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The name for this attack is borrowed from Elias Levy. An interface illusion is a spoofing attack in which all or part of a web page is false. The object of the attacker is to convince the user to do something inappropriate, for example, to enter personal banking information on a site that is not the bank's, to click yes on a button that actually means no, or simply to scroll the screen to activate an event that causes malicious software to be installed on the victim's machine. Levy's excellent article gives other excellent examples.
The problem is that every dot of the screen is addressable. So if a genuine interface can paint dot 17 red, so can a malicious interface. Given that, a malicious interface can display fake address bars, scroll bars that are not scroll bars, and even a display that looks identical to the real thing, because it is identical in all ways the attacker wants it to be.
Nothing here is new, of course. People diligently save copies of e-mail messages as proof that they received such a message when, in fact, a simple text editor will produce any authentic -looking message you want. System pranksters like to send facetious messages to unsuspecting users, warning that the computer is annoyed. These all derive from the same point: There is nothing unique, no trusted path assured to be a private and authentic communication channel directly to the user.
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