I've read that attackers can use iFrames to embed malicious content that is so small on the screen as to be invisible to users. Are there any mitigations that enterprises can put in place to defend against iFrame attacks? How can users be advised to avoid a threat they can't see?
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Embedding an image, iFrame or other content in a way that that is invisible to a user is an old attack method that dates back many years to when images were the same color as the background. Hacker group Fluffi Bunni performed one of the most infamous iFrame or banner attacks when the group forced securityfocus.com to serve up compromised ads. IFrame attacks have increased with the widespread adoption of ad networks and the increasing inclusion of content from third-party sites via iFrames. While there are valid uses for iFrames when including content from external websites, enterprises need to trust the security of the content they receive from all sites. In a blog post, Symantec outlined some of the weaknesses exploited in attacks via iFrames, including potential browser and SSL certificate security flaws.
End users can do very little to defend themselves against iFrame attacks apart from what they should already be doing, which means following the standard advice of running as a regular user, keeping up to date on patches, running antimalware software, etc. These normal procedures help minimize the risk posed by an iFrame attack.
This was first published in December 2012