. When users click something, they think is safe, the hidden UI performs a different action. clickjacking can cause users to inadvertently download malware, visit malicious pages, or disclose confidential information.

Clickjacking relies on tricking the victim into interacting with a website or application in a way they didn’t intend. This is accomplished by overlaying transparent buttons or other interface elements over the legitimate controls. The attacker essentially hijacks the clicks meant for one thing to perform another malicious action.

Common Clickjacking Techniques

  • One common example involves manipulating the “Like” button on social media platforms. A user might think they are clicking on an innocuous element, but in reality, they are liking a post or page they did not intend to endorse.
  • In the fake Play Buttons, attackers may overlay a fake play button on a video thumbnail, tricking users into clicking it. Instead of playing a video, the click initiates a download or redirects to a malicious website.
  • Cursor misdirection is a clickjacking attack in which a copy of the actual cursor is developed and connected to it at a specific angle. The redundant mouse pointer is the only thing that can be noticed on the screen. Suppose the attacker knows the customer will tap on a particular portion of the image, in that case, they can tactically mitigate the real underlying mouse pointer because when the counterfeit cursor moves to a certain area, a deceptive link is clicked.
  • A transparent layer is placed over a legitimate webpage, making users unknowingly interact with the concealed content.

Effects of clickjacking

  • Downloading and installing malware such as spyware or ransomware.
  • Tricking users into visiting malicious pages containing drive-by-downloads.
  • Capturing user credentials or personal information through fake login forms.
  • Performing transactions or payments without user consent.
  • Posting offensive content on social media under the victim’s identity.

Methods of preventing clickjacking

  • Configure X-Frame-Options – This HTTP response header prevents embedding pages in iframes which enables clickjacking.
  • Implement Framekiller JavaScript – This script prevents a page from being loaded in an iframe by forcing it to break out, also disable iframes totally. But this may also break legitimate functionality.
  • Content Security Policy – CSP can restrict resources loaded by a page and whitelist trusted sources to prevent untrusted iframes.
  • Multifactor authentication – Require an additional verification step before sensitive transactions to stop unauthorized actions.
  • User education – Train users to identify unusual browser behavior that could indicate clickjacking attempts.

Clickjacking poses a significant threat to online security. By understanding this, users and web developers can collectively contribute to a safer online environment.

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