Wednesday, November 5

All Browsers Potentially Threatened by Clickjacking

Learn More About Clickjacking

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

A Look at Clickjacking

In laymen's terms, clickjacking happens when a malicious page is hiding behind what appears to be a safe webpage.   When you click on an item, your computer is "clickjacked" by the malicious code, which then hijacks various components of your computer.This happens without your knowledge.

Typically, webcams are hijacked, but the clickjacking code can affect other areas of your computer equipment. For instance, your microphone or sound system can be exploited, 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.

Is This Only an Explorer or Firefox Problem?

Clickjacking is a malicious piece of code that can affect any Internet browser. Merely disabling javascript will not fix it.

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 visted was blocked to some degree because the page contained common elements such as javascript, affiliate ads or YouTube videos.  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).

Google's Adsense is one of the few advertising networks that are automatically whitelisted by the No Script add-on. Most of the others will need to be manually approved, and it is unlikely that the average Internet user will know that an ad is safe enough to whitelist.

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.

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