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Clickjacking: How Vulnerable Are Our Clicks?

Clickjacking: How Vulnerable Are Our Clicks?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Researcher
 Published on August 2nd, 2023
This post was updated on November 25th, 2023

Clickjacking is a deceptive technique where a user is tricked into clicking on something different from what the user perceives, resulting in revealing confidential information or taking control of their device without their knowledge. It often involves an invisible interface layered over a website, leading to users unknowingly performing actions they did not intend.

Clickjacking Examples

1. Social Media Like Button

One common example of clickjacking involves the ubiquitous “Like” button on social media platforms. In this scenario, the attackers craftily place a transparent layer over a seemingly harmless link or button on a different website. This concealed layer typically carries a script that triggers the “Like” function on a social media page.

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When you click on the button, thinking you’re merely opening a webpage or confirming an action, you’re inadvertently clicking the invisible “Like” button. By this, not only are you endorsing a page or a post you did not intend to, but you are also promoting it further within your network. As a result, the clickjacked content gains more visibility, expands its reach, and potentially impacts more unsuspecting users.

2. Download Buttons

A malicious technique frequently used in clickjacking involves misleading download buttons on websites. In this case, attackers put an invisible layer over the legitimate download button. This layer, when clicked, triggers a different download action unbeknown to the user.

So, when you think you’re downloading a necessary file or software that you need, you’re actually initiating the download of a different file. The danger here is that the downloaded file could be laced with malicious software or malware. Essentially, what was meant to be a simple file download turns into a cybersecurity threat, with potential harm to your computer and personal data.

3. Online Voting Manipulation

Clickjacking can also be employed to manipulate online votes or survey results. This is accomplished by overlaying a transparent layer over the voting options on a website. The overlaid option is usually the one that benefits the attacker’s agenda or cause.

Here’s how it works: when you attempt to vote for your chosen option (Option A, for instance), the invisible layer forces you to cast a vote for a different option (Option B). Consequently, you unknowingly contribute to skewing the poll results. The larger risk here, though, is that this tactic could be employed on a larger scale to influence public opinion or even election outcomes.


In essence, clickjacking is a deceptive technique that can have serious repercussions, affecting users’ online interactions, data security, and even broader societal processes like voting. With the right cybersecurity measures in place, one can minimize the risks, but vigilance and a continuing understanding of such threats remain critical to fostering a safer digital environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Clickjacking is a deceptive technique that tricks users into clicking on one thing when they believe they’re clicking on another.
  • Typical types of clickjacking involve social media “like” buttons, download buttons, and online voting options.
  • Through clickjacking, attackers can force users to unintentionally download harmful content, endorse specific social media posts, or even skew online voting results.
  • Users must be vigilant and understand such threats to maintain a secure online space.
  • Cybersecurity measures can help in minimizing potential risks associated with clickjacking.

Related Questions

1. How can I prevent clickjacking attacks?

Investing in reliable security software, regularly updating your browser, and avoiding suspicious or unfamiliar websites can help prevent clickjacking attacks. Application developers can use techniques like frame-busting or employing X-Frame-Options to secure their websites.

2. What makes clickjacking dangerous?

Clickjacking is dangerous as it can lead to a loss of user control over their device, unwanted sharing of personal information, or the accidental download of malware. More broadly, it can potentially influence societal processes like online polls or elections.

3. Are mobile devices also prone to clickjacking?

Yes, both desktops and mobile devices can fall prey to clickjacking. As mobile usage increases, mobile platforms have become a popular target for these types of attacks.

4. What’s the role of social engineering in clickjacking?

Social engineering is a crucial part of clickjacking. Attackers prey on the trust and natural responses of users to trick them into performing actions like clicking or downloading without their knowledge or consent.

5. Can clickjacking affect only specific browsers?

No, clickjacking can potentially affect any web browser. However, regularly updating your browser can help minimize vulnerabilities and improve defenses against clickjacking.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional
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