A growing threat to all Internet users, clickjacking can seriously compromise your online security and private data. Learn how to identify clickjacking and how to avoid becoming a victim.
What is clickjacking? Essentially, this technique fools an Internet user into clicking on a misleading link or button. Known in more technical terms as UI redressing or IFrame overlay, clickjacking can do more than take a user to an unintended or modified website. Clickjacking may lead to leaking private data or allowing a hacker access to confidential information. Such an attack can even give a malicious user to control over an unsuspecting user's machine.
Clickjacking attacks can appear as innocent links on a page. But clicking on these links actually launches an invisible script that will take over your computer. Many browsers are vulnerable to clickjacking and don't properly protect users from this type of attack, so users must be on alert for any suspicious information on a website. Keeping your antivirus software up to date on your browser will help to avoid such attacks.
What Happens When You're Clickjacked
One example of clickjacking occurs when users intend to click on a link within an article or attempt to “like” a page using social media plugins. Instead of executing these actions as intended, malicious hackers can load a different page over the original one that was sought. This leads users to click a link they normally wouldn’t click on. Users will not immediately know these links will create problems, because they appear to be normal links.
This malicious switch can lead to users unintentionally making their private social media information public, following a social media profile, or sharing links on social media platforms. Users may even unwittingly post a status update on a social media platform, effectively advertising a page that they never intended to like or share. This false posting is known as likejacking.
Malicious users can also force unsuspecting Internet users to allow access to their machines or data in other ways. Some clickjacking attacks influence users to allow access to their webcams. Another approach, known as cursorjacking, secretly moves the cursor to a location other than where the user thinks it is. This location switch lures the user into clicking on buttons or links that lead to unintended consequences, such as turning on a microphone or sharing a link on social media.
How to Prevent Clickjacking
First, update your Internet browser each time it offers a security update. Only update your browser by visiting the official page of your browser. Also update any and all plugins that you use, to prevent security issues. These actions can prevent hackers from taking advantage of common vulnerabilities in older browsers.
Also consider using prevention software, which typically comes in the form of plugins for your browser. NoScript, for example, can prevent clickjacking in Firefox. If you do become susceptible to attacks, having the best anti-virus software is critical to averting additional attacks on your machine or private data.
Although web developers have a major role in designing websites and code that don't allow for vulnerabilities, Internet users also have a significant responsibility. Pay close attention to the websites that you visit. Be sure to keep your antivirus software as updated and secure as possible to do your part to keep your data secure.