If you own a Chromebook laptop, then you already know that it’s running on Chrome OS. This operating system is heavily based on Linux and is an excellent choice for surfing the web. Compared to Windows and Mac, this OS is not nearly as popular, but rumors about its level of security have been circling for a long time. Some experts say it is vulnerable to attacks while others claim it is the most secure system on the market.
We want to clear the confusion and say that you don’t need an antivirus for Chromebook. Chrome OS is capable of dealing with online threats on its own. Besides, there aren’t many antivirus products that can be downloaded and installed on a Chromebook. The affordable price-tag, along with effective protection, is the main reason people are starting to choose these laptops over the ones with the Windows OS (check our top of free antiviruses).
Can You Get Viruses On a Chromebook?
The main appeal of the Chromebooks is their excellent performance with the Chrome browser. They were initially designed to offer users the best experience online. In many ways, Google Chrome is the most secure and reliable browser (on all platforms). Still, the company had to make sure that its laptops didn’t have any security flaws that the hackers could exploit.
Process isolation is what the engineers came up with, and it works flawlessly. This security feature works like a sandbox: every tab the user opens in the browser or any other app automatically runs in a virtual sandbox. And when a cyber-criminal finds a way to access that tab, he/she gets “trapped” inside it, and there’s no way for the attacker to move on to the next tab. When you close that tab, the hacker “dies” along with it.
That is why there is no need in antivirus for Chromebook OS. Even when some malware does make its way out of the sandbox, Verified Boot eliminates it in an instance. During startup, the Chromebook checks itself, and when it finds something suspicious, it repairs the operating system. Yes, you could say that these laptops are immune to viruses.
All You Need to Know About Malicious Chrome Browser Extensions
Malicious extensions are not unique to Chromebook. However, you should be more careful with them on the Chrome OS, since there is no antivirus to protect you from a potential threat. Make a rule of only installing browser extensions that you are familiar with. True, they are continually being monitored by Google’s experts; still, be conscious about what you download and install.
The easiest way to secure yourself is to check the permissions and rights the extension requires you to grant. Plus, it would be a good idea to check the developer and read a dozen of comments online. If you think that a specific extension is making your laptop work slower, turn off the syncing in Chrome OS (in the settings menu) and restart the device.
Again, since there is no antivirus software for Chromebook, you’ll need to be careful not to “pick up” any malicious extensions. Browser hijacking is another threat for any Chromebook owner. This term is used to describe a situation when criminals take control of the Chrome browser. First, they lock it, and then the fraudsters ask you to pay them to regain control.
The rule of thumb here is simple: never pay the hackers! There’s an easy solution to this problem – reset the laptop, and everything will go back to normal. This is important: remember not to restore the browser to its previous configuration the next time you launch it. And remember not to turn the Developer Mode on, because with it, your Chromebook will become a lot less secure.
Stay Safe With Private Extensions for Chrome
We already established that Chrome OS is perfectly capable of protecting itself (but if you use Windows, you must have an antivirus); at the same time, there are several browser extensions that will be useful for you. The list includes VPNs, password managers, and safe shopping tools. A Virtual Private Network will allow you to stay anonymous online and keep any third eyes from monitoring your activity.
A password manager, in turn, is excellent at keeping your credentials safe. Shopping tools will keep you updated on the latest discounts, compare different products to each other, and more.
We highly recommend purchasing the Avast Ultimate Package if you own multiple devices and they all run on different operating systems. For Chromebooks, this package can offer the SecureLine VPN (it is a very decent service), Passwords Premium, and even a Cleanup tool for freeing up hard drive space and optimizing performance.
Summing up, it’s important to say once again that Chromebooks are highly secure laptops that don’t need third-party antiviruses for protection. It’s not that you can’t install an antivirus product on the Chrome OS, of course. The thing is – this operating system is highly capable of dealing with online threats on its own. Users that feel like they should still have an antivirus can go ahead and do that.
Most of the time, you can freely browse the web on a Chromebook without even thinking about security. However, as mentioned, don’t forget to check browser extensions before downloading them. And if privacy is vital to you, make sure to use a VPN extension for the Chrome browser. You can use the one that comes with the Avast package; it is very user-friendly and provides decent connection speeds.