Clickjacking attacks, also known as UI redressing or UI redress attacks, are a prevalent form of cyber threat. In this article, we will explore what clickjacking is, how it works, and most importantly, how you can protect yourself against it.
What Is Clickjacking
Clickjacking is a technique used by cybercriminals to deceive users into clicking on malicious links or buttons by overlaying them with legitimate-looking content. The term “clickjacking” combines the words “click” and “hijacking,” accurately describing the process of tricking users into unknowingly performing actions they did not intend to.
How Clickjacking Works
Clickjacking attacks exploit the transparency and layering capabilities of modern web technologies. The attacker creates a webpage or embeds malicious code within a legitimate website. They then overlay invisible or barely visible elements, such as buttons or links, on top of legitimate content. These elements are strategically positioned to align with desirable user interactions, such as clicking a video thumbnail or a “Download” button.
When the user interacts with the visible content, they unknowingly trigger the hidden element underneath, effectively clicking on the attacker’s intended target. This can lead to a range of malicious actions, including unauthorized transactions, data theft, or the installation of malware on the victim’s device.
Types of Clickjacking Attacks
Clickjacking attacks can take various forms, each with its own specific objectives. Here are some common types of clickjacking attacks:
Likejacking involves tricking users into unintentionally “liking” a social media page or post without their knowledge. By overlaying a hidden “Like” button on top of a legitimate page or post, the attacker can manipulate the user’s social media activity and potentially spread malicious links or content.
Cursorjacking aims to mislead users by manipulating the appearance or behavior of their cursor. By overlaying a hidden element that tracks the user’s cursor movements, the attacker can make their cursor appear as if it’s clicking on different elements than intended. This can lead to unintended actions, such as unknowingly granting permissions or making unwanted purchases.
Cookiejacking involves stealing a user’s session cookies, which contain sensitive information such as login credentials or session IDs. By overlaying a hidden button or link on top of a legitimate website, the attacker can trick the user into unknowingly triggering a request that captures their session cookies. This allows the attacker to gain unauthorized access to the victim’s account.
Filejacking is a clickjacking attack that tricks users into unknowingly downloading malicious files. By overlaying a hidden download button on top of a legitimate file download link, the attacker can deceive the user into downloading and executing malware or other harmful files.
1. PayPal Clickjacking Vulnerability
One notable example of clickjacking is the PayPal clickjacking vulnerability discovered in 2010. In this case, an attacker could overlay a hidden PayPal payment button on top of a legitimate website. When the user interacted with the visible content, they unknowingly clicked on the hidden PayPal button, initiating a payment without their consent. This vulnerability was quickly patched by PayPal, but it serves as a reminder of the potential risks associated with clickjacking.
2. Svpeng Malware
Svpeng is a notorious Android banking Trojan that has been known to employ clickjacking techniques. Once installed on a victim’s device, Svpeng overlays a fake login screen on top of legitimate banking apps. When the user enters their login credentials, the Trojan captures the information and sends it to the attacker. This clickjacking technique allows the attacker to steal sensitive banking information and potentially carry out unauthorized transactions.
Preventing Clickjacking Attacks
Protecting yourself against clickjacking attacks requires a combination of awareness and preventive measures. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of falling victim to clickjacking:
1. Watch for Suspicious Emails
Clickjacking attacks often start with phishing emails that attempt to trick users into visiting malicious websites. Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown or suspicious sources. Verify the authenticity of the email sender and carefully examine the content before taking any action.
2. Avoid Downloading Suspicious Apps
Download apps only from trusted sources such as official app stores. Third-party app stores may host malicious apps that employ clickjacking techniques. Read user reviews, check app permissions, and be wary of apps that request excessive permissions or display suspicious behavior.
3. Be Cautious of Clicking on Ads
Clicking on ads, especially those displayed on unfamiliar websites, can expose you to clickjacking attacks. Be mindful of the websites you visit and exercise caution when interacting with advertisements. Avoid clicking on ads that seem too good to be true or those that redirect you to unfamiliar websites.
4. Install Anti-Clickjacking Browser Extensions
Certain browser extensions can help protect against clickjacking attacks by detecting and blocking malicious overlays. Look for reputable anti-clickjacking extensions for your preferred web browser and keep them updated to ensure maximum protection.
5. Use a Robust Antivirus
Maintain up-to-date antivirus software on your devices to detect and prevent clickjacking attacks. Antivirus programs can detect and block malicious code or files that may be associated with clickjacking attempts.
Clickjacking attacks pose a significant threat to online security, but by understanding how they work and implementing preventive measures, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to such attacks. Stay vigilant, be cautious of suspicious emails and ads, and use trusted security measures such as anti-clickjacking browser extensions and robust antivirus software. By practicing good cyber hygiene, you can protect yourself and your sensitive information from clickjacking threats.