How Serious is the Clickjacking Threat?

Learn More About Clickjacking

ZDnet and other technical news sites have reported that clickjacking — a potentially serious threat — can affect any browser.

Clickjacking from the Layperson’s Perspective

In a nutshell, clickjacking is accomplished by a malicious page that hides behind a seemingly safe page. When you click an item on the supposedly safe page, your computer is clickjacked by malicious code which then hijacks your pc’s accessories or other components.  This occurs without your knowledge.

Typically, clickjacking will affect webcams, but it can also hijack other areas of your computer. Your microphone or sound system can be exploited, for example, or your computer can be taken over in other ways.

Adobe’s Flash Player was particularly vulnerable to clickjacking threats; however, Adobe has come out with a fix to address the issue.

What Browsers are Safe?

Clickjacking is a cross-browser threat, meaning that the malicious code can affect Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or any other Internet borwser. There is no quick fix, such as disabling javascript.

A “No Script” add-on that works with Firefox is the only known solution.

Problems with the Clickjacking Fix

After using No Script for a week or so, I disabled it because it made web surfing a chore. Virtually every site I visited was partially blocked due to a YouTube video, javascript code or ad embedded on the page.  For instance, the following were all blocked by No Script:

  • Google Analytics
  • Pepperjam network
  • Peelaway Ads
  • Voxant’s newsroom
  • Chitika
  • and many, many more (see the partial list of affiliate programs and other utilities blocked by No Script).

There’s a little bit of good news for Google publishers and advertisers. Adsense is automatically whitelisted by the No Script add-on.   Most of the others need to be manually whitelisted and it is unlikely that the average Internet user is going to do so.

If clickjacking is truly the threat that some would say that it is, and if solutions such as No Script are the only way to fight back, I can see that this situation will kill online advertising. Adserver Plus and other heavy hitting advertising networks were blocked by the Firefox add-on.

Conclusion:  Maybe the Threat is Overrated

My web browsing experience is back up to speed since I’ve disabled No Script and so far I haven’t been hit by any type of clickjacking activities. It is possible that the clickjacking threat is overrated.

The NotGuru blog has posted some videos that show exactly how clickjacking works and how to install fixes.